Getting Things Done & Transparency

The Inquiring Librarian writes:

I recently checked out David Allen’s Getting things done from my local public library, thinking I could use a little help calming down the craziness that my life seems to have turned in to. Probably predictably, I turned it in late having only read the first 2 chapters. Oh, well.

In light of this and other related events, I’ve been thinking a bit about what I do get done and why. I believe I’ve been spoiled by having jobs for a number of years now where I find the work interesting. It’s a whole lot easier to get work done when it’s engaging and I care about the outcome. I find the tasks I find interesting are the ones I end up working on for the most part, leaving the ones I find un-interesting until right before a deadline.

So what does this mean for libraries? I think it means that we need to make sure to allow our staff to step up and get involved in projects as deeply as interests them. There are many of us out there who get motivated by understanding and buying into the big picture. Don’t “protect” your staff from those high-level discussions – allow them to participate as much as they see fit. Sure, there are lots of folks in library-land that are just interested in the paycheck. We need to meet their needs too. But reward those who think beyond the next five minutes – they’re going to be running the place soon enough.

Emphasis is mine and it’s oh so important that staff understand “the big picture” to help move the library forward. Be honest. Talk to me openly as a an employee/contributor who has the potential to innovate, meet user needs now and, yes, someday, move into a position of leadership. Simply, this is succession planning. I’d certainly want upcoming managament folk to be clued in to the culture and bigger library landscape, having participated in the creation of services or service enhancements. It scares me when I hear some folks move into managament positions strictly because they’ve “been here 15 years.”