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By Kevin Stehr, Vice President, North American Sales
Libraries are in a dynamic environment – “transformation” is not just a goal but a mantra; it requires comfort with change. But how do we get there? We study it and navigate it in a way the produces the best results.
My team and I have had plenty of opportunities to search for the answer to “what drives change?” – digging into industry research and interviewing librarians and other educators. Ultimately, I became certified in Change Management by a professional organization, and my staff is getting certified to help our customers as well!
As we have learned, “the answer” comes in plural, not singular, form. It isn’t an event, but the result of a five-step process.
The Change Management solutions authority Prosci calls the process ADKAR (awareness, desire, knowledge, action, reinforcement).
- Pre-contemplation, a.k.a. awareness is often driven by recognized problems in the library. This is the stage where questions get asked: “What’s working and not working?” “Are others aware of these issues?” “If not, can I communicate them clearly?” “What are our options at this point?”
- Contemplation, or desire, points to the motivation to understand and participate in change management. Simply being aware of the need for change does not necessarily mean each individual has the desire to help make that change. (This is the point where people typically ask themselves, “what’s in it for me?”) Now is the time to understand whether members of your organization want change – and if not, why not. Engaging your team is key here as you gather feedback, educate and hold meaningful conversations.
- Preparation is tied to knowledge, which in this case points to the ability of the people involved to get involved in a transition now and be able to know how to evaluate its effectiveness in the future. Training materials, workshops, and other programs help stakeholders get a better grasp of the kind of change proposed, and their role in the transition.
- Action – pure action – happens when participants know what’s expected of them. They feel empowered not only in contributing to the transition themselves but also in helping others understand what is happening. Your partner vendor should be prepared to offer mentoring, coaching, support materials and other resources to boost skills and confidence.
- Finally, maintenance is the reinforcement phase where you measure the results, both qualitative and quantitative. That feedback helps you design corrective plans if needed – and celebrate the success otherwise!
ADKAR’s five steps moves the process from enablement to engagement, as change participants build upon each phase to establish a sense of ownership of the transition.
Of course, everyone responds to change in his or her own way, so “lockstep” enthusiasm or participation shouldn’t be expected at the outset. However, once the need for change is recognized, and once the pillars of the transition are clearly outlined, your library is in a stronger position to make a case for improvement.
ProQuest uses change to improve our products and services – and we offer proven Change Management techniques to deliver similar benefits to our customers. Is your library ready for a transition?
Coming soon: Fearing Change? That’s Natural.