This September, I spent a day with senior leaders from Libraries Tasmania as part of my Australia/New Zealand workshop tour.
Accompanied by Aussie consultant Brendan Fitzgerald, my task was to help over 20 senior managers to agree an overarching mission statement that reflected an existing strategic plan, plus the full scope of an organisation encompassing archives, a museum, the State Library of Tasmania, and an island-wide public library service.
We set the scene for the mission statement with a series of iterative tasks exploring plausible futures that the organisation might face – and ways of responding if those futures came to pass.
By the end of the day, we had built enough common ground for the workshop participants to agree a wording which framed and articulated their service’s mission in an accessible yet inspiring way: three compelling sentences that could only be found after a solid day of future-facing inquiry.
Libraries Tasmania’s Executive Director Liz Jack wrote:
Throughout the day, Matt kept things moving while still being emotionally intelligent enough to notice when people were feeling uncomfortable, respectfully encouraging them to articulate what they were feeling and thinking.
Comments from participants included the following:
- Matt captured the context of Libraries Tasmania very well and his in depth
knowledge and experience of other libraries internationally added value to the
- Matt kept us on track and had a great ability to read the room
- A great find!
- Best facilitator seen in a long time; a good understanding of both strategic
planning and the library field
- Matt is one of the best. Clever listening and guidance and good subtle questioning of assumptions . . . a paradigm changer and questioner
- The fact that there was an outcome was a significant improvement to any
other vision/mission related workshop I have engaged in . . . It could not get
Matt’s work has set us up with a mission statement that everyone has embraced and now owns, and the discussion and ideas he generated have laid a solid foundation for future planning and visioning work with the entire organisation.