Monday, June 09, 2008

Six Handy Steps - Where is your organization?

Thank goodness blogging is not a ready-to-publish-to-the-whole world phenomenon. It's just a here's-what's-on-my-mind-world phenomenon. I hope. I've in no way finished with step one of six handy steps and now I'm thinking there just might be another way to arrange it. Still keeping the six handy steps, though.

Seeing what needs to be done is still the dominant theme. There are a lot of things a person needs to know before what needs to be done can be clearly seen. The first step, as with any endeavor, is within the Self. See where you're at. Accept where you're at. Be aware of how that colors decisions and perceptions.

Yes, Self first.

At work, there is a whole other self that is very important. That self is your Organization. Even for we humble public librarians, the Organization is the driving force. We think it's the City or ALA or the General Public or the Budget, but it isn't. It's our very own humble Organization.

Our Organization also needs to know where it's at, accept that, and be aware of how that colors decisions and perceptions. Before you can deal with the budget cuts, the patron behavior, or the collection, you must know where your Organization is at.

Take a good look at your Organization. With any luck, your Organization has a mission statement of some sort. Perhaps a long-range plan. Maybe you had a hand in creating them, maybe not. They are where your Organization thinks it is at right now.

But a mission statement or plan isn't what your Organization's culture is. These things do not encapsulate the history, the things that influenced it, the things it influenced, the traditions, the evolving theories and the discarded roles that brought it to this point.

In many cases, your Organization's mission and goals may not even be the reality of what the Organization is. They may be indicators of where the Organization would like to be or where someone thought the Organization should be five years ago.

My first step in Seeing What Needs To Be Done would be to look for that mission statement and those goals and see whether they match what is really going on. And to look and see if your administrators are still going by those missions and goals. If they are not, back away.


Your administrators may be looking at this disparity and doing something already. Or someone may be purposely looking the other way for some reason. Either way, there's more going on than you want to be directly involved with at this moment. Unless you're the administrator. Then I wish you good luck.

If you're in a position to question and decided and meet...ok, if you're an administrator..then you've just seen what needs to be done. Time to saddle up and make a plan.

Whether you do it formally as an administrator or informally at your own desk, stop and look at what's happening and why. Look at what's not happening and why. Look at what should be happening and why. Look at what should not be happening and why.

Dedicate a week or so to this. Not the nit-picky details, but the big picture. Ask yourself "Just What the Heck is Happening Here?"

You'll feel discomfort. Big time discomfort. Sure, you'll see a particular program is going great. You might also find other programs or facilities or projects plodding their way to obsoleteness before they're finished. That would be uncomfortable. You'll see some things that are exactly reaching the goal you have set. But what if that's the only thing you see?

As you go through the process you'll see all these obstacles. Let's return to SWOT analysis for a moment. Obstacles? NO! Opportunities. They are Things That Need To Be Done. Data to be acquired. Success to be measured. Potential course alterations to be made.

One way to See What Needs To Be Done.

No comments: