Most people assume that strategic planning involves strategic thinking. Oh…..if only that was true. Unfortunately most organizations view strategic planning as a way to answer the question, “how do we keep doing what we’re doing better – or more effectively – or with higher value?” Too few engage in any strategic thinking. Why? Because strategic thinking is scary….and difficult. To “think” strategically an organization must:
- Look beyond environment or market it usually looks at – beyond the borders of its profession or industry for signals of what’s impacting other professions and other industries and other markets….that will send waves up onto the organization’s beach
- Reframe current assumptions, beliefs, mindsets & situations – and is there anything more difficult than asking if your current and long-held beliefs hold true?
- Analyze information & data from multiple sources to identify patterns & interpretations
- Use this information to decide what is valid, what isn’t valid… and, what they must continue to do and not do
- Determine trade-offs and alliances that will move decisions forward; that’s right – trade-offs; what the organization will hold to and what it can bend on
- Learn – constantly listening & looking for the good, the bad and the downright ugly – & incorporate what they find into approaches, services & decisions
This is hard work and requires diligence and exercise. An organization doesn’t learn to think strategically overnight.
You can imagine, then, the pains in my stomach when I’m asked to lead a large group of 175 people through a strategic thinking exercise at 8:00 a.m. for 90 minutes. However, 90 minutes is a starting point – and time enough for people to look at the big, broad environment, and to begin to question its assumptions and mindsets. Last week that’s just what SLA’s Leadership Summit did. We began by watching the 2014 Did You Know, and then worked through these slides:
Dr. James Calvin of Carey Business School @ Johns Hopkins University spoke @ the SLA Leadership Summit on Friday afternoon. on Exercising Leadership Influence for an Empowering Culture in Organizations: Outreach Empowerment. Having just returned 2 days ago from Lima, Peru he remarked on Lima’s incredible size and how farmers come to the huge metropolis for livelihood. Two plans have been developed to engage these people in moving forward; an organization has been recognized as an NGO; 8 organizations have spawned another 8 organizations, with a trimestrial meeting to begin building soft skills such as leadership. Leadership takes time, passion and work.
A Peruvian cancer society serves the poorest children with cancer; their goal is to expand their capacity — they started by serving 70 kids/year, and are building a facility to serve 200 kids/year. They keep their eye on the ball and on their goal. Leadership is about real people, about where they are, and where they want to go.
Leaders are responsible for setting and maintaining progress towards objectives – and building and managing teams that are collaborative and globally diverse to attain results and unleash talent & ideas.
Edgar Schein – identifies 3 levels of culture : artifacts (visible), espoused beliefs and values(may appear through surveys) and basic underlying assumptions (unconscious taken for granted beliefs and values : these are not visible). The latest being the more important since as Schein puts it “Human minds needs cognitive stability and any challenge of a basic assumption will release anxiety and defensiveness”. Many change programs fails for that very reason.
Geer Hostede – Hofstede’s research shows that organisational cultures differ mainly at the level of practices. These are more superficial and more easily learned and unlearned than values forming the core of national cultures. As a consequence, the Hofstede dimensions of national cultures cannot be used by comparing cultures of organisations within the same country. The two models describe different layers of our reality.
In Academy of Business Research September 2014, Calvin proposes five connected dimensions of leadership: Demonstrated purpose, presents ideas and vision, ability to navigate complexity, consistency of path, and future view for managing change.
Adam Grant’s “Give & Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success”, he says “You see fundamental differences in their worldview. Takers basically tend to assume that everybody is all about me — that life is nasty, brutish, and short.
That’s how most takers justify being a taker. They don’t mean to screw you over necessarily. But they think that because everybody else at their core is a taker, then they’re going to end up getting stepped on if they’re not a taker, too . Oftentimes, they can point out personal experiences that solidify that worldview.
Givers, on the other hand, are more socially optimistic. Not necessarily optimistic in general, but an optimist when it comes to what people are capable of. They say, “Look, there is some good in everyone. People are capable of altruism even though it’s extremely rare, but they will often act for the benefit of others without thinking in the moment about what’s going to come out of it for me.”
