Monday, August 28, 2017

Incorporating organizational values into the strategic planning process

Forsman, Rick B. “Incorporating organizational values into the strategic planning process.” Journal of Academic Librarianship, July 1, 1990., Vol. 16, Issue 3, p. 150, 4 p.
Incorporating organizational values into the strategic planning process
Libraries have adapted a number of practices from the for-profit sector, including strategic planning. Because the attitudes and beliefs of employees influence their acceptance of and commitment to organizational goals, a values assessment should be an initial step in the planning process. This article looks at the importance of identifying value systems prior to engaging in strategic planning in libraries.

For a variety of reasons, organizations in the non-profit sector are implementing more techniques derived from business. As they seek continued existence in a changeable environment, hospitals, institutions of higher education, and libraries of all kinds have adopted a growing range of practices borrowed from the business world. In recent years libraries have ventured into the unfamiliar process of strategic planning.

There are indicators, however, that librarians may be missing some of the benefits that can come from this new process by skipping a crucial first step. Not all planning models include a recognition of the important role played by employee value systems and beliefs. Final plans may look good on paper, but, unless supported by the values and beliefs of the people who must implement them, programs and services outlined in the plan may not develop as envisioned.

Strategic planning process
As in budgeting, different varieties of planning processes wax and wane in popularity. One of the current forms in vogue, strategic planning, has been widely used in a range of settings and is described in numerous texts
(See George A. Steiner, Strategic Planning: What Every Manager Must Know (New York: Free Press, 1989); George A. Steiner, Management Policy and Strategy, 3rd ed. (New York: Macmillan, 1986), Joseph P. Peters, A Strategic Planning Process for Hospitals (Chicago: American Hospital Association, 1985), and Timothy A. Nolan, Applied Strategic Planning in a Library Setting (San Diego, CA: University Associates, 1987). While this particular technique also exists in slightly different variations, it commonly consists of seven sequential steps whereby the organization:
1. identifies its internal value and belief systems,
2. assesses environmental factors,
3. writes a concise mission statement,
4. creates program strategies that state goals and timeframes,
5. reviews past and present performance
6. scrutinizes its ability to achieve the plan, and
7. develops contingency plans.

