In organizational development and redesign I work with the organization to facilitate:
- a better group understanding of its organizational culture,
- enhancement of organizational effectiveness by bringing more intention and skill to effective teamwork,
- development of a common vision and an explicit commitment to shared goals,
- creative redesign of organizational structure and communication patterns to achieve these goals and to optimize the work of the organization in service to its community, and
- an expanded and enhanced conception of leadership, in which all staff have leadership responsibilities.
In addition, leadership coaching and ongoing work with troubled organizations can be helpful in cases where morale has suffered and/or leadership is new or stymied. Devising strategies for succession planning, i.e. maintaining organizational knowledge and continuity in times of impending transition, is also important for many libraries today.
My goals are to help libraries figure out how best to align their mission and operations to community needs, work happily and effectively as a team or set of teams, adapt to external changes and weather tumultuous times, build esprit de corps in a whole organization or in a specific department or team, and help create positive, productive work environments.
A skilled facilitator can help to organize your strategic planning process, ensure it is completed expeditiously, and bring an outside perspective to discussions. The process is customized to the needs of the client, with some elements completed by the staff in advance of the consultant’s visit or the entire process facilitated by consultant. The elements of strategic planning typically include:
- Environmental scan (constituent research, surveys, focus groups, etc.), readings, analysis of Strengths/Weaknesses/Opportunities/Threats, and Scenario Planning.
- Review/update, or formulation of Mission, Vision, and Values statements. Defining strategic directions and articulating goals, developing measurable and achievable objectives.
- Determining priorities, assessing organizational capacity to carry out the goals and objectives, fashioning annual goals that advance the strategic plan.
- Word-smithing, constitutent review (optional), and finalization of the Strategic Plan.
Understanding and enhancing organizational culture
The cultures in which we work are like the air we breathe and our patterns of breathing: we often take them for granted and simply assume they are optimal. My experience is that periodic examination of organizational culture and intentional nurturing of organizational values is a key to organizational effectiveness. Ideally, the best features of an organization’s culture remain stable and are accentuated over time, while the culture is simultaneously renewed and adapted to better align with changes in the communities served, changes in staff, and with external factors. This takes ongoing, intentional work; my practice is to facilitate this work, including exercises in:
- examining the organizational culture that guides and supports how groups work day-to-day,
- making explicit staff commitments to each other as a team,
- articulating, nurturing, and extending the distinctive beliefs, values and patterns of relationship that define for members of a team who they are and how they do things.
I particularly enjoy working with groups to help them identify their values and become aware of how they live these values (and when they don’t) on a daily basis, and how that supports and shapes (or undermines) organizational effectiveness and the qualities of the workplace they value. Examination of structures, styles, and patterns of communication is an essential component of understanding and enhancing organizational culture. Making libraries both great places to work and dynamic service organizations is the point of these exercises.
Organizational redesign/restructuring, team building
Library organizations are complex, ever-evolving structures for vertical and lateral coordination of rapidly changing workflows and services. I believe it is essential to periodically realign/redesign organizational structure in response to changes in technology, business environment, workflows, services, personnel, and/or leadership development needs. Alas, this can be threatening or difficult for many staffs. However, when thoughtfully done it can be reinvigorating and growth-inducing for individuals and for the organization as a whole. My practice is to facilitate this aspect of organizational growth and development by engaging all staff in frank and constructive discussion of how they are currently organized, what is working well and what could be improved, and how they might best redesign the organization to achieve their shared goals and vision for the library.
Partnership and consortium development
Considerations of organizational planning, culture, leadership, governance and structure apply equally to consortia and partnerships. My practice includes working with nascent or mature partnerships to help the members ensure they are working together optimally to achieve their common goals. Includes developing or updating mission, values, strategic plans, memorandum of understanding, budgets, etc.