Strategic planning relies on strategic thinking. To think strategically we need to explore beyond our common environment, the usual places we look and the usual way in which we look at. The “Did You Know” series of videos is an excellent tool to use at the beginning of any strategic or planning discussion. And it’s been updated! Have a look – and start your next staff discussion with it:
The new year is always a time to reflect and to plan ahead. 2014 was an exciting and interesting year of events for D&J and we’re looking forward to an equally wonderful year of learning, experiencing, and sharing in 2015! We hope to connect with many of you at these venues!
January brings the annual Ontario Library Association SuperConference where Dysart & Jones will again sponsor Contributed Papers and participate in a number of sessions:
Wed Jan 28 403C Business Models for Libraries: Rebecca Jones with Scott Hargrove (CEO for Fraser Valley Library System) & Moe Hosseini-Ara (Director of Culture for the City of Markham)
Thurs Jan 29 911 Conversations with New Pros: Jane Dysart with 5 new info pros
1111 Extreme Library Makeovers: Jane Dysart with Madeleine Lefebvre & Susan Downs
February has two new events.
The Future of Libraries: Do We Have 5 Yearas to Live? hosted by the University of California Center for Library Leadership & Management in Los Angeles on February 5th & 6th. Speakers include Susan Hildreth, Director, IMLS, Greg Lucas, State Librarian for California, Steve Denning, Author, Lee Rainie, Pew, Corinne Hill, Chattanooga PL, Joe Matthews, Consultant & lots of practitioners! Check out the program.
Future Tech Strategies for Libraries is the latest iSchool Symposium from the University of Toronto. Scheduled for February 19th & 20th, this symposium focuses on the technological challenges and trends coming down the pipe for libraries. What’s coming up that may not be on your radar?
- Are your technologies and tech strategies up-to-date?
- Are you adapting technology quickly enough? Are you studying Geo, beacons, LinkedData, discovery services, and more?
- Are our innovation cultures ready for the world of constantly changing technology and societal expectations?
- Are we ready for the community and learning focused tech that are emerging as game changers?
- Do you want to learn about technology innovation in libraries and discuss and explore opportunities with peers?
- What’s the next step in virtual community engagement?
If these questions interest you and your team, then this is the symposium helps you explore new ways to think about tech opportunities and trends as well as to address our future challenges. Check out the speakers including Marshall Breeding, David Lee King, Rebecca Jones, Daniel Lee, and more. The program schedule.
April is really exciting!
Computers in Libraries 2015 is celebrating it’s 30th anniversary in Washington DC on April 27th-29th and it is the 20th for D&J! The theme is Sync Up: Technology & Libraries for Community Success and is the essence of the CIL conference since it’s start as Small Computers in Libraries in 1985 when amusingly enough computers weren’t all that small! Keep your eye on our Twitter feed #CILDC and our Facebook page. The conference website has been updated for this event and the program is now online with the following keynotes:
Continuous Innovation & Transformation with Steve Denning, Author, The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management, The Leader’s Guide to Storytelling, & others
The new economy—the Creative Economy—is an economy of continuous innovation and transformation. It is an economy of organizations and entrepreneurs that are delivering to customers what they are coming to expect, namely, “better, faster, cheaper, smaller, lighter, more convenient, and more personalized.” The Creative Economy is still relatively small, but it is the economy of the future. It includes different ways of thinking, speaking, and acting in the world. Denning shares insights, strategies, and tips for libraries and their staff to continue innovating and transforming as they head into the future, creative economy!
Creating a New Nostalgia with David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States & John Palfrey, Head of School, Phillips Academy; President of the Board, Digital Public Library of America, author of Biblio TECH
Digital life is transforming the public’s expectations of libraries and archives. Is the internet making these institutions irrelevant? The “perfect storm” of reduced bud- gets, unprecedented increases in the amount and cost of information available, and the multiplicity of platforms at play call for new strategies for the future of libraries and archives. A lively glimpse into the crystal ball!