The scope of step one may vary, but a values audit can identify professional beliefs, staff preferences, ethical considerations, and other important values that need to be reflected in the new plan if it is to be successful.
For our purposes the term values will refer to those abstract ideals, both positive and negative, that guide attitudes, actions, and interpersonal relations. Values may be vague, such as beauty or honor, or they may be specific, such as a belief that a person should always behave in a certain manner under given circumstances, but they are quite often individualistic. A group may hold the same general value or a related set of values, yet have slightly different interpretations among group members. 
The business literature
The general strategic planning model has been widely applied in the business world, but the library and higher education literature shows little evidence of the model’s adoption. In discussing the strategic planning process with a consultant from the Office of Management Studies at the Association of Research Libraries, the author learned that, of the libraries that do practice strategic planning, few seem to be including the values audit step—a marked departure from other fields.
The business literature reveals several significant areas that may be clarified or revealed through a values audit: 
  • the role of idealistic values,
  • ways to reinforce the congruence of personal and organizational values, and
  • the differences in values among groups within the organization 
On the first theme, Harmon and Jacobs, writing about the establishment of a broad company credo, point to the many benefits of idealistically stated values (e.g., the intent to be socially responsible in all business decisions [Frederick G. Harmon and Garry Jacobs, “Company Personality,” Management Review 74 (October 1985): 36-40]. Besides energizing employees, idealistic values can provide a framework that shapes response to crises or helps identify the avenue of choice when difficult decisions are required. Librarians voice such ideals when advocating freedom of information, freedom from censorship, or patron rights to privacy. 
Popular writers such as Tom Peters and Rosabeth Moss Kanter claim that corporate success is determined by a firm set of underlying organizational beliefs. (See Tom Peters and Nancy Austin, A Passion for Excellence (New York: Random House, 1985), p. 330-331; and Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Change Masters (New York, Simon & Schuster, 1983, p. 116) Posner et al. take the same position while pointing to the necessity of aligning personal and organizational values (Barry Z. Posner, James M. Kouzes, and Warren H. Schmidt, “Shared Values Make A Difference: AN Empirical Test of Corporate Culture,” Human Resources Management 24 (Fall 1985): 293-309). Looking at the consequences of conflicting values, Barone describes the problem of unintended miscommunication and the need for team members to minimize conflict by explicitly discussing personal values at the outset of major change (Frank J. Barone, “Can Conflicting Values on the Change Team Work?” Training and Development Journal 40 (August 1986): 50-52). Wilkins and Ouchi relate that Japanese businesses generally hire inexperienced personnel and then put them through a rigorous socialization process that helps them internalize the company philosophy and goals. (Alan L. Wilkins and William G. Ouchi, “Efficient Cultures: Exploring the Relationship between Culture and Organizational Performance,” Administrative Science Quarterly 28 (September 1983): 468-481) On the other hand, some firms (like Hewlett-Packard) intensively screen applicants in order to increase the likelihood of hiring those who already are compatible with certain extant organizational values and orientations. 
Further stressing the need for shared values, Alexander outlines a training program designed to inculcate a business philosophy into the minds and decisions of new employees. (George P. Alexander, “Establishing Shared Values Through Management Training Programs,” Training and Development Journal 41 (February 1987): 45-47). During one part of the program, participants learn to make choices based on company values in situations resembling the ambiguities and contradictions of the real world. The shared values thus become filters for all decisions and new employees learn how to use them in guiding their actions. 
Finally, the business literature reflects the fact that values are also important in relation to one’s background or profession. Bamberger reminds us that personal values are influenced by social norms, by values in an industry or community, and by the culture of a given organization (I. Bamberger, “Values and Strategic Behaviour,” Management International Review 26 (4): 57-69). Miller et al. warn that strategic planning may decrease productivity if the plan fails to embrace the values of a key professional group (Gerald J. Miller, Jack Rabin, and W. Bartley Hildreth, “Strategy, Values, and Productivity,” Public Productivity Review 43 (Fall 1987): 81-96). 
Library applications
From the above it is evident that values have an impact at several levels. They determine both what is done and how it is accomplished. Peters and Austin claim that “any closely held value, no matter how well concealed (even from yourself), inevitably prompts action that is consistent with it.”
(Peters and Austin, Passion for Excellence, p. 333). The library profession has a number of deeply held values which tend to have a direct impact on behavior. In discussing the philosophies of public service agencies in general, Posey et al. make several statements that describe libraries quite well. 
Their internal organizational values emphasize the quality of client services, often at the expense of the agency itself. 
When client services are underfunded or not totally staffed, it becomes difficult for most practitioners to accept diverting valuable staff time or funds into strategic planning. 
Agency members instinctively respond with tactics designed for individual or program self-preservation rather than agency survival (Pamela A. Posey, Barbara McIntosh, and E. Lauck Parke, “Preparing Public Service Agencies for Strategic Planning,” International Journal of Public Administration 10 (December 1987): 421-437) 
In other words, values will drive behavior whether they are acknowledged or not. According to the seven-step planning model, the library’s philosophy of service must be explicit and built into its mission statement. Unless the professional and idealistic values underlying librarianship are set forth, library management and staff make short-term decisions that lead to long-term failure. Librarians are frequently concerned about values and ethics, especially as they relate to client services. It is fitting that they be clearly outlined as a foundation for a successfully strategic plan. 
At the same time, success is unlikely if personal and organizational values are inharmonious. Plans have little hope of being put into place if they lack support or, worst of all, violate strongly held beliefs. Staff values need to be identified and, once known, efforts must be made to further link them to the guiding principles of the library. While the rigor of the Japanese assimilation procedure may be more than desired, thoughtful orientation and training for new employees helps strengthen the bonding process and produces a variety of benefits, as related by Posner et al (Posner et al, “Shared Values,” pp. 298-301). 
Erez points out that performance is determined by a proper balance of goal-setting with the culture and values of a work group (Miriam Erez, “The Congruence of Goal-Setting Strategies with Socio-Cultural Values and its Effect on Performance,” Journal of Management 12/4 (1986): 585-592). A strategic plan developed by the upper echelon of a rigid hierarchy will not perform well if the majority of staff are alienated by the content or the way in which the plan was instituted. Librarians have applied this knowledge in setting up teams to implement automated systems, but such involvement may be dropped at the conclusion of a given project and not considered in general planning. 
