When organizations combine there are inevitably uncertainties for all involved – staff, management, customers, members, partners, affiliates, and friends. During the weeks leading up to the July 1, RLG OCLC combination, we spent time, lots of it, “pooling our uncertainties”, as Lorcan Dempsey so aptly put it.
Let me give you one example of how two cultures are really not as far apart as first it seemed. The week before the American Library Association meeting in New Orleans this past June, we had many discussions about what to do with the two booths. While too early to blend the two we decided to keep our respective sites in the exhibition hall. In fact this turned out to be a good thing. Lots of customers, members, partners, affiliates and friends stopped by the RLG booth to tell us about their uncertainties and to hear about ours.
Fast forward to the Society of American Archivists meeting in Washington DC earlier this month. In this case, we decided it was appropriate to have only the one, blended booth, an opportunity to work side by side with new colleagues and tell our combined stories. Prior to the meeting however I was asked to help select an image that represented RLG Programs, an image that would blend with and complement the OCLC images.
Here is what I suggested might serve as a representative image of what we are all about:
This was rejected in favor of a stock photograph of some people meeting together.
Fast forward to our first all staff meeting in Dublin, Ohio in the middle of August. RLG Programs staff spent two days working with our colleagues in the OCLC Office of Research, looking for ideas on how to combine our future agenda.
Imagine my surprise when at the end of the two days of meeting, we were given new coffee mugs with this image:
So we are on our way to clarity with some shared vision of our future.
More certainty to follow so watch this space.