That’s the name of the best blog post I’ve read (and, most importantly intend to use): Ruthless Prioritization. For years I set priorities with various projects, and advised clients to ‘rigourously’ set priorities. Manage priorities. And I will now readily admit that managing priorities in a busy, small consulting firm was relatively straightforward; priorities were set by the size and significance of the client. But now, in library operations, I struggle with priorities day in and day out. Struggle? Ha! I don’t just struggle — I flounder – I fail. Miserably.
So as soon as I saw a post on “ruthless prioritization” I clicked on it! Admittedly, I expected to read a mamby-pamby post on the “importance of focusing on what’s important”, but hallelujah! This post gives a workable framework. Yes, the framework is designed and used by tech firms. But isn’t that perfect for libraries to adopt? Think about it — our products and services need to have the same urgency and life-span as those of tech firms, don’t they? Aren’t we competing with tech firms in many ways — to seize and retain people’s attention? Consider this statement:
Show me a team that has no bugs at launch, and I’ll show you one that should have shipped a long time ago.
Doesn’t that apply to library services and products? Don’t we keep refining, refining, refining to ensure there are no issues, no implications, no problems? Yet the only way to identify issues, implications and problems is to
Continue reading Ruthless Prioritization
This is post #3 in a short series to ready us for the #Summitclimb. Are you working up a sweat yet?
The rock we must cut through.
Continuing with the terrain analogy, let’s consider a particularly tough question. And that is about the rock or rocks.
Water is essential for life. The rivers that have helped build countries and have provided the life-nourishing water have had to cut through rocks to flow broader, wider, faster. I see a significant analogy here. We talk of libraries (public, academic, government, corporate, not-for-profit) as essential for democratic life and as life-changing. And yet the growth, flow and abilities of libraries in all types of environment seems perpetually slowed and, in some cases, blocked. There are, indeed, rocks preventing libraries from flowing freely.
Jim Watkin’s quote, “A river cuts through rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistence.” is appropriate for libraries. Libraries are incredibly persistent. Funds and attention are cut for the library – and yet it forges on and re-surges. Have libraries cut through rocks in the past?
As libraries forge into the future – into the digital environment considered in post #1,
What is the rock that libraries and information service functions must cut through and be persistent?
This is post #2 in a short series to ready us (channel training….) for the #Summitclimb.
Post #1 gave an article that poses some difficult questions leaders must address as they #futureproof their libraries in the digital environment. What Jane wants from this Library Leaders Summit, and I fully agree with, is that the Summit focus more on coaching than on presentations: coaches tell it like it is – and set the bar realistically and high. Sometimes people don’t like what the coach has to say. But a good coach is readying individuals for future moments – future endeavours.
Three respected leaders in the library sector will help kick-start the dialogue regarding future-proofing our organizations: Mary Ann Mavrinac, Gina Millsap, and Mary Lee Kennedy. In the January/February Computers in Libraries we asked them to comment on strategies entrepreneurs use to future-proof their organizations. Read their insights.
Then take these questions to your leadership team, or reflect on them yourself.
Entrepreneur November 2015 proposed 5 ways to future-proof an organization:
“Think partnerships, not transactions”; use partnerships to scale initiatives more quickly. “Change how you’re structured”; go flatter with smaller teams. “Think bigger”; impact more people with solutions to bigger problems. “Offer experience, not product”; distinguish your organization by delighting people. “Help Millennials develop”; formally mentor the next generation. In post #3: what’s the rock libraries deal with – or must deal with?
Continue reading Leadership Summit: Readying for the Climb #2
I’ve been away from this blog for 18 months while I’ve focused on my role in the Branch services and operations of a busy, growing, incredible (if i may say so) #publiclibrary (@BramptonLibrary). The opinions I have expressed and will express in this blog are purely mine. I am honoured to work with some of the finest, intelligent individuals – and they may or may not agree with some of my perspectives (which is what makes them so fine and intelligent!).
It is time for me to start writing again as I increasingly consider the issues we in the library sector need to think deeply about – need to think critically about (with critical thinking not criticizing), engage in probing, provocative and perhaps disturbing dialogue, make decisions and take actions. As she has so many times in the past, @jdysart has arranged a venue at which some of this thinking and dialogue can occur. Library Leaders Summit: Future-Proofing Strategies & Tactics, held in conjunction with Computers in Libraries @CrystalCity in Arlington, VA, provides 2 days in which speakers, provocateurs and participants will consider developments, experiences and questions that influence their library’s decisions and actions. Near-term and long-term decisions.
Getting to a ‘#summit’ is not easy.
