Tuesday, February 07, 2006

"Death by Risk Aversion"

Today's title comes courtesy of a longish post from Creating Passionate Users blogger Kathy Sierra. Kathy's posts often have funny and enlightening pictures associated with them to go along with the thought-provoking comments, and this one is no exception. And there's some words we don't use here at IAG but I trust you'll get over the shock.

I plan on using today's graphics in presentations (with full credit to CPU) One of the graphics illustrates very well a phenomenon highlighted in our Perceptions report by this question.

Is the information you get from library sources more or less trustworthy compared to the information you can get from search engines? 69% of respondents felt libraries and search engines provide the same level of trustworthiness. Same is bad...the "Zone of Mediocrity" as Sierra calls it and suggests that risk aversion lands companies and organizations in the Zone.

(graphic from Creating Passionate Users, January 30, 2006)

That would apply to libraries. Oh, and OCLC too. But we're in august company. "Sure the big companies have it bad and may fall the hardest if they don't get a clue and a cure, but none of us is immune. You see the safe path everywhere."

And the leaf people among us will appreciate this: "In other words, the leaf node/individual contributors often think about the effect of their work on users, while the mid-level managers often think about the effect of their work on their job. And whose fault is that? All those layers of bosses. Even one risk-averse boss in the chain-of-command can do major damage to innovation, spirit, motivation, etc."

(graphic from Creating Passionate Users, January 30, 2006.)

Creating Passionate Users advice:

  • Regularly review your sacred cows
  • Regularly review the assumptions behind all your decisions
  • Practice LETTING GO
  • Push the boundaries strategically, one-by-one
  • Use blogs to build support within the company
  • If all else fails and the culture of risk-aversion is stealing your soul, consider going into "short-timer" mode
  • Keep reminding yourself that life is short!

And perhaps the management at this woman's library needs to get a copy of CPU's post.

No comments: