Be prepared : measuring success

PWe typically associate scenario planning with preparing for worst-case events. Risk minimisation. Contingency strategies. Back-up plans. And with very good reason, because when it all turns to chaos, when people are under stress, when unknown factors come into play, you need robust plans and clear strategies in place.

Alternatively, sometimes we forget to envisage ‘best case scenario’ or ‘outrageously successful scenario’, when planning events, changing collections, refocusing customer service.

So, what does success look like? What does it look like –

  • to your customers?
  • to your staff?
  • to your community partners?
  • to your funding organisation?
  • to your CEO?

Let your imagination run wild.

What does good enough, okay, great, amazing look like? What does outrageous success look like? Are you actually prepared for success? If your amazing scenario presented itself tomorrow, are you ready?

Another important consideration is your measure of success. Is what you are actually measuring what you actually want to know? Is it –

  • one-off participation rates (5, 10, 50, 100 people turning up to an event)?
  • specific increases or decreases (more issues, less books, more members, less theft)?
  • ongoing customer engagement (return visits)?
  • follow-on service growth (offering Endnote tutorials to researchers)?

Just as we need to have contingencies in place for emergencies and worst-case scenarios, we also need to prepare ourselves for success, for improbable success, for seemingly unimaginable success. If you let yourself imagine incredible success, then it may also make you reflect and refocus on why you are doing what you are doing.

As with a disaster, wild success could happen when you least expect it, so you better be ready for it!

What if … 200 people showed up for your “Pyjamas & Pikelets” Friday night storytelling sessions?

What if … you achieved 100% pass rates for all first year student exams who took “Information Skills” classes?

What if … the internationally acclaimed author said yes to being at your event?

What if … an anonymous donor gifted $1,000,000 for a new library?


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