Municipal Engagement: to Ontario Public Libraries Marketing ThinkTank


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Presentation to Ontario Public Libraries Marketing ThinkTank in September 2013

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  • Good morning. I am so honoured that dysartjones was asked to be here. I certainly am not a marketer, but I have learned about municipal engagement from the best: Jane Dysart – who is hands down one of the best networkers ever; Ken Haycock, who is Dr. Influence, and Jim Morgenstern who understands municipalities and their mysterious workings so so well. This is not just about being engaged --- this is about the best type of engagement – cuz those of us who have been married or in a long term relationship know that the early days of the relationship are the easy days. The ring, in the true sense of the term is just the beginning.And there is a sense of urgency about libraries alignment and engagement with municipalities
  • We may just get left at the altar – or be at the young place altogether – of totally missing the opportunity to be in a long-term productive, influential & fun relationship with the local governing body.
  • We engage to move to a deeper, more meaningful and – in the case of organizations – more productive & sustainable level – a level in which we have influence.
  • If you remember nothing else that I say for the next little bit, please remember these words – long-term, productive, influential & fun – that is what being engaged should lead to. And I will harp on that concept for the next little while.
  • So why am I worried that libraries are not aligned with – engaged with – positioned with the local governing bodies? Within the past 5 years I’ve been working with libraries about their long term plans – operating plans – changing services, programs, roles, etc. adapting to the new normal; as part of that I try to watch what’s happening beyond libraries that will impact libraries. And, I have been unbelievably lucky to work with Jim Morgenstern. For every library we work with, we interview key individuals in council and city – or municipal positions. Sometimes the senior management of the library has developed strong relationships with these key individuals, but, more often these ppl in council and city positions see the library through very traditional lenses. And those individuals question the costs.
  • Bring up Municipal World Cultural Planning issue. My concern, and I could be totally wrong – cuz this isn’t based on true research – is that libraries are missing in action. If libraries are mentioned, in interviews or in many plans, it is as spaces. And we are so much more than spaces. At the risk of oversimplifying for this audience, libraries are basically 3 key components: space, staff and stuff – and it is the ability of the staff to turn what’s in that stuff in “know-how” “know’ that” learning, creativity, insights & ah ha’s that position libraries as key economic, cultural and learning contributors to their communities. Which is why municipalities should want to be engaged with libraries. So what’s in the way? USAre we linking ppl with their communities now? Do link the digital or physical rich resources we have to what’s happening in the community? Do our sections on gardening link people to the plant sale at the local church or to the horticultural society? Does the Chamber of Commerce have a link to the library business books & digital resources for ‘small business? Not a link to the library, cuz we’ll lose the small business guy when he or she hits the main website. Do you & staff go to municipal courses? Do you bring in speakers from municipal circles? Are we holding sessions on community issues, in which all perspectives are not only discussed but our informed by the resources we invest in for the community?
  • To be aligned means we have to know the municipality – know the people involved. WE call them stakeholders – they aren't holding steaks – they are holding stakes. And, too often, we don’t know what stakes they are even holding or why.
  • And our curiousity should be about what those, with whom we want to be engaged, are dealing with.
  • Know your colleagues – the stakeholders
  • & bear with me, if, after working in all kinds of organizations & with all kinds of libraries for the past 30 years if I make some generalizationsCommon tactics Ingratiation (make them feel important)Assertiveness (make demands)Rationality (explain reasons)Sanctions (administrative means for compliance)Exchange of benefits (trade-offs)Upward influence (appeal to higher levels)Blocking (prevent target from achieving goal)Coalitions (enlist others to influence)
  • If you remember nothing else that I say for the next little bit, please remember these words – long-term, productive, influential & fun – that is what being engaged should lead to. And I will harp on that concept for the next little while. Can our municipal & council relationships be fun? Not all, and certainly some can be. Confusing causes conflict. We can’t be engaged with people if we are in conflict with them. And if they are confused or simply unaware of who we are, what we contribute, and how we can not only make their lives easier but make the whole community infrastructure look better function better & BE better for the people of our communities then we wipe away that confusion. And we become a true part of an engaged, long-term, productive, influential and fun relationship.
  • Municipal Engagement: to Ontario Public Libraries Marketing ThinkTank

    1. 1. Rebecca Jones, MLS Municipal Engagement
    2. 2. WTF?
    3. 3. Aligned Meaningful Relationship Influential Position
    4. 4. Long-term Productive Influential Fun
    5. 5. What’s impacting our Iceberg?
    6. 6. What’s the Library’s level of involvement in City plans? How many times is the Library mentioned Municipal plans? In what context is it mentioned?
    7. 7. Aligned Meaningful Relationship Influential Position
    8. 8. “Leadership is a process of social influence through which one person is able to enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task.” Chemers, M. (1997). An integrative theory of leadership. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. p. 1. Thanks to Dr. Ken Haycock, Marshall School of Business,University of Southern California
    9. 9. The Influential Keller & Berry, 2003 Passionate, informed, well-connected, articulate people with broad social networks, to whom others look for advice & recommendations “Talkers”
    10. 10.  “Expert” in a specific domain  “Early Adopters” or certainly know how to build relationships with early adopters to move change through  Opinion leaders  Knowledgeable about the issues being dealt with  Viewed as trustworthy  With connections  Use their knowledge & connections to help others
    11. 11. So what are your challenges?
    12. 12. “20 minutes to catch up with you about your priorities this year.” “What are your priorities or what are you & your department focusing on this year? Now?This quarter?” “What do you see as the real issues?” Know their pain points, their happy points & their prickly points
    13. 13. Name Position How well do you know them? What are their goals? What do they know about you? About the library?
    14. 14.  To know “things” you must know “people”  Before you raise an issue, shake a hand  One idea, one ally, one email, one conversation, one meeting, one presentation at a time
    15. 15. Relationships
    16. 16. Long-term Productive Influential Fun
    17. 17.