From Ideas to Innovation: Powering Up for Change


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Presented at the December 2011 PALCI Member Meeting in Harrisburg PA. Calhoun describes her new role at the University of Pittsburgh Library as AUL for Organizational Development; the nature of and necessary conditions for transformational change; and the challenges of the the change cycle.

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From Ideas to Innovation: Powering Up for Change

  1. 1. FROM IDEAS TO INNOVATION:Powering up for changeKaren Calhoun 2 December 2011Assistant University Librarian for OrganizationalDevelopment and Strategic InitiativesUniversity of Pittsburgh
  2. 2. My role at Pitt• Started late July 2011• Work for Rush Miller, University Librarian• FY12 assignments: • Guide process to assess and redesign user services • Guide process to develop recommendations for renovation of main library user services space • Collaboratively develop the library’s FY13 strategic plan • Change management, project management
  3. 3. A New Kind of Library• Build a vision of a new kind of library• Be more involved with research and learning materials and systems• Be more engaged with campus communities• Make library collections, services, and librarians more visible in university communities of practice• Move to next generation systems and services The library in the community (in virtual and physical space)
  4. 4. What I’m learning (and relearning) If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the Photo by Martin Biskoping. CC-BY-NC-ND foundations under them. --Thoreau, Walden
  5. 5. Outline• What is transformational change and why is it important?• What are the necessary conditions for a transformational change to succeed?• The challenges of the change cycle and what to expect• Discussion
  6. 6. Viable solutions: Muddling through,transitioning, or transforming? Two key assumptions: “Institutions of higher education will experience a significant, long-term loss of budget and purchasing power over the foreseeable future … Continuing to “muddle through” … is not a viable long-term strategy.” PS: Not just budget issues; relevance issues
  7. 7. Discontinuous change and the need fortransformational thinking [We have entered] “an era of discontinuous change in research libraries—a time when the cumulated assets of the past do not guarantee future success …” p. 5
  8. 8. The nature of transformational change• Change from a collections-centered to user- centered service model (a change in what drives the library)• Change from hierarchical to distributed authority structures• Major changes in how work is done and who does it (e.g, low tech to hi tech; self- sufficiency to partnerships; etc.) Adapted from ideas in Beckhard, Richard. 2003. A model for the executive management of transformational change. In Pfeiffer book of successful leadership development tools (San Francisco: Pfeiffer), p. 83-96.
  9. 9. Conditions for transformational change tosucceed (a partial list adapted from Beckhard)• Committed leadership• Free flow of information throughout the organization• Conditions that preclude maintenance of the status quo (urgency of the problem)• Critical mass of support among stakeholders• Understanding and honoring resistance• Commitment to education/retraining• Willingness to commit resources
  10. 10. Change leadership: a necessary newcompetency Coping with Change Change Model  Continuous flow of information • Defining the problem  Understand stages of change The present • Conveying urgency • Assessing readiness  Honor resistance, loss and grief state  Acknowledge the value • Evolution from present to of what was future state  Create transitional roles The transitional state • When changing takes place  Explain new roles and expectations (many many • Vision, strategy times!) • Defining the solution The future state  Recognize it will take time
  11. 11. “It’s not the changes that do you in, it’sthe transitions” –William Bridges The three phases of transitionChange = something in theexternal environment changes(e.g., a new library director is hired;a new system is being introduced;a reorganization occurs; newprocedures or policies areplanned)Transition = an internalreorientation process to a change It is critical to manage transitions inclusively by engaging staff in the process. Bridges, William. 1991. Managing transitions: making the most of change. Reading, Mass: Addison-Wesley.
  12. 12. Bridges’ Three Phases of Transition Expect: Renewal, integration Expect: Chaos, confusion, uncertaintyExpect: Fear, anger, shock,anxiety, blame, resistance, resentment, skepticism
  13. 13. EndingsWhat we call the beginning is often the endAnd to make an end is to make a beginningThe end is where we start from --T.S. Eliot
  14. 14. More from Bridges• People don’t resist the change; they resist the transition, particularly its losses and endings.• “Before you can begin something new, you have to end what used to be. Before you can learn a new way of doing things, you have to unlearn the old way.”
  15. 15. 15W. Edwards Deming"It is not enough to do your best; you mustknow what to do, and then do your best." The Deming circle. Image: CC BY 3.0 Diagram by Karn G. Bulsuk (
  16. 16. A Blueprint for Change: Innovation, Engagement, Assessment, and Annual Life Cycle Management Exit this service Evaluate and Plan Innovate, renew, or maintain this service Ongoing Build or assessment Manage, Distribute Design and enhance Engage, and Ongoing and Promote Collaborate Develop outreach and validatecommunications (test) Implement and Introduce
  17. 17. Committing to a sharedplanning, design andimplementation process
  18. 18. Getting things done without “power” -- adifferent kind of leadership“Oh, you always have power, if you just know where to find it.There is the power of inclusion, and the power of language,and the power of shared interests, and the power of coalition.Power is all around you to draw upon …”--Frances Hesselbein, CEO of the Girl Scouts of the USA,as quoted by Jim Collins in Good to Great and the Social Sectors.
  19. 19. ksc34@pitt.eduThank You! Photo by Horace Spatula CC-BY-ND