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Strategic thinking is about identifying and seizing opportunities to make a difference. Even the most efficient operations and the most dedicated staff aren't enough to ensure success - in addition to doing the job right, you have to do the right job!

No matter what position you currently hold, it can pay to think strategically. Strategic thinking can help you develop successful programs and services, attract funding and political support, and get people on board with your ideas and proposals.

In this course you will learn how to

  • tap into the goals and priorities of your boss, your colleagues, and your community
  • build relationships with key players beyond your immediate work environment, and
  • choose the ideas and programs that are most likely to move you and your library forward.

Strategic thinking is especially important in uncertain fiscal times. When you understand how to align your ideas with the larger context in which you operate, you can leverage even limited resources to make yourself, your team, and your library indispensable.

Workshop Description: In this all-day course you will learn specific, step-by-step techniques for selecting, developing and presenting effective library strategies. Through individual and group exercises you will practice translating information about local conditions into opportunities to increase the impact of your work group or your library. The instructors will provide real world examples, cheat sheets, and a list of recommended resources, as well as practical, useful tips that can be applied immediately.

Note: This course emphasizes day-to-day strategic thinking, rather than the development of a comprehensive strategic plan document. The instructors will focus primarily on identifying, choosing, and articulating strategic opportunities, not on the creation of specific planning objectives. Strategic thinking is a useful skill in strategic planning, but the two are not synonymous.

Preliminary Course Outline

  • Leadership and Strategic Thinking
    • Why think strategically?
    • Strategies vs. tactics vs. operations
  • The Library in Context
    • The F.A.S.T. approach to strategy development
    • Community segments and stakeholders
    • Other providers who share your audience
  • "The Vision Thing"
    • Focusing on the big picture
    • Leveraging your library's assets
    • Strategic positioning - five approaches that work
  • Moving Ahead
    • Identifying strategic opportunities
    • Communicating your strategy
    • Avoiding/overcoming resistance
    • Developing and maintaining strategic relationships

Workshop Instructor: Joan Frye William and George Needham