Emory University Libraries Step Back to Look Forward Friday April 7, 2006 Presented by: Linda Nodine, Human Resource Associate Eric Bymaster, Director, Budget & Finance Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia
Discussion Outline • Who we are • Background and context • Timeline of library reorganization • New University strategic plan • Library assessment process • Task force analysis • Organizational findings and next steps • Case study: communication • Where are we now • Conclusion and questions
Who We Are Emory University, General Libraries: • 172 (head count) staff • $23 million budget • 12,000 students • 3,107,525 ARL volume count • Primary users: Undergraduates, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and Business School
Timeline of Reorganization • May 1998 - Design Proposal • May 2000 – New Structure • Jan 2001- Staffing of Teams/Team Start Up • 2001-2003 - Goals Based Evaluations, Values Based Awards • 2003 – University Strategic Plan begins • 2004 – Library and Academic Units Strategic Plan begins • 2005 – Organizational Assessment Task Force convenes • 2005-2006 – Library begins implementing recommendations from OATF
Strategic Planning “When you’re dying of thirst, it’s too late to think about digging a well.” -Japanese Proverb
New University strategic plan Emory Strategic Plan Introduction Strategic Plan: 2005-15
Library Strategic Plan Numbers 5 Years 9 Goals 17 Initiatives 43 Tactics 100s of targets 1,000s of staff hours Lots to Do !
Strategic plan participation:Impact • Inter-team collaboration • Broaden perspectives and understanding • Reduce barriers to getting work done • Strengthen sense of community • In position to best accomplish strategic goals
Task Force Assignment The assignment will determine if: • goals are right for today’s environment; • we making continued progress; • if not, what changes need to be made; and, • if the library is positioned to achieve its goals. The process must: • involve all members of organization; • use effective communication and information gathering techniques; • include report and recommendations based on assessment outcomes; • be completed in less than 6 months.
Library assessment process • Team composition • Process • Review of reorganization documents • Review of library strategic plan • Review of campus climate survey results • Discussions: • “what is our purpose?” • “what we want to know?” • “what will be helpful to the organization?” • Planning • Three staff surveys • Four focus group discussions
Task Force Forming • Ground Rules • Challenges • Group Dynamics
Task Force Focus Areas • Culture • Challenges in achieving strategic plan • Goals of reorganization • Communication and decision making • Structure
Survey Methodology • Consultant assistance • Structure and composition • 3 surveys over 4 weeks • Topic areas • Change management • Vision • Coordination/collaboration • Communication
Survey Key Findings • Complex coordination across functions difficult • Making decisions and changing directions do not happen quickly • High autonomy and decentralized organization needs balance
Focus Groups Methodology • Consultant assistance • Structure and composition • 4 groups (8-11 people each) • 90 minutes to discuss 6 topics • Topic areas • Organization (division of tasks and responsibilities) • Communication • Inter-team collaboration • Library values • Meeting culture • Unwritten rules
Focus Group Key Findings • Unevenness • Uniqueness • Openness • Information overload • Willingness to serve
Task Force Analysis • WIKI
Task Force Analysis • WIKI • Debriefed with consultants • Task force discussions • Three groups • Communication, Decision Making and Structure • Culture • Goals of the Reorg
Task Force Reporting • Drafted report • Discussions • Standard outline • Key findings • Questions to consider • Final report and presentation • Feedback opportunity
Strengths Quick decisions Personal networks Good meetings Sense of community Empowered staff Areas for Improvement Vertical communication Organizational values Complex coordination Information overload Decentralized structure Organizational Findings
Quick fixes: Regular leader meetings Team Talks Intranet working group Best practices-meetings Complex challenges: Vertical communication Decision making Complex coordination Encourage a risk-taking culture Next Steps - Fixes
Where are we now? • Outgrowths of assessment report • Leader meetings • Communications training • Upward evaluations • Best practices • Review of organizational values • Orientation
Case Study: Communication • What we wanted to know • Survey and focus group questions • Results and feedback • Analysis • Next steps (Action Plan)
Case Study: Communication “Nothing is so simple that it cannot be misunderstood.” -Jr. Teague, North Carolina State Legislator
Case Study: CommunicationWhat we wanted to know • Does communication happen in a timely way? • Do decisions get communicated? • Do meetings achieve what we want them to? • What are meetings good at accomplishing? • Are people heard?
