A Field Guide for the Enterprising Librarian: the Planning Edition.






ThE Planning edition

COMPILED for the Arizona State Library, Library Development Division

by Beth Matthias-Loghry


21st Century Libraries

“The library of the future, whether the physical space or its digital resources, can be the place where you put things together, make something new, meet new people, and share what you and others bring to the table. It’s peer-to-peer, hands-on, community-based and creation-focused.”

Miguel Figueroa of the Center for the Future of Libraries

[]Contents [


A Note

as a cycle]




and Time]


and Facilitating]


Asking Questions and Listening for the Answers vs. Giving Advice

[planning and

[planning and


and practicing with values]

being a catalyst for potential]

Meeting people where they are]

What will that take?]


[]A Note

This is a guide for enterprising librarians who understand the power of information, wisdom and lore; and this is especially for librarians who want to take control or to experiment, maybe even be a little disruptive, ask a lot of questions and make fearless changes that make a big difference. Take a look at the field guide and consider your potential to bring out the best in people and best in situations as you:

Create the future;

Design and change to create exceptional services;

Focus energies on the community to ensure a positive impact;

and make their library into a space that is a catalyst for positive change.

You know who you are.

Things to THINK about


approach planning as unfolding over time; embrace time as a participant in your planning efforts. You have time, don’t let time stop you.

bring out the best in everybody and in situations.

create space with the right conditions for others to innovate.

fuse your plans to values.

practice with those values; use them: to set priorities; to create conditions for success; to inform actions; and to test new variations of success.

reinvent by asking questions and finding out what good looks like or what better looks like.

shape the (library’s) brand—around the conditions you are most excited about creating.

[_ -- Adapted for enterprising librarians, these tips started with Martin Sklar, Walt Disney Imagineering, and Education vs. Entertainment, AAM Annual meeting. _]

**]as a cycle

Planning is a cycle of innovation and potential. This planning loop breaks down planning into small steps.

The four concepts in the middle ground the loop.

Figure 1: Planning is a cycle of innovation and potential.


Make an ongoing practice of making plans and making decisions grounded in four concepts set out in the list below.




Make your community the main point of reference.


Aim for the highest possible outcome , by focusing on what can happen rather than what did happen -- whether you are beginning with something difficult a challenge or an amazing vision, think about what is possible and--agree on what success would look like and for who.


Be your values in action.


Listen ask questions, make connections, look for patterns, change for the better…



Turn Outward {verb}

“The act of seeing and hearing those in the community and acting with intentionality to create change;

A reorientation toward the community;

A framework for making community-based decisions that focuses on impact equity and collaboration.”

—The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation


The act of turning outward can call us to action. According to the Harwood Institute of Public Innovation, if libraries don’t face outward, they lose a “true shot at relevancy… Only when you gain a deep and authentic understanding of the nature of a community and people’s lives can you understand the conditions you must create for change to come about.”

The library should face in the direction of the community. Planning future forward means an about face outward. Open up to a wider view that is your community.

Figure 2: outward facing library focus FROM the Harwood Institute for public innovation.

**]and Time

“Worry and time have an inverse relationship.

The more you have of one, the less you have of the other.”

[_ -- Mike Dooley. _]

How many times have you said that you are too busy doing other things? And you feel so busy that you didn’t have time to plan, or to implement a plan, to share and communicate you plans, or take action according to your current plans? It’s important to consider time, decide what spending quality time looks like, and make choices about our priorities and about time. Consider time as a part of you plan; don’t worry about time as an obstacle or weakness.

Life-hack Celestine Chua advises us to “take time on to take control … over those things you can – yourself, your emotions, your thoughts and your actions. She advises people to devote their attention to the “creation process, and on people who do deserve your attention.” Sometimes in order to prioritize what you are going to do, you need to consider what you are not going to do. See some of the items on Chua’s “Not to Do List” below.

Figure 3: CHUA SAYS, Choose the things you are not going to do.

Take a moment to think of your values and priorities. Now list the ways you are spending time. Is how you are spending time in line with your values; is it in line with your plans? What do you need to stop doing in order to do good?

Write it down and choose the things you are not going to do.


From its origins, “to facilitate” is to make easy. More commonly it defines a process for bringing about a result.

At its root than facilitation is about creating the conditions that set people on the path to their individual and then collective potential.

—Creating the Future

[] Planning[
**]and Facilitating

FACILITATION helps the enterprising librarian to take the lead from wherever he or she is at.

