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BC ELN Strategic Planning: The Journey Begins!

November 12, 2021

How do you envision strategic planning?

In a recent conversation, a few of us were discussing different ways to “picture” strategic planning - for one individual it was by using the metaphor of a trip by water. To navigate safely by boat, you need a map of the area that shows where the currents run and where there are unseen dangers (an environmental scan). You need a destination (a vision), of course. And finally you need a vessel that will get everyone on the team to the final port (a strategic plan).

For another person, strategic planning is like a group hiking through mountains towards a sunrise. For yet another, it is like ships waiting their turn to travel by the Suez Canal - each vessel’s crew must choose the optimal time to move forward.

A common thread that passes through these metaphors is the theme of collective movement. Organizations plan effectively when they can generate a shared vision of success among stakeholders and when the whole team is involved in generating the actions needed to achieve that vision.

With an organization as large as BC ELN, which encompasses 33 partner libraries across BC and Yukon, we need a strategic planning process that will effectively engage our diverse members, our stakeholders, and our staff, and get us all moving in the same direction.

To do this, we’ll be using a Technology of Participation (ToP) strategic planning process. ToP processes are “approaches that foster authentic participation and meaningful collaboration” (see: Institute of Cultural Affairs - Technology of Participation). Beginning in December, our consortium will meet to collectively look at BC ELN’s past, present, and future, and decide how to move toward a shared vision.

We are looking forward to the journey, and to making the trip together.

Photo by Kristjan Kotar on Unsplash