In a recap of human reactions to technological change, Fine shows that “the negativism and outrage that result from the violation of traditional and cherished values will compromise the employee’s identification with the organization or the profession” and will produce resistance in one form or another (Sara F. Fine, “Technological Innovation, Diffusion and Resistance: An Historical Perspective,” Journal of Library Administration 7 (Spring 1986): 83-108). Haven’t we all witnessed the reluctance of some staff to let go of manual procedures or the confrontations between veteran librarians and a new library director who proposes change? On an operational level this kind of conflict frustrates and holds back everyone. The underlying issues need to be identified and worked through, yet it is much better to do so early in the strategic planning process rather than continually butting heads over undisclosed beliefs. 
On the positive side, libraries can use the values assessment as a springboard to revamp operations in a way that elicits enthusiasm and support from the staff. Human resources are a key factor in achieving success. The Bank of America learned through an attitude assessment that employees believed it was best to avoid risk and to be “nice” rather than frank (Robert N. Beck, “Visions, Values, and Strategies: Changing Attitudes and Culture,” Academy of Management EXECUTIVE 1 (February 1987): 33-41). Consequently, an intensive change agenda was devised to create a commitment-driven organization where managers adopted and modeled behavior consistent with honesty and risk taking. 
Similarly, libraries can narrow the gap between existing beliefs and desired ideals. Managers can demonstrate actions based on preferred values and encourage subordinates to do the same, thus increasing the likelihood of organizational success and staff empowerment. The old maxim “Practice what you preach” applies to organizational values as well as to other attitudes. 
Through identification of staff values, those leading the strategic planning process can more realistically develop an implementation package. By acknowledging values and making an effort to blend them into the plan itself, the chances of successful and timely completion are increased. For example, our library’s audit revealed a somewhat unexpected outlook among support staff. Despite being firmly enmeshed in a bureaucratic state system which repeatedly emphasizes seniority, staff expressed a preference that rewards go to those who demonstrated competence and commitment much more than to those who simply showed strong organizational loyalty. In our case it will be important to find ways to distribute some rewards in accordance with staff values rather than relying solely on a state-prescribed system that conflicts with the way employees measure their own worth. 
The following are logical actions that libraries can take to incorporate values into the strategic plan.
Early in the planning process assess the work and service values of all employees. A number of assessment instruments are readily available, but the library might be happiest using these as ideas for developing its own tools. Beware of instruments that require complex scoring, however. (University Associates, Inc. publishes an excellent annual compilation of short articles, assessments, and group exercises for human resource development. Two values audit instruments from earlier publications may serve as useful starting points: Roger Harrison, “Diagnosing Organizational Ideology,” in The 1975 Annual Handbook for Group Facilitators, ed. J.E. Jones and J.W. Pfeffer (San Diego: University Associates, 1975), pp. 101-107; and Mark Alexander, “Organizational Norms Oppionnaire,” in The 1978 Annual Handbook for Group Facilitators, ed. J.W. Pfeffer and J.E. Jones (San Diego: University Associates, 1978), pp. 81-88). 
Clarify values through a feedback mechanism. Report the audit findings back to employees and ask for discussion, questions, and validation. While some audit responses will give a clear picture of group beliefs or attitudes, others may be inconclusive. Results may suggest that a particular question has been interpreted differently by different individuals or in a way other than was what originally intended. Drawing firm conclusions can be a tricky matter, calling for action to seek clarification or expert assistance. 
Throughout the strategic planning process look for ways to mesh values with implementation methods. When library goals are consistent with personal and professional values, resistance is minimalized. When employees are also comfortable with how the goals will be achieved, accomplishment is even more probable. 
Repeatedly point out the alignment of values with the plan. Everyone needs to be reminded that they took part in defining the organization’s explicit values and that, in turn, those ideals are directly related to the general direction and daily operation of the library. 
When orientating new employees, stress values and philosophy and how they are to be relied upon in making daily work decisions. Give staff a framework for weighing the impact of their choices and encourage the habit of referring back to the strategic plan as a guide. 
For existing personnel, outline the same framework and reinforce their efforts to use it in decision making. 
These six ideas derive from personal experience with planning. In the author’s workplace the audit revealed numerous values that are currently being incorporated into the planning process, the strategic plan itself, and the mechanisms for realizing it. Once staff responses to the audit were tabulated, the results were presented at an information meeting. Questions and comments during the meeting and over the next several days helped clarify the responses and their meanings. Follow-up meetings have since been held to emphasize the congruence of the strategic plan with organizational values and to point out the derivation of daily priorities from the overall direction and overarching priorities of the plan. As new employees are hired they will be grounded in library goals and philosophies. 
One unexpected outcome of the clear identification of library values is a new benchmark for use in hiring. We now have a much better idea of what attitudes and beliefs will make potential employees happy or unhappy in our library, and their ideals can be explored as part of the search for a mutually satisfying match. 
Although our librarians presented no surprises in the service philosophies they held, the support staff showed clear preferences for how the plan should be accomplished. Recurring throughout their responses was the message that they prized active involvement and recognition of their worth as responsible employees. They also wanted an open climate with full disclosure of task requirements, conflicts, decisions, and how personal interest could be matched with unassigned or changing duties. 
These attitudes are being built into several areas in the library’s strategic planning, with preservation being a case in point. Recently two small units were merged to form a Collection Development and Preservation Department, which will take responsibility for developing and incrementing a comprehensive preservation program. Support staff will be key players on a team charged with creating the plan. They will be active participants in determining what needs to be done, what tasks will take priority, how jobs are redesigned, and how organizational needs are balanced with personal desires. Involvement in this work is seen as both recognition and reward for competence and as a response to employee wishes for participation.
Attempts to factor values and beliefs into strategic planning have complicated the process to some extent. It takes more thought to link people with organizational goals, but the values audit has given a clearer picture of what issues must be made congruent between the two. By both incorporating some values and remolding others, the library should benefit from a strong internal commitment to implementing the plan. 
by Rick. B. Forsman
Rick B. Forsman is Deputy Director, Denison Memorial Library, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, CO.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Five steps toward planning today for tomorrow’s needs

Feinman, Valerie Jackson. “Five Steps Toward Planning Today for Tomorrow’s Needs,” Computers in Libraries, Jan 99, Vol. 19, Issue 1, pp. 18-21.
Five steps toward planning today for tomorrow’s needs
Strategic planning in libraries today must always, because of the rapid advances in technologies, define the business of the organization in which the library is situated. Most libraries are in the business of education—educating the public, the employees, or the faculty and the students. In public libraries this means satisfying the community’s need for entertainment and access to research needs; in a corporate library it means supporting industry and computer analysis; and in a college or university library it means supporting both the education of the students and the teaching and research needs of the faculty.
Strategic planning for technologies in a college or university must be a cooperative effort with input from the administration, the computing center personnel, and the faculty, taking into account the mission statement of the academy, the financial restrictions of the budget, and the mandated programs utilizing these technologies. Faculty input is essential and critical, both in terms of how faculty actually uses technology and how faculty may be encouraged to redevelop syllabi that reflect that use. Faculty leadership is critical to the collection, development, and management of that input. 
The role of the librarian is increasingly important during strategic planning, as educator and leader within the process, whether that process occurs within the library or in the larger institution, as these are intimately connected. What happens in the academic library is a microcosm of what is happening in libraries nationally. 
The strategic plan developed should offer a pattern that integrates major goals, policies, and action sequences of the organization into a cohesive whole. It should help allocate resources, capitalize on relative strengths, mitigate against weaknesses, exploit projected shifts in the environment, and counter possible actions of competitors. Thus a well-articulated strategic plan should set a clear direction, allow for the strengths and weaknesses within the competitive environment, devote resources to projects that utilize the set of core competencies and primary skills within the organization, identify areas within the social and political environment that require careful monitoring, and recognize the competitive areas that need careful attention. 
Why should we plan?
One problem in strategic planning is actually envisioning what is “needed”. At a recent meeting here at Adelphi University, where I am coordinator of library instruction and chair of the faculty senate, when committee members were asked to list what was needed, they replied: “pull more wires, purchase more computers,” and “we need upgrades.” These are facile and unimaginative answers. When the technologies we probably need do not yet exist, we have trouble knowing what we really want or need.

What I really need is instant delivery of full-text data across a wide time-span whenever I complete a search, and the ability to download the relevant papers, complete with diagrams and graphs. I should be able to download a full book into my electronic reading machine and use it at will. We don’t quite have the technologies for this yet, and the older texts of journals and books haven’t been digitized. But I do know what I need to ease and enhance my research. We have to ask the question: “What do you need?” and build on that before we start planning, lest we spin our wheels endlessly talking about what is now possible rather than what is needed. Our strategic plans must allow for future developments and for our wish lists, and must not be a mere enhancement of what we now have.

So, how do we plan for this future when the technologies do not yet support it, when the publishing industry is producing money-making rather than educationally needed products? How shall librarians plan for future librarians when we haven’t yet begun to organize the Web, and when we squabble about what our profession might become rather than taking the lead in fashioning it?
The five-step strategic planning process
Developing a strategic plan may be necessary for many reasons. Perhaps it has been years since the last plan was formulated, and a new one is needed. Or, growth within a public library’s community may indicate the need for a branch library or for a building extension. The company may be expanding or downsizing, requiring a new adaptive plan. The academy must be re-accredited every decade, and must have a dynamic plan demonstrating its mission and the goals to be reached. In all of these cases, planning is necessary and tends to follow a usual path:
1. Situational and environmental analysis
2. Development of organizational direction

3. Formulation of strategic plan

4. Implementation of the plan

5. Strategic control, feedback, evaluation
In this article, I’ll look at each of these steps in more detail and offer some insight gained from what has happened at my own institution. 
1. Situational and environmental analysis
Once a project is well begun, it is half done. So this initial analysis is absolutely critical to the eventual writing of the planning document. Many people from various elements must participate in the following tasks: Look at the environment in which the library and academy are operating; evaluate the competition and its offerings; seek full knowledge of the needs of the constituency; investigate mandates from the community, accrediting agency, or government; discover market niches that are unmet; and seek opportunities consistent with external realities.
Questions that are useful include: Where is this library/institution today in terms of existing technologies to support its work? Where do the faculty/students/ community need to support their teaching/study/research? How might a curriculum be altered in terms of existing resources, what competitive academies offer, and what students need to learn? What value-added education (in terms of technologies) do we want to address this issue? Who is our competition, and why, and do we want to continue competing at that level? 
At this point many of us might say, “Whoa! This is too complex!” But it isn’t. As librarians we do much of the thinking required automatically as we improve the services we offer: arguing for new methods, reading our literature, evaluating what we do, and making those changes as needed. When I called to serve on the committee developing the library’s strategic plan for technologies, I realized that as an instruction librarian I was, every semester, teaching students in a management course how to do situational analysis for an industry. I applied the precepts of what I was teaching to my own study for the library. 
Your analysis should also examine the core values of your institution. You must reflect on the traditional values in a dynamic and complex environment; assess current programs; adapt to the emerging trends with the appropriate plans consistent with your vision, your mission, and your strengths as an institution—or, decide not to adapt. And you must develop the tools to provide our graduating students with an education well-informed by technologies. 
Librarians bring many useful qualities to this analysis. We work with people at all levels, adapting to their modes of learning. We develop the ability to see the overall picture more clearly than do subject-oriented teaching faculty or bottom-line-oriented administrators. Our contributions as team members are highly undervalued. 
At Adelphi, one forum for analysis is our Faculty Senate, which meets biweekly to discuss academic and curricular affairs and approve curricular initiatives forwarded by its committees. When an issue is raised by a professor or dean, their discussion can illuminate analysis or enhance vision or facilitate implementation. As senate chair, I should know where data can be found and who the knowledgeable players are. 
One of the senate subcommittees decided to query users of academic computing, via e-mail, and ask what problems were arising. Questions poured in from users, and were answered after much discussion. There were some easy answers, and some hard ones, but we found answers and made changes. Then we posted the answers on e-mail, along with committee minutes. This is an ongoing project. 
2. Development of organizational direction
There are generally three main indicators of direction—values, mission, and objectives. Vision includes aspirations, core values, and philosophies at very general levels. Our mission statements translate these into more doable statements of institutional purpose. Objectives are those items—call them targets perhaps—that allow us to succeed in our mission. Our direction may be established, informed, reaffirmed, or modified through environmental/situational analysis.

Decisions about organizational direction are made after full consultation with administrative leadership, and are informed by discussions at all levels. A major problem may occur when the vision of our leadership is at odds with that of our traditional values and bases. Here at Adelphi, we had an earlier leadership that wanted us to become an elitist college, while our student base had always been people training in professional schools. Delicate negotiations at several levels, fully informed by situational analysis, led to a “new” direction in which an improved general undergraduate education will lead seamlessly into our professional schools, or into the workforce. Adelphi is situated on Long Island, where there are 32 degree-granting institutions within 40 miles. Competition for students is fierce. 
In my experience, once the vision is discussed, and the mission statement formulated, the objectives become clearer. 
3. Formulation of strategic plan
Once the analysis is completed and the direction is established, you can proceed with the actual formulation of the plan. Planning can be done at various levels, but in universities it is usually driven by accrediting agencies that demand dynamic planning as the cost of re-accreditation. Teams, usually dominated by faculty, gather data, analyze it, and report out on the knowledge gleaned. The in-house accreditation leaders sift through all this, and develop a coherent planning document. When planning is needed between site visits, then it’s done in a similar fashion, but not driven by the agency’s requirements. 
Formulation is difficult and doesn’t always take place as planned. In fact, this is often the case. We had appointed two Task Forces to study the environmental issues affecting growth in two of our graduate schools. One team developed a definitive plan that stated strengths and weaknesses, and laid out an exact plan for putting the school on track for today’s market needs. The second team developed an reasonable philosophy for improving the school, but provided no implementable planning document. 
A solid plan should include the following information:
  • Statement of mission for the whole, or for the unit within the whole, and relating to the overall mission
  • How the unit will respond to and flesh out that mission statement
  • What resources are needed, and a timeline for these: faculty, staff, resources, technologies
  • Where those resources will be found, how they fit into the existing and future budgetary considerations, and which grants should be sought
  • What governance issues are involved
  • A full timeline for implementation of changes
  • Allowance for feedback, evaluation, and adjustment procedures (see also step 5 below)
4. Implementation of the plan
An implementation plan must be well formulated and flexible, allowing procedures for many kinds of unplanned but needed changes. With this in mind, we then develop an implementation schedule that states the order of implementation and what steps should be taken at what time. It must also allow for changes when necessary, and outline the resource budget. Steps might include: change the focus and curriculum of school/department X to meet market needs; develop curriculum for Y course; hire Z faculty to teach Y course when developed; increase library resources to provide materials and staff to support X; convert library databases to Web-based when proxy server is installed in December 1998, etc.
In the fall of 1998, our Faculty Senate approved a 5-year calendar, with the following built-in provision: “This calendar shall be in force, unless a future Senate decides to make a change before October 15 of the preceding year.” It is difficult to determine implementation exactly in an environment where technological changes are frequent, rapid, and comprehensive. Even calendar plans, which appear straightforward at first glance, may require future changes. 
Curricular changes occurring on campus may suddenly upset the carefully developed plan. Last year our faculty passed a new General Education requirement, for which the library would provide two sessions of instruction during the fall semester. Library faculty agreed to this. Then the GenEd committee decided there would be a maximum of 20 students in each class. Suddenly the library faculty, eight of whom now provide instruction sessions, must plan for 50 or more additional sessions. We are seeking to add an instruction faculty member—while some library faculty see alternative positions as more important. 
The university Web page is under construction once again. Someone hired a commercial outfit to produce it, and many problems resulted. The hired firm had no concept of the importance of library access—so library faculty had to scream loud and clear. We now have a button on the home page, and control over what is seen on the following library pages. These seem like simple things, but require constant vigilance. 
5. Strategic control, feedback, and evaluation
Now that we have completed the earlier steps, we must ensure good feedback, evaluation, and review of the rollout of the strategic plan. In academia, faculty are intimately involved with all steps involving curricula and other academic affairs. Faculty Senate representatives meet biweekly with the Provost and Presidents Cabinet to ensure that faculty needs are being met during the implementation. Everyone watches the rollout carefully. Minor corrections are made as needed. Some of the changes chronicled above demonstrate this ongoing process.
The library’s place in strategic planning
And you may well say: “Where does the library fit into all of this?” Our library contributed to every step of the process, being fully represented on all committees. The mission statement of the library is fully compatible with the overall mission statement of the university. The library supports strategic planning for technologies with its own variations, including those for instruction. We know that the library is well-represented, because a librarian chairs the Faculty Senate and ensures this.
When many viewpoints are needed to ensure the success of strategic planning, we librarians can guarantee some measure of success by becoming involved, by getting into the game, and preferably by taking a position of power!
By Valerie Jackson Feinman
Valerie Jackson Feinman has been coordinator of library instruction at Adelphi University in Garden City, New York, since 1985. She has an M.S.(L.S.) from Syracuse and an M.B.A. from Adelphi. She has served in academic libraries since 1965, and writes and speaks frequently about instruction issues. She was recently re-elected as chairperson of the Faculty Senate at Adelphi. Her e-mail address is

Monday, August 14, 2017

Assessing Your Leadership Style

Toastmasters International. Assessing Your Leadership Style. Kantla Productions, 1991, pp. 25-29.
Assessing your leadership style
Circle the choice that best applies to you:

Always Frequently Sometimes Seldom Never

A B C D E 1. Scolding non-performing employees does more harm than good.
A B C D E 2. I encourage team members to help each other.
A B C D E 3. I push my team to be the best.
A B C D E 4. I give my team members encouragement and emotional support.
A B C D E 5. When I speak, I represent my whole team, not just myself.
A B C D E 6. A productive team requires a delicate balance of skills and personalities.
A B C D E 7. I encourage team members to work faster and better.
A B C D E 8. I consult with team members before introducing new policies or procedures.
A B C D E 9. I know exactly what my team members are working on.
A B C D E 10. Management understands problems best.
A B C D E 11. I decide how things will be done.
A B C D E 12. I give praise or express appreciation to my team members.
A B C D E 13. I expect to see results every day.
A B C D E 14. I try to select team members whose personalities will blend well.
A B C D E 15. My team members choose their own assignments.
A B C D E 16. I explain my actions to team members.
A B C D E 17. Projects progress on a predictable schedule.
A B C D E 18. I work to build team spirit.
A B C D E 19. I encourage work after hours to complete the project.
A B C D E 20. I encourage discussion of non-work issues during working hours.
A B C D E 21. I know how much each team member is accomplishing.
A B C D E 22. Things go better when I am flexible.
A B C D E 23. I assign specific tasks to team members.
A B C D E 24. I enjoy working closely with other team members.
A B C D E 25. Pressuring team members to work harder causes them to slow down.
A B C D E 26. I trust my team members to exercise good judgement.
A B C D E 27. My team members know exactly what is expected of them every day.
A B C D E 28. My team members feel free to speak with me.
A B C D E 29. I give my team members detailed instructions.
A B C D E 30. Decisions made by groups or committees have the best chance to succeed.
A B C D E 31. Goals, quotas, and bonuses are the best incentives.
A B C D E 32. I work with and assist other team members.
A B C D E 33. I persuade others that my actions are in their best interests.
A B C D E 34. My team members like me.
A B C D E 35. I let my team set its own pace.
A B C D E 36. I grant authority to others.
A B C D E 37. I give special treatment to top producers.
A B C D E 38. I encourage team members to mature and gain skills by taking on challenging projects.
A B C D E 39. I work hard for promotions and leadership positions.
A B C D E 40. I avoid criticizing a team member when someone might overhear.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Management styles

Current trends in management
  • Do more with less
  • Listen to your customers
    • Take literature and apply to setting
  • Focus on quality service
  • Measure your performance
Trends change all the time.

Management by objectives (MBO)

  • Four basic management functions
    • Set objectives
    • Organize
      • Around objective
    •  Measure
      • Whether objectives are met
    • Develop people
Six other management tasks identified by Drucker
  • Take risks
  • Make strategic decisions
  • Build a team
    • Management should collaborate
  • Communicate quickly and clearly
  • See the role of the unit in the context of the organization as a whole
  • Manage by walking around
Crainer, Stuart. The Ultimate Business Library: 110 Thinkers Who Really Make a Difference. New York: AMACOM, 1998, p. 53.

Total quality management

  • Based on the writings of W. Edward Deming
  • Roots in the Japanese concept of quality circles
  • Emphasis is on achieving customer satisfaction, continuous improvement of organizational processes and on the production of high quality products and services
All effort needs to be put in for total quality management to work.

PDCA cycle

  • The Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle
  • Plan carefully what needs to be done
  • Do it, i.e., carry out the plan
  • Check on progress and results
  • Act on both positive and negative results
  • Start the cycle again with a revised plan
The PDCA cycle is part of TQM, similar to strategic planning. What are the parent organization’s missions? Can they see what is in it for them? There are numerous strategies in organizations, some can be similar with only a twist.

  • The next person who gets your work
    • Not necessarily the public. Could be a department within the library, e.g., Acquisitions, Cataloguing
  • You must know the requirements of your customer
Measure progress
  • Set key indicators and targets
  • Strive for effectiveness and efficiency
  • Effectiveness: doing the right things
  • Efficiency: doing things right
TQM in libraries
  • Based on
    • Customer focus
    • Process improvement
      • How can libraries continually improve? E.g. interlibrary loan - type four part form, send/receive by mail, then fax machine, e-mail, Internet, Arial scanning
    • Employment empowerment
      • More libraries are allowing employees to make decisions with perhaps not applying rules
Learning organizations
  • Theory by Peter Senge
  • Need to tap people’s commitment and capacity to learn
  • “Learning is about changing individuals so that they produce results they care about, accomplish things, that are important to them”
Crainer, Stuart. The Ultimate Business Library: 50 Books that Shaped Management Thinking. New York: AMACOM, 1997, p. 237.


What makes a leader?
Visible Listening skills
Inspiring Motivated
Enthusiastic Passionate
Authority Allows feedback for own improvement
Consistent decision making Willing decision making
Observes/utilizes strengths/weaknesses Can draw individuals group/delegate
Balance between taking charge/backing off Inner confidence
Willing to admit defeat/responsibility for own vision Vision
Integrity Decisiveness
Dependability Ability to communicate

Examples of good leaders:
  • Donald Trump, risk taker
  • Bill Clinton, charismatic
  • Winston Churchill, inspiring
  • Adolf Hitler, enigmatic
  • Lee Iacocoa, vision, innovative, motivate
  • Mother Theresa/Ghandi, lead by nature

From: Be Prepared to Lead, Applied Leadership Skills for Business Managers, Instructor’s Manual.

Leadership styles

Employee types