Monday, April 23, 2007

The Naked Library (or Radical Transparency for LJ): Tame the Web and Library Crunch

In a post, here and here, Michael Stephens of Tame the Web and Michael Casey from Library Crunch continue their quest for the transparent library. They have identified a national trend in management change toward a flat, open, or group based decision making instead of the autocratic ""I am the boss and we are doing it this way until we drive off the cliff" approach.

They ask the following questions:
"Some points to ponder:
What does it mean to be radically transparent? How closely tied to radical trust is it? Is secrecy dead? What reputation do you want your library to have?"

My response follows:

In many management training courses, they often refer to radical trust as the type of trust you give in which your life depended on the other person. (The example is when a Navy Seal gives it). Its pretty extreme and makes one very reluctant to be trusting if that is the angle to take.

I think the transparent manager has to be able to open the decision making to his or her staff and be able to handle criticism openly. Managers must remember that if they don't open up decision making, often the decision may not be followed.

I would like the library to be as open as possible. When a patron asks why we do a certain thing, or don't have a certain book, I should be able to explain why and be comfortable with showing the patrons the data in the decision-making. I have done this many times in letters to patrons (like why we lock the bathrooms), in open discussions with patrons, and in many other formats. I am ready for any challenge to the status quo and I am willing to change it. Some things I cannot change, but in those cases I need a good reason, as I have explained here. I would like to have the reputation of being open and transparent.

1 comment:

berry said...

Transparent managers know when to leave the decision making to their staff and when to lead from the front.