Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Organizational Wellness Audit - Scary (and is it Library 2.0?)

At the all staff meeting this morning, I introduced Richard Fields who will be conducting a special project for the Library over the next month or so. Dick works for the Eau Claire School District and over the past several years has conducted over 30 "organizational wellness audits" for schools and other organizations.

The audit is a intended to look at the organization's culture, communication and decision-making processes, and learning. It will look at what is working in the organization. Dick has a group of folks who will individually interview each of the library staff as well as Library Board members and some focus groups of the Friends.

In late March there will be another all staff meeting to report what the "auditors" heard from the staff, and after staff have an opportunity to react to what has been heard, I will get a report on what currently works and where there are opportunities to change.

In a way, it is putting my radical trust into play. I am trusting this staff, which I do not know very well, to not only tell the truth about what currently works and doesn't, but to give me the opportunity to change the organization. Not only that, but I know that a number of them (and a number of my Board members) read this blog.

It will be an interesting process, and I am both excited about the possibility and scared about the prospect. I have, over the years, learned that the collective knowledge and vision of a staff is so often correct, that I am willing to trust this group of relative strangers with a great deal of my future with this staff.

A great deal of the conversation about Library 2.0 is about members of the public (we call them "customers" here) having an ability to influence what the library does. I have to believe that empowering staff is a critical part as well. That's why I'm labelling this with "Library 2.0." A part of the reason I took this job is that the staff interview panel not only included a 'Desk Clerk' but also a Library Page. How many Library Directors have been interviewed by a group that included a Library Page? My guess is not many. At the same time, one of my meetings today was with the other public library directors in the county. It was a revelation about the role that this library plays in the County and the region. I have been underestimating that role.

Reports will follow, but probably not for a month or more.

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