In the fall of 2000 the director of the University Libraries of Notre Dame learned that the university would begin a campuswide strategic planning effort the next academic year. I had recently joined the library from a management consulting firm specializing in strategic planning and had already expressed my interest. The director and I agreed that we should assess the state of the library’s planning in order to prepare for the university-wide effort. She asked me to form a task force to investigate library documents that might be relevant, to assess whether or not there was a discernible strategic plan, and to present the findings. In its two and a half months of existence, the Task Force on Communicating the Goals and Directions of the University Libraries did not engage in strategic planning, but it did thoroughly assess the state of the library’s planning. The strength of the assessment was that it was done outside of a planning process. Because of our success, I am convinced that your organization should take a moment to assess the documents you have written in order to determine where you already are. This should be done before you begin a strategic planning process.
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