The Krafty Librarian points out that change management is a slow and difficult process, and discusses some of her own strategies for dealing with the very real barriers that we face in creating the kinds of organizations that we can envision.
She's responding in particular to some points that Michael Stephens made in a recent presentation -- the post that Michael was basing those points on is here. They are the typical sorts of things that people come up with to explain why they can't get from the here that they feel stuck in, to the there that they can envision. What I particularly like in Krafty's post is that she points out that these are not just excuses -- these are descriptions of real barriers. The question is what to do about them when we face them.
It is, I suppose, a natural human tendency to look at the people or situations we see obstructing us and paint them as ignorant, behind the times, just not "with it." If it weren't for them and their bad, old-fashioned attitudes, we could really get something done! But it's just not that simple.
Krafty says that when she runs up against one of those IT roadblocks,
I sulk and drown my sorrows in caffiene for an hour or two and I kibbitz with my best friend who is a librarian. After that, I gather information on new web technologies and services that I and other hospital departments could provide if we were privy to using these on our intranet. I build a new case and present it yet again a couple of months or so later, from a different perspective to my IT department. If I get smacked back down, I pick myself back up and go to the soda machine and start building a file for a future case.
When I worked for Judy Messerle years ago, she talked about "planting seeds." Sometimes it takes a very long time for them to take root and grow. So you plant them where you can, water them when you get the chance, accept the fact that some of them are going to wither and die. I've had ideas percolate ten years before they bore fruit. I've got a couple of backburner projects right now that I've been working on for four or five years -- when I see an opportunity to bring one forward I seize it; if it doesn't take, then it goes back into the queue until I see a chance to try it again.
It would be wonderful if one day every librarian woke up and "got it", and every IT person woke up believing that the library's objectives were the most important in the organization. That's not going to happen. The future we want is being created as we speak by people like the Krafty Librarian, who go back at it, day after day, looking for those small victories, and never giving up.