Monday, March 9, 2009

Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans

Another concept I’ve been able to become more familiar with during this assignment is that of scenario planning and strategic planning. Strategic planning, according to Steve Connor, et al, in Steering a Future Through Scenarios: Into the Academic Library of the Future, “is a process to order the available resources to ensure an effective execution of plans for the coming year or period. Scenario planning challenges and questions the bases on which the logic of the existing operations are based. It is a technique which enables participants in the process to grasp new and previously unexplored options.”

The article discusses a library in Hong Kong employing the technique, upon a librarian’s retirement, to plan for their future. I can relate, as I was hired to replace two retiring “librarians”. What I did not have was much of a chance to plan before they left. Still, I have been able to execute scenario planning as I go. As I discover “the way things were” in my library, I can judge how well it worked, and whether it needs to be modified or replaced with a different method entirely. Once I know what needs to be changed, I can use strategic planning to execute that change. I hadn’t realized the difference before.

What the library in Hong Kong did that I didn’t was more heavily involve the stakeholders of the library in their planning. As I discussed earlier, I have used what I have learned from the teachers, my patrons, and I have run ideas by various mentors and my boss, but very little of the actual planning and its execution has been done by anyone but me. In the end, that’s actually okay, because I know what I’m doing will work. My boss hasn’t stopped me yet, and just about every idea I run past someone is met with approval, which reminds that I really do know what I am doing and others trust me to do it. I may not face formal reviews or a lot of meetings to get official validation for my methods, but trusting me to do my thing is good enough. I know I and what I am doing are appreciated, even if I’m only told so informally.

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