Technology & Libraries: Now & Into the Future with Mary Augusta Thomas, Deputy Director, Smithsonian Institution Libraries
As part of the Smithsonian libraries for more than 30 years, Thomas currently directs the operation of twenty libraries located in each of the Smithsonian’s museums and research institutes. In this talk, she reflects on the changes over those years and shares some of the future strategies for libraries.
And, co-located with Computers in Libraries 2015 is the Library Leaders Summit focused on Making an Impact & Proving Value — a topic most libraries are struggling with these days. Check out the experienced speakers and the full program and join an intimate group of your peers for great discussions and insights.
There are other events in the planning! The call for speakers for fall events should be live shortly:
Internet Librarian 2015, October 26-28 in Monterey CA with the theme Morph! Exploring New Roles & Directions for the Info Service Biz and again the Library Leaders Digital Strategy Summit will be co-located with this event. Watch the Twitter feed #InternetLibrarian and our Facebook page for more.
KMWorld 2015, November 2-5 in Washington DC encompases Taxonomy Boot Camp, Enterprise Search & Discovery as well as SharePoint Symposium. The theme of this year’s event is Agile Knowledge Sharing & Innovation. More details will be coming soon to our Twitter feed #KMWorld and our Facebook page.
We’re working on future U of T iSchool events for May 11-12, July 16-17 & October 19-20, so save those dates! And more events are planned for USC in LA (hopefully as soon as May!). The Future of Libraries series may again come to Toronto in September so stay tuned for that one too!
Have a great year in 2015 of learning and developing and we hope to see you at some of these events!
We in the library sector can always learn from other sectors, including banking. Banks have always needed to balance transactional and consulting services – just like libraries. And banks were early out of the gate in bringing in self-serve; at one point their pendulum had swung too far as they attempted to move everything to high-tech from high-touch. During the last couple of years they have been returning to a higher number of service associates “behind the counters”, plus a service point at which someone greets you and ensures you are headed in the right direction. Now the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) has introduced its WaterPark Place store in Toronto with great fanfare. Libraries need to have a look at the branch service model and layout, and see what we can learn, adopt or avoid. Have a look at this video, and at the Toronto Star story on Dec 15, 2014: “Forget the bank. Welcome to the store.”
Real Story Group Subway Graphic
For the ninth year in a row, my buddies at the Real Story Group have released ten predictions for the New Year.
- Connected Devices Will Become a More Ubiquitous Channel
- DAM Vendors Will Roll out DAM Lite
- Drupal Split Will Characterize WCM Market Bifurcation
- Marketing Virtual Data Warehouses Will Go Mainstream
- Enterprise Mobile: Apps Will Get Unbundled
- A SharePoint 2016 Yawn
- Hybrid ECM Will Come of Age
- HR Will Rejoin the Digital Workplace Conversation
- Enterprise Social – Hype around Unified Enterprise Messaging
- Digital Workplace Will Say “Hello” to Analytics and Big Data
“Innovation from the consumer world is affecting both the digital workplace and digital marketing landscape as newer, cloud-based products offer simple solutions to simpler problems” says RSG Managing Director, Jarrod Gingras. “But many enterprises still need highly customizable, data-rich platforms for needs like omni-channel marketing.”
“This dichotomy is roiling the Digital Asset Management (DAM) and Web Content & Experience Management (WCM) marketplaces, and creating growing tensions between marketing and IT teams,” adds Gingras.
Want to see their full report or predictions from earlier years? Here
And if you want to see a vendor map for this marketplace, go here!
Jane and Stephen are hosting the Symposium on “Building the Engaged Flat Army for the Library” tomorrow at the iSchool @ University of Toronto. I’m honoured to be talking about organization structures – and will miss Ken Haycock joining me. Next time Ken. The slides I’m using are below.
