Accelerated Planning: Not an Oxymoron

Rebecca Jones, a library consultant with Dysart & Associates, spoke about the steps she uses to guide libraries through their strategic planning processes. She lives by the “go fast planning” technique. Speedy planning is possible only with ample pre-work and pre-thinking. But if the initial work is done by all participating parties, planning committees should be able to move quickly through the process. She says that one of the challenges of any planning process is to balance inclusiveness with decisiveness, meaning that a variety of voices should be heard, but that at some point, tough choices must be made. Acknowledging that the plan will not please everyone.

I found it useful to attend this session outside of our Strategic Planning meetings because I was able to take a more objective view of our purpose. Jones talked about “Rules of Engagement” for the planning process that will be helpful for me: there are no martyrs, as we’re all busy people; there should be no hidden agendas; there is a common picture of the end product; I am honest about what I think during the meeting and not after. Jones is also a proponent of the 5 Goal limit. She believes that any strategic plan should only have 3-5 goals, because it’s hard to remember more than that and realistically even harder to do more than that and succeed. Finally, consider the resources (staffing & money) required to produce and deliver on your goals. What are the implications and consequences of (re)allocating staffing and dollars? What are you going to give up?

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