No Strategy is Perfect!


Rebecca and I deal a lot with strategy in our business and this article, Where are the Sinkholes in Your Strategy, from one of my favorites, Strategy + Business, really resonated with me. Here are some quotes, but do check out the entire article.

“My firm was once asked by a CEO to assess the strategy of his company, one of the world’s largest. He wanted to know if there were any holes that he and his board should address. I’ve always thought this showed great leadership and confidence. (Strategy is a lot like IQ for many people: to challenge their strategy is to question their intelligence.) It also revealed his keen awareness that no strategy is perfect.

We started by asking two questions:

1. What distinctive capabilities make the company better than any other at how it adds value to its individual businesses, and how those businesses meet their promises to customers?

2. Are changes happening in the company’s world that could render its distinctive capabilities obsolete or insufficient?”

Rebecca and I have written a lot about value and you can see most of our posts here. But the one thing we encourage our clients to think about is their impact on their clients’ clients — not those you see day to day, but the the clients of those people. It’s a great exercise as is scenario planning like question 2 above suggests. It means you have to be aware of your environment and spend some time looking at

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Books & Mortar: Library as Place Presentation


Jim Morgenstern & I are about to talk about facility planning at OLA’s Annual Institute on the Library as Place. Facility plans and provision standards are rarely talked about because they are not viewed as being nearly as much fun – or interesting – as architectural or interior designs. Yet space requirements will increasingly be questioned in the digital environment. More later!

Books & Mortar: Getting attention for facility plans from Rebecca Jones

Branding for Success: Lessons from the World Cup


Image courtesy of

I was just reading this fantastic article about Adidas’ use of social media during the World Cup. They sent a 40-person team to the games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

“So far, its strategies seem to be working – on Twitter, Adidas is the most mentioned brand, with more than 1.6 million tweets, retweets, and replies about it. Plus, its hashtag #allin is the most used brand hashtag right now, with about 570,000 mentions. On YouTube, it’s doubled its audience by adding 200,000 new subscribers since the World Cup began, and on Facebook, it now has another one million fans.”

Adidas put a lot of effort and planning into their social media campaign and there are a lot of lessons for other companies, associations and industries!

“Building a “Content Bible

A year before the World Cup ever kicked off, Adidas tapped a social media agency called We Are Social to gather content on 100 Adidas-sponsored players. The content includes about 1,000 images and 160 videos that can work with whatever happens during gameplay. By the time December rolled around, We Are Social had set up an hourly calendar for the 32-day World Cup, building content around the games.” And yes, the bottomline is “Reaching the right people with the right message at the right time” and “Being ready for moments and story options”.

Libraries have so many great stories, so much research that points to their positive community impact. But they have trouble speaking with

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Thinking Strategically: good organizationally & cognitively


“Our brains are wired to be inspired,” said Dr. Sandra Bond Chapman, founder and chief director of the Center for BrainHeath and Dee Wyly Distinguished University Chair at The University of Texas at Dallas. “One of the key differences in our studies from other interventional research aimed at improving cognitive abilities is that we did not focus on specific cognitive functions such as speed of processing, memory, or learning isolated new skills. Instead, the gist reasoning training program encouraged use of a common set of multi-dimensional thinking strategies to synthesize information.” Source: Science Daily’s feature article this week, Strategic thinking strengthens intellectual capacity.

Jane Dysart has known this for a long time. Now there’s research to prove it: our brains are wired to be inspired. Every conference program and workshop she puts together is about inspiring people. The research cited above not only confirms her conviction about inspiring thinking, it confirms that thinking strategically – “synthesizing information using multi-dimensional thinking” is not only imperative for librarians, information managers and knowledge professionals organizationally, but cognitively too. A bonus.

Strategic thinking, as Jeff Weiner of LinkedIN says in Fast Company (a journal I highly value), takes time — time we need to aggressively schedule and intentionally pursue.

“… you (will) require more time than ever before to just think: Think about what the company will look like in three to five years; think about the best way to improve an already popular product or address an unmet customer need; think about

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Tools for Measuring, Influencing & Planning


If you are in Victoria, BC on Wednesday May 28th, Moe Hosseini-Ara and I will be working with a group to use practical tools for measuring, influencing key stakeholders and for long-term or strategic planning. This is a pre-conference workshop for the CLA and BCLA conference – and registration includes breaks and lunch! It is always such a fulfilling experience to work with Moe. He is on secondment from his job as Director, Service Excellence, Markham Public Library and is currently Director of Culture, Culture Services, City of Markham. He brings a stakeholder perspective to the templates and approaches for determining and conveying appropriate strategies and measures. I bring the academic, corporate and government perspective to these approaches and tools. And Moe and I are doubly proud that Ulla de Stricker, who can’t join us because of prior commitments, has sent along her work for us to use with the group. No one influences like Ulla!

To register, contact Wendy Walton at CLA:

Below is one of the templates participants will be working with. Come join us!

Strategy, Influence & Measures: Practical Tools

Information professionals and all those in management roles in libraries use a range of technical tools in their daily activities with our customers. What tools, though, do we use with our stakeholders or decision-makers to move forward progressively – and successfully? This workshop covers the components of four practical, critical tools and invites participants from government, corporate, academic, public and non-profit sectors to discuss: 1.