As Andrea J. Buchanan & Miriam Peskowitz say in the Double-Daring Book… – “Daring is about…getting off the sidelines and getting in the game, whatever your game may be.” We are used to thinking that power comes from the top down; but “leading from the middle” is about the power we all have when we come together to build something together. Because leading from the middle means everyone is both a leader and a follower, often all at the same time, much of a group’s power to plan for change lies in their knowing and trusting each other.

To trust the people in the room you need to get to know those people, learn their language and understand their values. Make every conversation devoted to bringing out the best everybody. Establish positive conditions in the room and use the wisdom of the people in the room to get the best energy going. F.A.S.T can help get you there.



Go F.A.S.T.

FOCUS on abundant means, rather than on scarce ones. This creates a favorable environment that brings out the best in everyone so they can realize their own potential.

ABUNDANT means are each other: our creativity and our knowledge, our values and our wisdom. Ask questions that engage, inspire and encourage, with the goal of learning from other people.

SEEK out others who are reaching for the same future you are. Learn from them and work alongside them. There is great power in building something together that we cannot accomplish on our own.

TALK the talk and walk the walk of your values to transform your community. Encourage people to talk about their values in action.

[_ -- FAST is Adapted from Hagel, John et al., “Shaping Strategy in a World of Constant Disruption,” Harvard Business Review, October 2008, and Creating the Future’s On the Ground Changemaker Course 2012. _]



  • What is the path the brought you here?

  • What caused to want to participate in this?

  • What difference would you want to make?

  • When our … (group, partnership, association, team) is 100 percent successful what will our community look like?

  • How does the decision we are about to make fit in with the success we want to see in our community?

  • What excites us about this?

  • What is working well?

  • What is important to us? What do we (or I) value most?

  • What will it take for us to succeed?

  • What could we accomplish if we share our idea?

  • In what ways would our efforts be stronger if we do it together?

Or, don’t ask a question: Tell me more about…

And try to ask “What would that take” instead of “How…”

  • * Asking Questions and Listening for the Answers vs. Giving Advice

When you are asked for advice, don’t give it. Why? Because when someone asks you for advice, two things are probably going on:

a) That person is asking you to do the work they have been tasked with doing;

Or, b) that person wants to you to bless a decision they have already made.

—Creating the Future, an article called: “The Dance of Advice”

[] planning and[

Hildy Gotlieb writes:

“Advice is always about my wisdom, not the other person’s – regardless of the spirit in which is it proffered. As Austin Kleon put it, ‘All advice is autobiographical.’ The truth is that we are changing all the time and we are all ready for something, as long as it’s aimed at our potential.”

Challenges are about the other person’s reality, not yours. Start a conversation based on that person’s reality and also with a sense of possibility and all the potential inside that person.

First, think of the challenge that the other person comes forward with as an unmet condition for success;

Then, ask them questions, and focus on what it would take to create something better.

Finally, listen for their answers and make a “bucket list” for them -- both to reflect on what you learn and to bring out their best.

To sum up, instead of giving them advice, instead of telling them what you think they should do, try to find their answer to “what would good look like and what would that take?”

Figure 4: use Gotlieb’s listening buckets and find out what good would look like.

[] planning and[

Put the other person’s behavior and mindset first;

Map out the details of your conversation;

and create, innovate and plan together.

Figure 5: Mapping starts with one person, who is full of potential and possibilities, working out an unmet condition for success.


Values are gospel for the actions of the organization; because …

Values help us to transform the past into potential (because they can indicate an unmet condition for success);

Values are conditions for success;

Values should direct our priorities and form our actions;

Values represent the conditions that we are most excited about creating.

—Creating the Future

[] planning[
**]and practicing with values

Make time to practice. Sketch out key elements of, and preliminary ideas for work (or stuff) you, personally, want to do – starting with your values.

What do I value, know and believe:

Think about conditions (what will be better and for who)

Also consider:

People to talk to or form relationships with;

Conversations you want to facilitate or spaces you want to create;

Practices and systems you want to put in place;

Tools you want to apply

AND YES: What are the top two or three things do you want to pay attention to? (This may be a concept you want to think about further or a specific action you want to take.)

List actions that will create those conditions

with reverse engineering]

Put your listening talents and create a space for the other person or people in the room by reverse engineering. Going from challenges to the highest potential outcome makes problems into preconditions for success, creates context and sets the stage for people to step into their own potential.

Feet focus= topic/situation presenting issue. Ask: what other person thinks they need: who, where, etc.: presenting issue problem or theme, an unmet condition for success.

Listening…Tell me about you…? Tell me what you are thinking? What is going on? Is there a problem, a need, or lack? What signals is your community sending you? Why should the other person or someone in your community care? It sounds like what’s really going is…

Outward focus = highest potential outcome. Ask: we want it to change for the better-why? What will that make possible and for whom? What is the highest potential outcome of the situation, if it is resolved? What would good look like? What is in it for them? Keep going until they start fishing…

Review = Set the stage for the right conditions: what will that take? Under what conditions would that outcome emerge and for whom? For the community…or for the other person

Reflect You have an idea of what can happen, but what does it look like? who do you know? What actions will create that environment? (Planning). Is there another department, organization or group with a vision like yours?

Build a bridge

…to bring it back to the presenting issue…number 1. Number 1 is one of many pre-conditions or actions that help us reach, change conditions in the immediate environment, in the larger context, and for the other person, and create actions that lead toward the highest potential outcome.

Figure 6: reverse engineering map.


Catalyst catAlyst

(kat”l-ist) n.

A substance that modifies and increases the rate of a reaction without being consumed in the process.

—American Heritage Dictionary

[] planning[
**]being a catalyst for potential

Catalyzing potential means:

HOLDING a space for others;

MEETING people where they are;

and CREATING favorable conditions -- that minimize and bypass fears – and that will allow others to step into their own potential.

By catalyzing potential you open the door to what is possible. You can move from counterproductive habits to creative strategies and beyond.

Maybe you are ready to start helping people to see their own potential; or maybe you are looking for a new ways to change your own thought habits, about what is possible and about bringing out the best in the people and situations that touch your life. Either way, Hildy Gotlieb advises the first step is to “meet (yourself … people) where they are,” at the stage of potential they are at.

[] planning[
**]Meeting people where they are

By “meeting people where they are”, the enterprising librarian creates an environment for favorable results by asking, listening, reflecting, reassuring and ensuring that the other person is choosing what action they take will to get to a place where things will be better.

“Better” is the positive results of the next stage on the continuum of potential. We are always, one step away from the next stage. What you inspire is those results.

Figure 7: Stages on Gotlieb’s continuum…from “if only” to “I feel it in my bones.”

[] planning[
**]What will that take?

By catalyzing potential you open the door to what is possible, as you create a space for favorable results by asking, listening, reflecting, and assuring.

You can move from counterproductive habits, to productive practices, to creative strategies, to transformational work.

And that’s exactly where the enterprising librarian loves to be, exploring and “trying something…”

Good luck with all your planning efforts and stay inspired!

—Beth M-L.

What will it take

to inspire RESULTS?


  • Turning outward

  • Facilitating

  • Listening

  • Reflecting on values

  • Creating conditions

  • Practicing

  • Curious

  • Doing developmental work


With special thanks to facilitators, wisdom sharers, and transformational workers who shared with me -- online and in real time -- during On the Ground Change-Makers and -- online during BETA 101.

The Field Guide serves as my reflections on planning by “bringing out the best in people and situation,” Based on my participating in The BETA 101 of Catalytic Thinking

If you want to work out your own practices on bringing out the best in every person and every situation, please join me in my support of an amazing living laboratory called Creating the Future.

Hildy Gottlieb, Gayle Valeriote, Nancy Iannone, and Dimitri A Petropolis


Librarians especially, see also the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation and its publication, the Work of Hope.

AND GOOGLE…or use social media to keep inspired.

A Field Guide for the Enterprising Librarian: the Planning Edition.

This is a guide for enterprising librarians who understand the power of information, wisdom and lore; and this is especially for librarians who want to take control or to experiment, maybe even be a little disruptive, ask a lot of questions do even more listening and make fearless changes that make a big difference. This comes from my experience as a Fellow with Creating the Future (CF) and my participation in CF's On the Ground Change-Makers and Catalytic Thinking Courses. Good luck with all your planning efforts and stay inspired! --Beth M-L.

  • ISBN: 9781311248916
  • Author: Beth Matthias-Loghry
  • Published: 2016-03-18 05:20:14
  • Words: 2762
A Field Guide for the Enterprising Librarian: the Planning Edition. A Field Guide for the Enterprising Librarian: the Planning Edition.