Take the Start/Stop Poll: What Did You Start or Stop in 2013?

Submitted by Jean O’Grady, Library Director at DLA Piper

The Poll: Please take the brief (10 question) Start/Stop 2013/2014 Poll

I am a big believer in new beginnings. The dawn of a New Year always provides a good excuse to hit the “pause button” and reassess my trajectory both personally and professionally. I started 2014 with a good omen – being bumped up to first class on my first flight of the year. I will add it to my “good luck” inventory of the year – a list which I consult in those inevitable moments of psychic whiplash.

Knowing When to Stop. I am a big fan of Jim Collins author of the business classic “Good to Great.”


He counsels that deciding what to STOP doing is as important as the projects which we START. It is so easy to continue doing things – because we have always done them. But managing change involves risk. You may take some heat when you stop or radically alter a service… it’s part of the job.

Decades ago I took one bold leap into the future. I decided to stop sending law reviews to the bindery. It was after most current law reviews were on Lexis and Westlaw but before the full archives and images appeared in HeinOnline. I could no longer in good conscience spend the firm’s money and staff time on this legacy ritual that was creating gilded buckram volumes destined for the dumpster within a few years. OK I can hear the snickers – what’s the big deal? Well I was at a rather …”scholarly/nerdy” law firm at the time – lawyers even wanted us to bind their private sets of law reviews from their alma mater… so my decision did raise some eyebrows. I was later reviled for suggesting that we should stop delivering the daily newspapers to every lawyers office (redundant, inefficient, not green.)

shepards volumes

I was pilloried for suggesting that the associates no longer looked at Shepard’s in print – a notion which I tested by putting rubber bands around all the volumes – to prove that this work had all moved online. But to the partners Shepard’s Citator volumes were so iconic that practicing law without these books was unthinkable. So we also have the unenviable task of building consensus around our changes. Luckily the “Great Recession” has had a remarkable impact on making lawyers more amenable to change, especially if you can show them the dollar signs. But there is no question you need to choose your battles, prepare carefully and assess the impact on lawyers – your clients when you introduce change.

Deliver More Value. The speed with which old processes and assumptions become obsolete is accelerating. We can only deliver more value by eliminating or streamlining the routine, the redundant and the unexamined.

The Wisdom of Colleagues. In the spirit of collecting the wisdom of colleagues, I thought it would be interesting to do a poll on what we started or stopped in 2013 and on what we plan to start or stop in 2014. What products did we stop using? what new ones will we adopt in 2014?

The Poll: Please take the brief (10 question) Start/Stop 2013/2014 Poll

The Survey will remain open until January 15th and I will report on the results. Thanks in advance to all participants.

2 thoughts on “Take the Start/Stop Poll: What Did You Start or Stop in 2013?

  1. in my very first library job, there was a card catalogue (it was 1970) with a red velvet ribbon round. It contained the results of a “very important” and time-consuming research project. They were going to cut the ribbon if anyone ever used the catalogue (i.e. used the results of the research). It was a very dusty ribbon — and a very good lesson to me.

  2. Good reminder; just in time for annual assessment preparation. We often forget to note that we have moved forward by ending a project/service. Especially important because the process of ending often takes more time to justify and carry out than implementing a new project.

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