Just Say No — to too many projects


Erica Reynolds posts about my talk at Northeast Kansas Library System Tech day a couple of weeks ago and the “culture of No:”

Many of my colleagues were at NEKLS Tech Day, and they were probably all snickering each time Michael Stephens talked about how important it is to battle the so-called culture of no, because lately, I’ve totally been on the “no” train at work. I’ve had “no” plastered on my laptop, my office door, etc…Because I’ve had to launch a campaign to limit our new projects until we entirely rebuild out Web world from the ground up. There is a time to have priorities, and this is it.

So when we talk about the culture of “no”—people who are always saying no to service and ideas that would be great for patrons—we’re not talking about people like you. Yes, you.

If you’re reading this right now, let me tell you: you’re probably not a member of the culture of “no”—you probably have so many good ideas your head’s about to explode. You read all the blogs, your finger’s on the pulse of what’s happening in the library world as well as the Web 2.0 world as a whole. Your problem probably isn’t saying “no,” it’s saying “yes” too often.

Erica — and everyone — I could not agree more.. One of the worst things that could happen to a library is that there are so many projects going on — especially technology-based projects — that everything either slows down to a crawl or initiatives launch with poor planning and implementations.

A Web redeisgn is a great example. I’d postpone start dates for other projects to give that one priority. And what about meetings? Those meetings had better be effective, streamlined and well-lead…

So, before you decide to implement all the 2.0 goodness the bibliobloggers discuss, look closely at your library technology plan, balance out technolust and move forward with a clear vision — not just 10-15 “hot” projects. Choose what works best for your organization — what works best for staffing, money, resources, etc… but just don’t fall back on “we don’t need to worry about that here” or “we’ve always done it this way..” That is also an example of another kind of “culture of No” – the worst kind!