If the question is left unaddressed, this would result in increasing dissatisfaction among customers and staff, and a possible loss of library patrons.
Another strategic issues is the shift to the central purchasing of books. This policy entailed the decision to move the book buying capability to the Service Center in order to implement the goal of a more in-depth and sophisticated level of collections. This was implemented without consulting with the branch managers, who were directly affected by the decision. From the viewpoint of patrons, this new policy would indeed create a better selection of materials to better serve their needs by means of greater diversity and avoiding duplication. However, this created a large amount of resentment among librarians, who regarded this duty as one of their favorite responsibilities that directly utilized their skills as librarians.
If left unaddressed, this issue could severely impact the job satisfaction of librarians, which could in turn lead to a loss of valuable personnel.
A third strategic issue relates to the technology revolution. As mentioned above, this created the opportunity to streamline many of the library's functions by means of system automation. When implemented, both staff and patrons were impressed by the new and more efficient systems created. Patrons enjoyed the computer systems, which provided faster service, while librarians enjoyed the more efficient systems. However, the communication issue again proved to be a challenging strategic issue.
Changes would, for example, be made without much advance notice to the branch personnel involved. Furthermore, no input was requested from line staff working directly with training the public in the use of the new systems. Such changes often occurred overnight, creating great confusion for both staff and the public. This created a negative image of the service among patrons, while the staff working with the systems experienced a high level of frustration.
If left unaddressed, this issue could result in a perpetually negative image of the library and its staff members among patrons. In addition, staff members experience a lack of job satisfaction. Ultimately, this could lead to a loss of both staff and patrons to the library.
For Bill Ptacek, the main mandate was to make the long-range plan his top priority. His first strategic decision was therefore to not change the current structure of senior management or the way in which changes were implemented and communicated. At the same time, however, his mandate was to serve the ultimate goal of providing the highest caliber of service to patrons. In its current form, these two goals are incompatible and would therefore need to see substantial changes in order to become more compatible.
Rather than ignoring the need for change in the structure and communication policies of the organization's leadership, Ptacek should therefore recognize that excellence of customer service and personnel interaction are inextricably linked. Customers cannot be served effectively with the current decision-making and communication structure, as can be clearly seen from the outlined strategic issues mentioned above.
Hence, it is proposed that a good alternative strategy might be to create an integrated plan to effect organizational culture changes in order to serve the goal of customer satisfaction. The rationale behind this is that customers are best served by personnel who are continually part of the organization's decision-making and change policy. Consulting with staff members by a truly two-way communication process will not only remove the burden of sole decision-making from top management, but will also serve customers better and make personnel feel that they are truly part of a system that focuses on customer service rather than keeping top management in their powerful positions.
In the light of the above, a vision for success for the company might be described in brief as follows: It is the vision of KCLS that a two-way communication strategy among its leadership and staff will focus upon optimal customer service by means of providing the highest excellence of service that the expertise of its staff can provide.
Clearly, there are still some significant barriers to change for the library. These can be effectively handled by concentrating on the stages in the change process. Stages 1-3 have been successfully implemented. Now, the manager's task is to focus on Stages 4 and 5: Communicating the Change Vision and Empowering Broad-Based Action. Stage 4 then entails constant communication among management personnel and staff; something that is not currently the case at the library. Management personnel should work much more closely with personnel in order to communicate the change vision and also to model the behavior they expect of employees. This will require some major shifts in management style, but it is a shift that is mandatory for the success of the company.
Finally, Stage 5 requires that obstacles to change be removed. The most important way to do this is to create a better relationship among staff and management, which can be taken further by changing the structures that undermine the change process. Quite clearly, things cannot continue as they have. The management structure no longer serves the library's or its patron's needs. Therefore, both management and staff should be encouraged to consider non-traditional ideas and strategies…