Yep, it’s easy to actually come to this Leaders Summit. But the point I’m trying to make is for this venue to truly be a ‘summit’ people need to prepare in the same way they would to climb to any summit. Think about it. We
Continue reading Leadership Summit: Worth the Climb
My “must” reading for the past 15 years has been Harvard Business Review. About 6 years ago I added Rotman from University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management to the “must” list. To be honest, there’s nothing else on that list. Just these two journals. The articles are often based on solid research, usually incredibly interesting, and frequently force me to think differently. These journals target business and management leaders. Many of the influential stakeholders for libraries in the public, academic, government and profit sectors are business and management leaders. We need to know how they think. And we certainly need to think differently.
Joe Rotman, a highly successful, respected businessman and philanthropist died recently. Roger Martin, renowned management author and thinker, and the 1st dean of the Rotman School, wrote in the Spring 2015 Rotman issue of how Joe Rotman “rewired” Martin’s brain. Given that the library sector is essentially shifting below our feet, it behooves us to consider the 4 fronts on which Rotman changed Martin’s thinking and use these to change our own thinking:
Nothing is Not-doable
There’s 2 parts to this truism: first, that if you want to “do” it, then do it. In 1998 when Martin became dean of Rotman, that management school wasn’t even in the rankings or the radar with its competitors. Joe and Roger envisioned it in the top 5 – which most people thought was crazy – ‘not-doable’ for sure. Yet Joe taught Martin that anything is doable so long as
Continue reading Libraries: Rewiring our Thinking
Discovering Emotional Triggers And Hidden Truths
On May 29th we introduced you to Eunice Hogeveen, former information professional and now a marketing strategist & Partner with Innerviews.ca. InnerViews is a Toronto-based research firm dedicated to uncovering how customers think – and, most importantly, their emotional triggers related to a product or service. They use “innovative metaphor-based research to gain new perspectives on what lies below the surface, so that business leaders are able to maximize opportunities by getting to what really matters to their customers.”
As a marketing strategist, Eunice works with clients to determine their marketing messages and positioning. At SLA’s 2015 Annual Conference Eunice described how metaphors provide insights into what people think and feel about specific topics, images, situations, services and products. The essence of a metaphor is to understand one thing in terms of another thing. Now you can hear her this week – July 17th – at Customer Service for Libraries at the iSchool (July 16th & 17th).
What took Eunice on this path? 23 years ago when she was working in a publishing firm where she was responsible for moving products from print to online, Eunice commissioned market research and was frustrated that they never seemed to get to the real thinking behind people’s purchasing decisions. She decided to go into market research herself, and to pursue more innovative techniques.
Innerviews uses Zaltman’s Metaphor Elicitation Technique, an intensive interview process that uses photos to surface people’s thinking, emotions and attachment to brands
Continue reading Understanding customer perceptions: Part 2
Carol French, CEO Market Probe Canada, presented the latest study for the Federation of Ontario Public Libraries at the Defining New Metrics for Libraries Success symposium at the iSchool (University of Toronto) this week. These statistics are hot off the press. Carol’s presentation is at the bottom of the post. I encourage you to read it, and to prepare to be engaged with FOPL’s discernment of these statistics. I’m sure there will be position papers coming from FOPL on this very soon.
Here’s the key points I heard:
600 telephone interviews were conducted over a month in 2015 (this is about 1/2 of the # conducted in previous telephone surveys because, given the challenges of conducting telephone surveys today, this survey was augmented with an online survey) 1102 online surveys were conducted during 5 days in March using Delvinia’s Asking Canadians online panel.
There were some significant differences between phone & web respondents:
households with children responded to many more phone interviews than web survey (that’s interesting to me…..I have to think about that one…..) those graduated from college or university more likely to respond to web survey than phone those living in Metro TO and GTA more likely to respond to web survey than phone interview (makes sense; the web is still not evenly distributed)
Other points of interest to me (you may have very different points of interest – I’m sure we are going to be discussing the results of this survey for months to come, as we
Continue reading Ontario’s Perceptions of Public Libraries
Moe Hosseini-Ara and I are talking with the group at the Defining New Metrics for Library Success symposium at the iSchool on May 11th. Here are the slides, and the worksheets we’ll be using.
I’ll start out by talking about the frames through which many in the library community view measures – and how these are blocking our view of success: Framing & Defining Metrics for Libraries. We’ll have a look at what the Center for Investigative Reporting is doing regarding impact measures for non-profit media – and what we can learn from other sectors.
Moe and I will then lead the group through an exercise to: Determine & Demonstrate Value with the Logic Model. And here’s the worksheets: Exercise Worksheet – letter size