Critical Engagement — Library District

Back to Critical Engagements

In 1998, our firm was retained as the Managing Agent for the local Library District, which had been experiencing an enormous amount of organizational turmoil. Our task was to stabilize the District and help it recruit and hire a permanent Executive Director. One of CLARITY's Senior Consultants was engaged to be the Project Manager, essentially acting as the Interim Director of the District, and another of our CLARITY consultants was engaged to serve as deputy director. Our contract was for a six-month engagement, with a provision for extending it month-to-month, until a new Executive Director actually came aboard. We were in place for a total of eight months.

We were faced with a number of issues needing resolution, including:

  • a workforce with very low morale that was in the process of unionizing
  • excessive upper management layering
  • negative daily media publicity
  • Trustees who had involved themselves in operations
  • the necessity of finding a permanent Director

By the end of our tenure by all accounts, the District had stabilized. We had succeeded in attracting a group of 3 nationally known and respected library professionals, one of whom was chosen by the Board of Trustees as the permanent Executive Director. Open conflict between Trustees and members of the District staff had ended. A mutually acceptable agreement with the union had been forged. A new budgeting-by-department process was well underway. Finally, and most telling, there had been no negative newspaper or television stories about the Library District for more than 150 days.