This weeks readings are on the subject of strategic planning and the importance of planning within the library. The texts vary in length and of course the longer the text the more detail that is given. However, the shorter text by Mott gives us the key strategies to to follow before making a plan and compliment the other two texts. All three texts outline the importance of not drawing out the planing process and to work collaboratively with clients as well as staff.
I think the planning process becomes more transparent when everyone has the opportunity to give their opinion during the draft stages as in the paper by Elizabeth Stephan. Client feedback is essential in providing a high quality service and by giving clients and staff who are not part of the committee a chance to be involved gives everyone a greater sense of ownership and more motivation to implement these plans.
It is important for planners to state a clear mission and vision during the early stages of the planning process so that they have a clearer focus. Once there is a clear focus it is much easier for the planners to work more efficiently. Stephen also mentioned that her library had previously made 10 year strategic plans that took a long time to develop and where not practical to implement when finished. This supports Mott Linn’s call for strategic plans to be made over a short period of time when the library has a vast majority of the information needed to make a decision. He also used an analogy of Colin Powell’s decision making process to highlight this point but due to my own political opinion and views on war I don’t agree with Powell but I can see how it is an effective strategy for management of other resources. The major disadvantage of a detailed strategic plan is that they take so much time to plan that they can easily be outdated by the time they are finished as libraries are not static environments. It also highlights the point that Holt made about the cost of all these long meetings that don’t benefit the library in the long run.
It is very important to have a strategic plan as it gives staff a clear goal to work towards but having a more informal and brief planning process means that the library can adapt more easily to changes in the environment and resources that might occur during that plan. It should also allow for reflection on the process and on the implementation to help measure the effectiveness of the plan on a regular basis and make adjustments where needed. Including clients in the planning and implementation of a strategic plan and making the final plan accessible helps cement strong links with its users and thus help the staff succeed in achieving its mission and vision.
Fairholm, M. R. (2009). Leadership and Organizational Strategy. Innovation Journal, 14(1), 1-16.
Holt (2002). God – and the devil – are in the details. The Bottom Line, 15(4), 174-175. Retrieved September 9, 2011, from ABI/INFORM Global. (Document ID: 274375901)
Mott, L. (2008). Planning strategically and strategic planning. [DOI: 10.1108/08880450810875738]. Bottom Line: Managing Library Finances, The, 21(1), 20-23.
Stephan, E., 2010. Strategic Planning on the Fast Track”, Library Leadership and Management, 24(4): 189-198.