Read to Lead discussion

Week 2 Chapter 2- The Human Factor

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message 1: by Brandy (last edited Jun 15, 2016 12:58PM) (new)

Brandy | 14 comments Mod
Hello! Welcome to week two of Read to Lead! Keep those comments coming, the discussion is going well.

Here are your discussion question for Week 2 -Feel free to respond to this question or one of the other "thinking exercises" at the end of chapter two.

1. Think of some times when you disagreed with a suggestion or decision made in your organization. How did this impact you emotionally? Did your emotions vary depending on who the suggestion or decision came from? How did you move forward in each case?

message 2: by Mark, The Challenge of Library Management (new)

Mark | 4 comments Mod
I guess it's difficult to avoid feeling angry or even hurt when you're on the unpopular or losing end of a decision or discussion. This is especially true if those colleagues you identify with and respect most are on the other side. But I would always try to understand anyone's perspective, regardless of who they are - even the dull and ignorant - and know that reasonable people can, and do, disagree. I think compartmentalizing the issue and wrapping it up in a nice bow is a good strategy for moving on. Just let it go......

message 3: by Dale (new)

Dale Cousins | 3 comments I know Brandy thinks I forgot! I am just on "retirement" time... But I am interested in this discussion and in the book. I found the section of chapter two regarding the reasons managers assume employees are anti change to be fascinating. Which of these assumptions ring true in your experience with both attempting to institute change and in your own reaction to being presented with change(s)?

Also, what do you think of the statement, "Top level managers see change as a way to align operations with strategy."?

Look forward to your thoughts and then on to chapter three!

message 4: by Judy (new)

Judy | 3 comments Responding to Brandy and Mark: This question addresses the main reason I decided to read the book. Like many others, I work in a large system, but I work in a small library that is often peripheral to many of the initiatives and decisions that push this successful organization. As a result, I often experience a change after the discussion and decision making is over. Having worked in other environments more central to the library system, I can usually understand the rationale and can positively present it to my staff. Recently, however, two decisions took me by surprise and promised to affect my users and staff a great deal. I was surprised by my emotional response to the announcements and a tendency toward cynicism when I needed to communicate the information with my staff.

The first change was presented to me when the ink was dry and the paper bound. Because I found myself struggling so much with this change, I reached out to someone more central to the decision makers and simply asked for an ear. I was invited to share my reactions and feedback and, although none of the decision makers responded to me personally, just having a place to breathe out my thoughts allowed me to get past my emotional barrier and move on. The second decision came shortly after the first and, feeling somewhat bruised and alienated, I was anxious about experiencing emotional turmoil again. However I tolerated this change more easily: I heard about it months before it was implemented, and all managers were asked for data input. The rationale for the change was shared, and although there might be pain in the implementation, I am excited to move forward positively, to represent the system in a positive way to my staff, and to experience good results.

The lesson I take from my journey is the value of not being blindsided; the value of having a voice; and even if my opinion is not the majority or that of the decision makers, the value of having a safe place to express my concerns to lessen the distress of implementing difficult change.

Now on to Dale's question...

message 5: by Mark, The Challenge of Library Management (new)

Mark | 4 comments Mod
Judy, so true. Communication from the beginning and throughout the lifespan of a decision is so important. No one likes being blindsided, yet if everyone is informed and encouraged to provide feedback almost any decision is palatable. Reasonable people can disagree.

message 6: by Helen (last edited Jun 25, 2016 08:20AM) (new)

Helen | 2 comments I work in a library system that has recently gone through restructuring in almost every facet of library operations and service. Because some changes had to be implemented quickly (due to huge budget cuts), staff (and even middle management, in some cases) were not involved in the decision making process. These initial changes made me feel alienated, disappointed, and disconnected from my own work. There was a lot of resistance to the changes and resentment among employees, at first, and trust with upper management was completely broken.

Then upper management instituted a schedule of regular information meetings with all permanent staff at every level of the organization. This made all the difference for me. Once communication flowed easily (at first only from the top down, but increasingly over time in the other direction, as well) I developed a general understanding of the organization's strategic plan, and became more comfortable with the reasons behind the change. As Mark says, communication is so important--from inception to implementation of a decision.

One thing I think really helps staff accept initiatives developed without their input is a willingness of middle management to hear staff concerns about the plan and acknowledge their own doubts. Just saying, "I too have concerns. Let's try it out, and see what happens," and "I want your feedback on how this project/change is working" really helps staff to accept change and feel valued, even when they have not provided input during the development phase. As Judy said, just having the opportunity to voice your concerns helps you get past the "emotional barrier" to change.

message 7: by Judy (new)

Judy | 3 comments I really like Helen's script, "I too have concerns. Let's try it out and see what happens." Feels like comradery, which makes going forward so much more fun. (Change can be fun, right?)

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