I collaborated with Jennifer Fenton, formerly of the Washington State Library, to offer sessions on Embracing Change. We first did this as part of the Innovative Leadership Bootcamp preconference at the Washington Library Association Conference in April 2015. Next, we offered “Embracing Change When it’s Happening to You!” as a session at the Pacific Northwest Library Association Conference in August 2015.
Because we used Liberating Structures for the majority of the activities, each session was slightly different. Even when we use the same structures, same questions and topic, and same facilitators, something different emerges each time. The nice thing about Liberating Structures is they have built-in flexibility to allow for emergence and addressing whatever is alive in the room at the time without going too far afield.
In our first session, at the WLA preconference, a repeating theme came up around communication [of change]. Other common themes were influenced by the other sessions of the day and allowed the participants to further process what they had learned earlier in the day.
In our next session, at the PNLA conference, one of the common themes for the day seemed to be around relationships. This showed up in responses such as “teaming and partnership,” “bonding through challenges,” “helping others to change their attitude/perspective,” and one of the difficulties with change they mentioned, “staffing changes can be difficult, you not only have training of new staff but also starting over on developing relationships.”
If participants of these two sessions can be thought to represent a larger audience of people, such as a multitude of library staff dealing with change in libraries throughout the world, it would appear that communication and relationships are vital components to consider when making a change.