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February 29, 2004

Final PLA Congrunt

Like a few hundred other folks, I attended Thursday's program on "dead wood in libraries." It was the only program I was able to go to--had I not been felled with a cold, I would have done a couple more on Friday, but such is life. At any rate, this was a great program. I'm so glad I work with live wires, not dead wood!


Characteristics of dead wood:

identity through their job

people who talk about The Good Old Days

I-deserve-this-job syndrome--entitlement

deserve to slack off

ease into day gently

got meaning from routines [My objection to this one: routine is very nice. Particularly in jobs with a lot of change, including self-induced change, it can be good to know that "the sun also rises."]

Strategies for dealing with dead wood

1. facing the problem directly

2. let dead wood stay on staff until retire/die

3. getting people to change--NOT a recommended strategy! Can take more time and energy than is worth the investment

Why people don't perform to standards

1. they don't realize there are standards
2. the reward is for not doing what they should do
3. no negative consequence
4. they think they are doing just fine
5. they think their way, not yours, is best
6. they have obstalces that limit their performance
7. they don't want to

All staff should have annual performance appraisals

Clearly state the performance standards

Explore solutions with the employee

Develop an improvement plan with actions and target dates

Downsizing and reorganization can be opportunities to resolve staffing problems

For union jobs, be very careful with what jobs are on the chopping block

Consider using coaching or counseling to help staff transition out of the job

Third-party intervention: broker a "peace agreement" so that both you and your dead wood walked out of the meeting with dignity intact. She did not see this done in libraries but saw it a lot in commercial settings. 20% of the time, employees agreed on the spot to leave; over time, more decided to leave

Posted by kgs at February 29, 2004 11:38 AM

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Tracked on October 24, 2004 04:13 AM


You just described every person with tenure!

Posted by: No One at March 2, 2004 04:11 AM