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Bridging the Future with the Present


Great piece by Bruce Rosenstein on bridging the future with the present called, Leaders must Meet their Future Selves. It includes interesting research:

“In experiments with undergraduates, Hershfield discovered that students who were shown a digitally aged image of themselves allocated twice as much to their retirement accounts as those who didn’t see themselves as they aged. Hershfield says that “looking ahead in time and feeling a sense of connection to one’s future self can impact long-term financial decision-making, converting a consumer into a saver.” People with this “future self-continuity” also accumulate more assets than others, including owning their own homes and having bigger bank accounts.”

A tip for bridging the future with the present: Write “post-dated letter from your future self to your present self about specific achievements and successes in the future.”

“For leaders, it’s especially important to bridge the present and future. Leaders have to define the future not only for themselves but also for their organizations. Still, with the extraordinary demands and difficulties of each present day, it’s easy to let the urgency of today cause you to squander the opportunities of tomorrow.

Odds are, the success of your organization will depend on how well you figure out the future. Here are five strategies to help crystallize the future into the present moment and draw you closer to your future self.

See yourself as the leader you could become. Create your future in the here and now. Design a better tomorrow for others. Resist going only

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The Future of Libraries, Toronto &DC!


The Future of Libraries has been a topic of conversation for many years, but some of think there is a greater sense of urgency surrounding the topic these days. With the extremely fast evolution of technology, the scarcity of resources of all types including money, and the shifts in culture and society, our world is changing very quickly as are the expectations of our stakeholders and customers. Are libraries adapting, innovating, and changing at a fast pace too? Some are, most are not. We have started a Facebook page and LinkedIn group to talk about The Future of Libraries. We hope you will join us in the conversation.

In addition, Dysart & Jones is working with Ken Haycock & Associates to offer a new two day event at the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto, May 1st & 2nd, called The Future of Libraries: Do we Have 5 years to Live? A great line-up of speakers is being featured, so check it out here. We hope that lots of you will be able to join us in person for the conversation in Toronto, but if not, certainly join the conversation on LinkedIn and Facebook. See you there!

AND, if you are in the DC area, we are working with Information Today to offer a different but related two day event, The Future of Libraries Survival Summit which focuses on a number of tools for libraries to use as they face the future! It also includes one on one interviews and conversations

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Building the Future: Thinking, Planning, Doing


Rebecca and I do a fair amount of writing about critical thinking, thinking strategically, as well as all types of planning. Here’s what Rebecca wrote last year when we did a workshop at the SLA conference in San Diego, Strategic Thinking Takes Time. We have broadened that workshop to one we are calling, Building the Future: Thinking, Planning, Doing and will be offering it at a terrific venue (The Vancouver Club) with several other colleagues on June 6th in Vancouver prior to the SLA annual conference.

In addition to interactively talking and discussing thinking and planning, in this new one day workshop we will include some tips and examples of going beyond thinking and planning to implementing and doing. The full program is here. Hope you can join us. Register here.

Reframing Situations to Generate Solutions


Thanks to Catherine Steeves (University of Guelph), Catherine Davidson (York University) and Barb McDonald (Brock University) for an excellent session on Sense Making & Solving Problems: Leveraging the View “From the Balcony”. They talked about Olman’s work on Reframing Organizations – seminal work by Olman that they studied at Harvard Institute for Academic Librarians. Here’s my notes:

Leaders fail for 2 reasons:

they don’t take ppl with them and 2. look at the full situation – with the facts

Major schools of organization thought:

Structures HR Symbolic Political

Leaders need fluency in all 4, but the truth is that everyone has their own “natural tendency” frames – what comes most naturally to you; we all find it difficult to look at situations through different frames. Go to Link to complete the assess/identify your own frame: to determine your natural frame

Structure Frame: How do you know if structure is at the heart of the problem? Bolman’s advice – if the characters change & the plot remains the same, the structure is the problem.

HR frame: looks at the impact & implications for ppl & relationships

The Political frame: a metaphor for this frame is the jungle; the key resource everyone is vying for is power; the organization is formed thru coalitions that are marked by stark different in values, and this leads to conflict; conflict is seen as driving innovation and sparking new ideas; political leaders bargain & build relationships

Symbolic frame – it is the least written

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Creating Your Future


My colleagues at D&J and I have spent almost 30 years talking about the future, being future focused and planning for the future. Bruce Rosenstein‘s new book,Create Your Future the Peter Drucker Way: Developing& Applying a Forward Focused Mindset, encompasses so much of what we have be been talking about, teaching, and focusing on for almost 30 years! Well done Bruce, and thanks Peter Drucker! The book is full of wonderful Drucker quotes from his many publications, includes lots of references for further information, and has a summary and checklist of activities at the end of each chapter. Excellent.

I love the 10 elements of the future: Mindset, Uncertainty, Creation, Inevitability, Present Moment, Change, Reflection, Remove/Improve, Innovation/Entrepreneurship, Risk. You’ll have to read the book for more! The book is well written and I’m sure you will be engaged.

Speaking at the Rotman School of Business at the University of Toronto tonight, Bruce shared his thoughts of what put Drucker ahead of the pack: diversity — writing for many different publications, teaching, videos; powerful personal brand; global outlook and world view; remaining relevant. Drucker certainly had a consistent body of work and work that benefits others.

In our blog, we’ve posted numerous quotes from Drucker around leadership, but my best memory of Peter Drucker is his keynote speech in 2002 in Los Angeles at an SLA conference. He knew his audience of librarians and told them to look at what people were asking them and watch for the odd ball requests

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