March 2012 research Library issues: a QuarterLy report froM arL, cNi, aNd sparc
RLI 278 19
THe ARL BALAnced ScoRecARd iniTiATive meeTS THe ARL 2030 ScenARioS
McMaster: Using Scenarios to Test Current Strategic Plan
At McMaster University Library, a scenario exercise was used in summer 2011 as part of a mid-course
refresh of the strategic plan, which is managed using the balanced scorecard.10 The exercise was presented
as a one-day retreat for all staff in the Organizational Development division of the library. Participating
staff were from Accounts, Administrative Support, Development, Human Resources, and Marketing, and
represented all staff categories, i.e., librarians, management, and support staff. The scenario exercise was
led by the Associate University Librarian for Organizational Development (now the Acting University
Librarian) and the Director of Assessment and Accountability, who had both attended the ARL workshop
on planning with scenarios in March 2011. The goal of the exercise was two-fold: to test the library’s
current strategic plan against the scenarios and to gather feedback on the use of scenarios as a strategic
planning tool within our own organization.
The daylong exercise was presented as a compressed version of the two-day workshop developed
by ARL to test an existing strategic plan or agenda.11 Staff received the four scenarios in advance and
were encouraged to review them prior to the retreat. As recommended by ARL, the workshop took place
“off site,” at the DeGroote School of Business, on the Burlington campus. The agenda for the day was
ambitious and is outlined in Figure 2.
Figure 1: Strategic Planning through Scenarios and Balanced Scorecard (Learning cycle)
Source: Susan Stickley, “Planning with the ARL 2030 Scenarios,” slides presented at ARL Scenarios Workshop, Atlanta, 2011
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