KLA/MLA Day 2 – Managing Transitions

It’s Not Change That’s the Problem, Its the Lack of Transition That’s the Problem with Vicky Baker, Mid-Continent Public Library | Presentation

Book: Managing Transitions by ??

Change v. Transition
Change is situational – move, new director
Transition is psychological – let go, go through the neutral zone and then make a new beginning
“Just because everything has changed, don’t think anything is different.”
Celebrate the new beginning and give time people to unplug from the old way.
Move towards acceptance of what is happening.
Letting Go:
The process causes feelings of: Fear, denial, anger, sadness, disorientation, frustration, uncertainty, sense of loss
Yes, these are also the stages of grieving.  Even happy changes are difficult transitions – everything is ‘so completely different’ for example, when you have a baby.
Go through this stage completely – if you escape too early, you’ll lose creativity and problem solving.
Case Study:  5-10 years in the future, no more print materials (we used this scenario to discuss all three stages).
Who is losing what?
Security,memories, staff lose work, everyone loses something, donors/supporters,
What exactly are they losing?
Newspapers, 24/7 access to materials even without power, losing the vehicle for stories and information, losing activities like lap-sit reading between kids and parents, poorest lose access to books because they can’t afford the devices, access v. ownership issues
How do you talk about the change?
Push acceptance and present as positive, just losing how you access the stories and information, business access, customize reading experience
Is everyone losing something?
Yes – unless you don’t read.Transfer importance of books to the new thing.  No more weeding!
How Can You Help?
  • Give as much detail and possible – who, what, when, where, how.
  • Give people information when you have the information and get it out
  • Listen sympathetically  the whiner may wear you out you have to try and understand
  • Accept the signs of grieving
  • Define what’s over and what is NOT over.  Find the positives.
  • Mark the Endings – celebrate or have a funeral
  • Let people take a piece of the old way with them (include patrons).
  • Treat the past with respect – honor where we came from
Neutral Zone – waiting for the new thing to come and you’re  one grieving
  • Anxiety rises and motivation falls
  • Absenteeism increases
  • Old weaknesses reappear
  • People are overloaded because they don’t know what they are doing
  • Systems are in flux
  • Consensus breaks down – don’t know what we are doing
  • Teamwork is undermined
  • Loyalty to the organization is lessened (during that time period)  Why?!
  • People will be frightened because they just don’t know what to expect.  Free Library example when the budgets were cut
Case Study in Neutral Zone – work is backing up and bad habits returned:
How do we motivate?
Prioritize with the person and let them start with what they enjoy, be flexible with job duties, Buy in.  Volunteers – provide help.
Absenteeism – how do you make work fun?
Small goals and then celebrate.  More days off?  Let them go.  Remind them of the importance of what they do. Give more autonomy – flexible schedule during the transition, work with them as the manager, What do we let go – identify.  Create talking points and lead from the front, Appreciate the staff that does show up (chocolate/lunch)
This too shall pass, growing pains, Celebrate all victories and improvements, Talk about it and confront the issues.
How can you help?
  • Give people a metaphor to hang on to
  • Protect people from any other changes while int he neutral zone. Delay more change.
  • Review policies and procedures
  • Create task forces and project teams (helps with buy in)
  • Set short term goals
  • Provide seminars to help people during the neutral zone – workshops and get staff out of the library
  • Encourage creative problem solving – bend and create new rules
  • Create a transition monitoring team – don’t run it, just keep tabs. Feedback.
New Beginnings
  • Beginnings reactivate old anxieties
  • New Beginning/ New way seems like a gamble
  • Fear that if it is a failure there will be punishment (who will be blamed?)
  • May have preferred to stay in the neutral zone – more creative = more fun
  • Communication is Key
Scenario: what communication? what are new duties, what are new measures of success and is everyone ‘there’? Positive, personalized help, reassure, tech competencies and training, confidence building, RA, training materials and guides,
How help?
  • Provide encouragement through the 4 P’s:
    • Purpose
    • Picture – illustration
    • Plan – more detail about what’s happening
    • Part to Play – roles and responsibilities
Reinforce the new beginning
  • be consistent and say things consistently
  • ensure quick successes
  • symbolize the new identity
  • celebrate the success
Vbaker@mymcpl.org
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