At Evanced, my job is to work with other librarians who are implementing our software in their library. Usually, this goes pretty smoothly, but there is the occasional call that goes something like this:
“I’m implementing your software, but I don’t have the time right now. We’re experiencing a lot of change,” they say.
“Really? Budget crunches do that, can I help?,” I respond.
“No, our budget is okay. We have a new director. EVERYTHING is changing. It’s exhausting.”
It’s exhausting. That was the exact phrase I was told recently. I was a library director once. I went in, and I changed everything. Oy. It must have been exhausting for my staff then too.
I look back and with my glaringly clear 20/20 hindsight, I realize that in any management role I’ve ever been in, I could have done things differently. I wouldn’t call them regrets, but definitely valuable lessons that I keep in mind now. If I could do it all again, I would have…
…sat back and watched for a few months before jumping in and creating change.
…listened carefully to understand the background of “why things are the way they are.”
…dropped the “if you’re not with me, you’re against me” attitude.
…integrated major changes over a span of several months, instead of implementing them in a week or less.
…built-in “downtime” from change for both my staff and I so that we wouldn’t burn out. Which we did.
How have you managed change at your library or organization? What lessons have you learned? I’m interested in hearing others perspectives on this!