Case Study: Communicationfocus group question • “From what sources (team leader, peer, another team) and through what channels (email, phone, meeting, newsletter, chat) do you get the information necessary to do your job?”
Case Study: Communicationsurvey questions • Survey (Likert Scale) • My supervisor clearly explains policy changes. • My supervisor lets me know what work needs done. • My supervisor lets me know which areas of my performance are weak. • My supervisor takes time to listen to what I have to say.
Case Study: CommunicationResults and Feedback • Focus Groups • Horizontal vs Vertical Communication • Personal Networks
Case Study: CommunicationResults and Feedback • Surveys • Response average 2.0 (scale 1=strongly agree, 5=strongly disagree) • My supervisor clearly explains policy changes 2.21 • My supervisor lets me know what work needs done 2.00 • My supervisor lets me know which areas of my performance are weak 2.45 • My supervisor takes time to listen to what I have to say 1.72
Case Study: CommunicationAnalysis Excerpt from WIKI Notes August 22, 2005: Communication: Horizontal Communication (Fp1, 2) Valve of team/working group meetings (Fp4) Personal network needed to gain info (Fp2) Info Overload (Fp1) All info through team leader—if they don’t get it team doesn’t (Fp3 1d4) Confusion over method of general communication method (Fp9)
Case Study: CommunicationAnalysis • Strong personal networks • Vertical communication • Information overload • Clarify decision-making • Inter-team collaboration • Effective meetings
Case Study: CommunicationNext Steps • Team Talks • Meeting best practices (checklist) • Upward evaluations • Intranet working group • Communication styles training
Why was this Successful? Planning Teamwork Supportive Leadership Timing Open communication Willing participants Thinking outside the box
Questions and Further discussion about… Process? Issues? Follow-up? Staff Response? Ongoing assessment?
Thank you Contact information: Linda firstname.lastname@example.org Eric email@example.com Emory homepage: www.emory.edu Wiki: https://staffweb.library.emory.edu/wiki/index.php/Category:Organizational_Assessment_Task_Force
Organizational Design Principles Questions to Consider • How could the library develop a common understanding of how to deliver quality customer service? • Are there ways to encourage broader understanding of teams' roles and responsibilities throughout the library? • How do we remove any boundaries that may exist (or may be perceived to exist) between teams to allow the necessary inter-team collaboration? • How do we best facilitate complex coordination and process improvement throughout the organization?
Library Organizational Strengths • Quick decisions (if they are simple) • Strong personal networks • Good meetings • Strong sense of community • Autonomous, empowered staff
Key Organizational Concerns • Vertical communication • Confusion about the MLRR • Complex coordination across functions • Challenges in a decentralized org structure • Information overload
Summary - Places to Start • Quick fixes: • Broaden understanding of the MLRR and their role in the organization • Communicate to everyone what the different teams do and the preferred channel of communication for each team • Improve information management • Widely implement “characteristics of valuable meetings” • Complex challenges: • Improve vertical communication • Clarify how decisions are made (beyond the team level) and increase the timeliness of complex decision-making
Next Steps • Communication Plan • Discussion with ESG last week • Q&A • Share feedback from this discussion with ESG • Provide feedback here, email, or notes to Linda Nodine • Future ESG discussion with Task Force • Action Plans
Questions • Is there general agreement with the issues? • What major issues are not addressed? • In what ways were you surprised? • Anything else that could be acted upon quickly? • Priorities?