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Strategic Planning for Practical Visionaries. Arthur H. Wolf MPMA Workshop Fargo, North Dakota September 11, 2007. What is a Practical Visionary? .

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strategic planning for practical visionaries

Strategic Planning forPractical Visionaries

Arthur H. Wolf

MPMA Workshop

Fargo, North Dakota

September 11, 2007

what is a practical visionary
What is a Practical Visionary?
  • “All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible.”

- T.E. Lawrence (of Arabia) Introduction to Seven Pillars ofWisdom, 1926

questions for museum visionaries
Questions for Museum Visionaries
  • Do you have Vision, Passion, and Commitment for your dreams?
    • Vision – Do you see or sense a need that can be fulfilled by your institution?
    • Passion – Are you prepared to devote your time, talent, and enthusiasm to achieving the goals you set for the future?
    • Commitment – Will you make the process a priority in your life and career?

questions for museum visionaries4
Questions for Museum Visionaries
  • Are you on top of the four Ps?
    • Professional – Do you understand the current museum environment and the latest thinking on issues and practices?
    • Personal – Do you have the emotional maturity to handle setbacks, difficult people, and challenges to your energy and health?
    • Political – Do you understand the relationships that will affect the success of your museum?
    • Practical – Are you willing to do what it takes to reach your goals in an ethical way?

some perspectives
Some Perspectives
  • Listen to others
  • Read widely/learn something daily
  • Show up and pay attention
  • Be flexible
  • Steal a march but festina lente
  • Never eat alone
  • Do your best to suffer fools!
  • Take care of yourself with exercise, diet and rest
  • Get help to deal with challenges

what is your entry point
What is your Entry Point?
  • In your career
    • Are you just beginning?
    • Lots of experience in your current museum?
    • Just into a new position?
  • In your museum
    • Where in the life cycle?
    • Inheriting an old vision?
    • Creating a new vision?
    • Starting from scratch?

what is strategic planning
What is Strategic Planning?
  • Strategic Planning is the way in which an organization:
    • Agrees on a vision of where it wants to go and what it wants to achieve
    • Ensures the vision meets the needs of its audiences and community
    • Ensures that it identifies the resources needed to fulfill the vision
    • Allows sound decision-making in response to changes in environment

important to note
Important to Note
  • Classic corporate strategic planning took lots of time and money and veterans of that time still groan when they hear the words (and they might be your trustees)
  • Today strategic planning is more about aligning the interests of all internal and external stakeholders, which makes the judgement decisions of executives (whatever those might be) more transparent to everyone

aam expectations
AAM Expectations
  • Lack of institutional planning is among the leading causes of tabling motions in accreditation decisions
  • An accreditable museum engages in current, comprehensive, timely, and formal planning for its future
  • A wide range of formats and nomenclature is acceptable

some other plans
Some Other Plans
  • Master Plans relate to longer term consideration for development of facilities, finances and program expansion over periods of up to ten years
  • Annual Plans are the work plans that tie to annual budgets and support larger strategic objectives
  • Implementation Plans are specific operational plans made to achieve parts of Annual or Strategic Plans

why do strategic planning
Why do Strategic Planning?
  • Focus and reaffirm your Mission
  • Define your Vision for the future
  • Review and affirm (or not) your existing or proposed programs
  • Educate and involve your Board, Staff, Volunteers and Community
  • Define and prioritize Goals, Strategic Objectives and Action Plans

who needs to do strategic planning
Who needs to do Strategic Planning?
  • Any museum that is responsive to challenges, sees opportunities, and wants to serve its stakeholders
  • Any museum that wants or needs to sustain its operations in the future
  • Any museum that needs to change in order to survive
  • Any museum that wants to attain AAM accreditation
  • Any museum that doesn’t have a plan

aligning emma




Thanks To Will Phillips






the process
The Process
  • Must set goals and establish strategies to achieve them in support of Mission/Vision
  • Must assign resources and responsibilities for each strategy
  • Needs to suit your timetable
  • Can be intensive or extensive
  • Can be inclusive or exclusive
  • Will need to be iterative
  • Requires commitment of all involved
  • Can require $$ as well as time

getting started
Getting Started
  • Who needs to be involved?
    • Consider your size, location, history and reasons for planning
    • Consider who can help you the most
    • Consider who can create barriers to your success
    • Consider whether you can do it all internally or need help with facilitation and coordination

getting started16
Getting Started
  • What is your timetable?
    • Are you updating a prior plan?
    • Are you contemplating major change?
    • Do you need to coordinate the plan with your annual budget process?
    • Are there external pressures?
    • Can you maintain your current operation while you are planning?

getting started17
Getting Started
  • Formalize the process
    • Propose a timetable with individual responsibilities, specific events and activities and expected results
    • Obtain Board approval and support for the timetable and process
    • Engage stakeholders
    • Document both the process and product
    • Obtain Board approval for the plan
    • Implement through annual budgets
    • Build in periodic reviews and updates

know yourself first
Know Yourself First
  • Compile what you know about your museum and audience needs
    • Benchmarking data from annual operations and comparisons to others
    • Results of listening sessions, focus groups, formal interviews, and surveys
    • Formal self-assessments or external assessments

know yourself and others first
Know Yourself (and Others)First
  • Compile what you don’t know about your museum or what is to come
    • Look at local, regional and national trends
    • Look at community needs assessments
    • Review what you do know
    • List what you perceive are unknowns about the future
    • Identify issues for consideration

start with what works best
Start With What Works Best
  • Evaluate which processes, programs, and products work the best in all respects (part of self-assessment) Building on Strengths is one approach
  • Consider why they are successful
  • Put everything else on the table for discussion

sample process
Sample Process
  • Data gathering and analysis including interviews and focus groups
  • Initial Board retreat- re-affirms Mission and initial Vision for 3-5 years
  • Communication of results
  • Initial draft of Goals and Strategic Objectives
  • Board and Staff discussions and work sessions
  • Assessment of needed resources and responsibilities for their development
  • Final draft of Goals and Strategic Objectives presented for Board discussion
  • Final Plan Presented to Board for approval
  • Communication of Plan to stakeholders
  • Implementation within annual budgets

complete your sentences
Complete Your Sentences!
  • Build your case
    • We see/know/understand that there is a need to do/create/enhance XXXXX in our community/region
    • Our experience and institutional qualities allow us to do XXXXX
    • We have studied the challenge and propose to do XXXXX
    • We are prepared to do XXXXX to accomplish this
  • Ask for Help
    • We need your help to do XXXXX
    • The Volunteer need is XXXXX
    • The financial need is XXXXX

sample goals and objectives
Sample Goals and Objectives
  • Goal 1: Programs
    • Objective: Expansion of services
  • Goal 2: Collections
    • Objective: Increase in collections care
  • Goal 3: Facility
    • Objective: Planning for expansion
  • Goal 4: Financial
    • Objective: Identification of new revenues
  • Goal 5: Organizational Development
    • Objective: Initiate Succession Planning

tools to use
Tools to Use
  • Teamwork and Outside Help
    • Charter committees to review and assess specific issues relating to Goals and Strategies (Internal and External)
    • Commission studies if needed
    • Be selective in choosing consultants
  • Look at other Plans
    • AAM Information Center
    • Other Community Organizations
    • Museums in other markets

tools to use25
Tools to Use
  • Stakeholder Identification
    • Those you know
    • Those you need to know
    • Those you want to know
  • Strategic Partnerships Matrix
    • Program Partners
    • Funding or Sponsorship Partners
    • Training and Development Partners
    • Contracting Partners

tools to use26
Tools to Use
  • BHAGs – Big Hairy Audacious Goals
    • This might just be your ultimate Vision!
    • Always have some grand Goals
  • STEP Program
    • Survive – Solve your current challenges and maintain your viability as an organization
    • Thrive – Meet your initial Goals and Measurements
    • Excel – Go beyond expectations and plan for the next big achievements
    • Persist – Create the conditions for continuous improvement and sustainability

sample annual measurements
Sample Annual Measurements
  • Quantitative – numerical counts of what you consider important
  • Qualitative
    • Plans in place and updated
    • Budgets managed to expectations
    • Annual goals accomplished
    • Board/Executive Evaluation
    • Surveys
    • Press and Awards

measures of greatness
Measures of Greatness
  • Superior Performance
    • Achieve and surpass annual goals
  • Distinctive Impact
    • Community recognition and inspiration
  • Lasting Endurance
    • Sustained high performance and growth of programs and people

See Jim Collins’ Good to Great and the Social Sector, 2005

why planning fails
Why Planning Fails
  • Ignorance of stakeholder needs and interests
  • Poor organization of the process
  • Unclear expectations
  • Undefined roles and responsibilities
  • Unrealistic and unsustainable goals and objectives
  • Complacency regarding implementation
  • No mechanism for review and renewal

the main thing
  • The Main Thing is to keep your Main Thing your Main Thing