Planning Process Elements

Below are elements to create a strategic plan:

Planning to Plan: Worksheet

  • Where are we going and how will we get there?
  • The outline for the process the planning group will use


  • A preferred future for the library that leads the way to success
  • Where we want to go
  • The ideal world out there
  • A better future
  • Paints a picture of:
    • where the library wants to go
    • what it wants to be
  • Hopes and dreams
  • Comes from the heart not the head
  • Proactive along with futuristic
  • Presents the “Big Picture”
  • Uses future tense
  • Provides motivation and inspiration for the staff and trustees


  • The business the library is in that distinguishes it from other service organizations
  • The unique business
  • Outlines and clarifies the library’s purpose
  • The focus of the library’s business
  • Framework for all strategies and activities
  • Identifies the library’s sphere of influence and clientele
  • A valuable tool for:
    • Making program and strategy decisions
    • Communicating to the community
  • Uses present tense
  • Tell the who, what and why

Needs Assessment:

  • Recognition of present situation – Internal & External
  • Where are we now?
  • Forms the base on which the plan is built
  • Provides an understanding of the influences acting on the library
  • Identifies the possible and most likely futures
  • Makes apparent the opportunities that most clearly fit the library’s strengths

Strategic Issues:

  • Strategic issues are those concerns which the organization must address in order to be effective and viable
  • Strategic issues may be internal or external


  • Goals are broad, general descriptions of “end states” that indicate a strategic issue is being addressed
  • For each strategic issue there will be multiple goals


  • Strategies are broad, general approaches to working toward the identified goals for each strategic issue.
  • How do we get there?


  • Measurable and time-restricted plan elements
  • Specific actions which we plan to take place in order to implement our general strategy
  • What timeline will move us most effectively?

Evaluative Criteria:

  • Measure whether or not the library carried out the activities that it proposed
  • Or – Measure whether the work of the library made any difference in addressing strategic issues
  • How will we know what we accomplish?
  • Informally monitor the plan regularly
  • Review and revise the plan annually
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Planning to Plan Worksheet.doc64.5 KB