On a + note

#26 2010: Every battle is won before it is even fought

Posted in on a + note by kendal0 on August 9, 2010

“Every battle is won before it is even fought.”

Sun Tzu, the ancient Chinese sage and military strategist once said, “every battle is won before it is even fought.” I like this idea when thinking about leadership and planning. Mapping out a strategy before you make a decision or begin a journey is often the key to its success. Or, as my mother would say, “the devil is in the details.”

Specifically, I was thinking about this as I talked to a mid-sized public library board last week about how to develop a new strategic plan efficiently. They initially thought they wanted to hire a consultant to do the work, as they had done in the past. However, they quickly realized it was way too expensive for their ever-shrinking library budget. They also were concerned that a consultant may not “get” them and would just sell them a “cookie cutter” plan with all the buzz words. They were anxious that a consultant’s plan would not really move their library ahead and keep them relevant to the community they serve.

I was inclined to agree with them, and they have started on a very simple process to develop their next three-year strategic/business plan. Amazingly, within two hours, the Board and Library Director had decided what they wanted:

· Complete 2 measureable actions every year.

1 action to streamline/improve an internal procedure

1 external action to improve the customer experience

· The Board and staff will review the vision, mission, and values statement.

They tasked the Director to work with staff to come up with the six actionable items by October. Then, the Board will discuss them and ask the community for their input. By December, the team will be ready to lay out their plans in a simple five-page document.

Slick? Yes. Easy? No. It is doable, I’d say, because the board and staff are all on the same page. It’s all about the end results, and it’s all about the customer!

I have to commend the Board and the Director for making a conscious decision to keep it simple and to invest their energies, not in writing the plan, but in the measureable actions. “Every battle is won before it is even fought.”

Have a great week!

Kitty Pope
kpope @ alliancelibrarysystem.com #26 August/10

One Response to '#26 2010: Every battle is won before it is even fought'

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  1. Sandy Whitmer said,

    Great post, Kitty! I’m sharing this with my Board. Simple is not always easy, but I really like that this library’s energies are going to be focused on taking action to move the library forward.

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