Thursday, August 9, 2007

Change or Die

Pam Sandlian-Smith referred to Change or Die: the three keys to change at work and in life by Alan Deutschman (Los Angeles : Regan, c2007) in her talk at ALA on transformation of staff, so I decided to read it. Why won't people make changes when their lives are at risk? For example, why do most heart attack survivors not make permanent lifestyle changes to insure a longer life? Deutschman believes it is because death is too hard to think about, so it is pushed aside. Doctors don't create relationships with patients that will help the patient reframe how they live to make change viable. Deutschman uses three scenarios to explain the three keys he sees as essential to making lasting change: heart patients, Delaney Street ex-convicts, and Toyota Corporation.

The three keys to change:
  1. Relate. Relationship building and community can restore hope to a hopeless situtation. Mentors, partners, or leaders can make you believe you have the ability to change and encourage you to do it.
  2. Repeat. You need to learn and practice new skills over time.
  3. Reframe. The new relationships will help you look at yourself differently.

In conclusion, Deutschman states that instead of thinking about change as change or die, think about change as change and thrive. In working with staff, I see that this idea can be essential to changing a mindset about trying new services. Change can be positive. A good leader will build goodwill and give staff ownership of their work, giving them the latitude to try new programs or services. As the staff becomes more confident that they will not be undermined, the library will evolve (change). Sandlian-Smith's library has evolved in the past decade from a rules-oriented, underutilized public library to a vibrant community center.