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
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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?
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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
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Being agile is critical. Agile can mean applying an incremental and iterative approach, or evolving through collaboration between self-organizing and cross-functional teams to promote early delivery, continuous improvement, and encourage rapid and flexible response to change.
Successful organizations are flexible and fast. They can quickly transfer and share knowledge, deal with an enormous amount of data, innovate, engage, and impact communities, and customers in positive ways. The platforms, processes and programs have to respond in a timely fashion to make this happen and to keep customers satisfied. The culture of the organization, the people, enables the transformations and innovations – and well-oiled collaborative organizations excel at leading the charge! KMWorld 2015 explores how to apply these techniques and more for knowledge sharing and innovation in your enterprise to be successful in today’s world. And it has three closely integrated programs—Enterprise Search & Discovery, SharePoint Symposium, and Taxonomy Boot Camp.
Keynote speakers are always engaging and thought provoking and this year is no different. On Monday November 2 Taxonomy Boot Camp opens with information architect Peter Morville, President of Semantic Studios who has several books to his credit (http://semanticstudios.com). On Tuesday, KMWorld 2015 opens with popular , knowledge management (KM) thought leader, Dave Snowden, Chief Scientific Officer of Cognitive Edge who discusses “complexity informed agility” in KM with Will Evans, Design Thinker-in-Residence, NYU’s Stern’s Berkley Center for Innovation & Entrrepreneurship and Chief Design Officer, Praxis Flow and his colleague, Jabe Bloom, Chief Scientific Officer, Praxis Flow. On Wednesday, Steve Abrams,
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I can’t believe it is now September which begins the busy fall events for libraries. Here’s some exciting events, one on the east coast and lots of the west coast, that I want to share with you and hope to see you participate!
Monday & Tuesday Sept 28/9 at Vancouver Club Outcomes, Value & Impact: Metrics for Libraries
Thursday & Friday Oct 1/2 at University of Southern California in LA Outcomes, Value & Impact for Library Success
Monday & Tuesday Oct 19/20 at University of Toronto iSchool The Future of Libraries: Ours to Create, NOW!
Mon-Wed, Oct 26-8 at Monterey CA Conference Center Internet Librarian 2015 & Library Leaders Digital Strategy Summit
Such stimulating conversations today around customer service at the University of Toronto iSchool Symposium, Customer Service for Libraries: Upping our Game! Moe Hosseini-Ara, Director of Culture for the City of Markham, started off setting the framework for the event. He talked a lot about our competition in libraries from other video, book, and community services, and also how positive customer service makes a big impact.
Vilayat Ahmed, Store Manager at Starbucks Coffee Canada’s flagship store in the financial district in Toronto talked about the company’s mission: to inspire and nurture the human spirit one person, one cup and one neighbourhood at a time. He said they are in the people business and serve coffee, they provide a service and experience. He talked about the 44 year history of the organization and how they create an environment to encourage conversation. Yes, enjoy the coffee but have a sense of community and conversation too! Vilayat talked about customer service as an attitude where workers need to anticipate (drop what they are doing & put the customer first), make it easy for the customer (they are guests!), connect with customers (eye contact, pleasant conversation), personalize the service (name on the cup in Starbucks) and own your experience, take ownership i f you make a mistake and acknowledge with immediate action (oh, I made that wrong, let me get you another one & take this one too). Basically, Starbucks wants to keep loyal customers, keep them coming back. They want to be a third
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Providing excellent customer service and delighting the customer is the top of mind for me lately. At Computers in Libraries 2015 keynote speakers emphasized delighting the customer. You can read more about their presentations & see the videos:
Steve Denning, Author, The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management
Blog Post: http://www.libconf.com/2015/04/27/continuous-innovation-and-transformation-the-opening-keynote/
Video (you can skip the promo at the beginning!): http://www.libconf.com/2015/04/27/continuous-innovation-and-transformation-the-opening-keynote/
John Palfrey, Head of School, Phillips Academy, Board President of the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) & Author, BiblioTECH: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google
Blog Post: http://www.libconf.com/2015/04/28/creating-a-new-nostalgia-the-tuesday-keynote/
But why is customer service or delighting the customer so important? Customer service fosters a good relationship between customers and the organization and leads to keeping or engaging those customers. Without customers there is no business or support in the case of non-profits like libraries. Reducing a customer’s stress, giving them a pleasant customer experience, and providing information that can solve their problem is all important to keep positive customer satisfaction (the overall contentment with a customer interaction). Excellent customer service involves providing outstanding service that meets (or exceeds) the customer’s expectations — it delights the customer. Excellent customer service also includes having a great attitude and being people centered or customers focused. So in addition to knowing your customer really well, and understanding their true expectations (making no assumptions), what do you need for good customer service?
Develop the skills to be successful Assess the current level of customer service (customer satisfaction surveys,
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Wow! This article from Strategy + Business, How to Seize the Opportunities When Megatrends Collide, has articulated what I like to do! “… tap into people’s natural curiosity about external factors, to broaden and deepen the resulting conversation; and to translate the general understanding of megatrends into a more practical framework that companies could use to seek opportunities and reduce risks.” For years Rebecca and I have talked and taught about the big picture and thinking strategically. Here’s an earlier post on the topic too!
More from the S+B article:
“The megatrends framework can help any private- or public-sector leader think more clearly about complex external trends, and help develop an ordered, prudent, and proactive strategy for facing them. Its basic building blocks are five historical patterns active in the world today that have left their mark on all aspects of the world’s economic and social fabric.
1. Demographic and social change: the combination of greater life expectancy, declining birthrates in many parts of the world, and unprecedented rates of human migration, accompanied by a gradual increase in the status of women and greater ethnic and social diversity within most countries.
2. Shifts in global economic power: in particular, the much-noted expansion of prosperity in emerging economies at faster rates than in the industrialized world, leading to momentous changes in consumption patterns and a rebalancing of international relations.
3. Rapid urbanization: the massive expansion of cities around the world, through a combination of migration and childbirth, with major implications for
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