‘Flattening’ an organization isn’t so much about ‘pushing down’ as it is about ‘pulling up'; a large management team does, indeed, pulls ‘layers’ closer together. I’m not sure why some people equate a small management team with a flat organization — it is definitely more of a pyramid to me. The more people around decision-making tables, the more insights, the more communication, the more understanding. Hierarchy has its place. It identifies who’s responsible – and, most importantly, who is accountable for what. There’s nothing like clarity to allow everyone to see the full picture.
Does hierarchy always work? nope. Does any organization structure or design always work? nope. You can have the best intentioned organization design and yet have a total disaster. It can be flat as a pancake and still be non-collaborative with the worst collegiality you’ve ever seen. Why? Because organizations are about people working together towards a shared goal. That sounds rather motherhoody, but it is true. Organizations need people with different roles, and some of those roles are to make decisions that have broad implications, and to be accountable. If you want to call the people in those roles managers, that’s fine. And one thing those managers have to do is manage the relationships and the processes in between the boxes or circles on the organization design. And if people in the organization want those relationships and processes to work — if they all want to get to that common goal — then they will. A clear organization design does have columns. Those columns don’t have to be ‘silos’, and it is up to the managers to ensure that they DON’T become silos. Cross-functional are cross-communication are mandatory for all organization structures to be successful, no matter how flat, round or triangle.
The 18th Internet Librarian kicked off this morning with inspiring and insightful keynote speaker Brendan Howley who gave the audience a lot to think about as they drive their own destinies. A well traveled, trained investigative journalist and digital content strategist, Howley had lots of great tips for libraries about storytelling to share their value in their communities. Here are some quick quotes: “Where data meets story is where value is.” “Libraries are in the business of growing communities around them.” “Design stories with the end in mind; people will trust you and continue to share the story.” “Share the why of the how of what you do.” “Community members want to co-create value.” “Values, what you stand for, are important and are the why of how you win the attention of your community.” “Libraries are in the cultural context business; they are i the business of giving away context.” “Libraries are pegged to the cultural vibrancy of communities.” “Libraries are the cultural triggers that activate networks; networks share values and bridge people, build relationships.”
Brendan recommended the book, A Pattern Language, for libraries planning physical changes but also for UX and web interface folks. He talked about iBeacons which he thinks libraries will take advantage of a lot in the near future to help build open media ecosystems! Trusted open media ecosystems made up of local community news rooms. Exciting to think about!
Steve Denning is a wonderful, prolific writer and speaker. I was just reading his recent piece, Capitalism’s Future is Already Here, a Harvard Business Review blog post. A good read. Below is the part I think we really need to pay attention to:
“The other economy—the Creative Economy—is an economy of continuous innovation and transformation. This is the economy of firms and entrepreneurs that are delivering to customers what they are coming to expect, namely, “better, faster, cheaper, smaller, lighter, more convenient, and more personalized.” The Creative Economy is still relatively small but it is growing rapidly and, when implemented well, is highly profitable. It is the economy of the future. It doesn’t have to be invented: it’s already under way. Its practices represent a paradigm shift in the strict sense laid down by Thomas Kuhn: it’s a different way of thinking, speaking, and acting in the world.
The shift from the Traditional Economy to the Creative Economy isn’t just a technical wrangle about economics or management theory. It’s a shift in what society demands of the managers of its most powerful institutions: from narrow definitions of their owners and decisions that serve their short-term interests, to broad acceptance of the responsibility that comes with power and leadership concerned with what is best for society. In the shift, we are learning that an argument about the proper activities of managers can be logical, can be strongly argued, can influence decades of practice in the world’s largest corporations – and can still be plain, flat, dead wrong.”
Perfect timing for an event the University of Toronto iSchool is planning — Building an Engaged Flat Army for Libraries — which discusses building startup or entrepreneurial thinking, looks at new organizational structures for creating “continuous innovation and transformation” as Denning calls it, building competencies for the future, fostering collaborative cultures, sparking innovative cultures and practices, and lots more! Join the conversation on November 13-14 and get a jump on creating culture of continuous innovation & transformation.
If you missed CBC’s Peter Mansbridge with Ken Roberts discussing Canada’s public libraries in the digital environment, here it is: