Recently I responded to a query on ChildMus about strategic planning and suggested a link or two from past Museum Notes posts. Scrolling through the list of posts a dozen seemed relevant and I forwarded them. A few days later I thought this same set of posts might also be helpful to other museums setting out on strategic planning. Below are those posts, grouped into typical strategic planning steps.
Preparation: Preplanning gives a solid boost to the process; it helps right-size the scope, gets the necessary players in place, and removes some of the bumps that are inevitable in planning. Start with:
Community Context All planning takes place in a larger context. In strategic planning, awareness of the community context is critical for understanding relevant environmental forces, how the museum might respond, and the role it might play in the community.
Vision Statements: My approach to vision statements is decidedly externally oriented rather than internally oriented. The promise of this approach just keeps getting stronger as I see how it works with more museums, including ones of differing sizes and at various stages of development.
Mission and Values: Museums are guided by a shared sense of a deeper purpose that is made explicit in mission statements and expressed in the beliefs that guide behavior and work of the organization. If a museum is able to capture its distinctive value in its mission, other parts of strategic planning–and its work–will be easier.
Stakeholders: Internal and external stakeholders are the people likely to affect or be affected by the museum, its plans, and projects. Audience is a key stakeholder groups, central to a museum’s aspirations and its reason for being. A sound and shared understanding of stakeholders and audience will assist stratgeic planning.
- Audience, an Area of Enduring Focus
For Good Measure: At its best, strategic planning invites solid strategic thinking. But not everything that seems to be strategic actually is and not every strategic planning tool supports strategic thinking. Become familiar with the various meanings of strategic that your team might be bringing to the process and look critically at how to get better thinking out of a familiar planning exercise.