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Buy In Not Opt Out: Staff Driven Metrics

Indianapolis Public Library, Indiana
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Innovation Summary

All staff is engaged in the stewardship of our strategic plan at the Indianapolis Public Library. The plan is easily interpreted because it incorporates dynamic “take action” components into its goals and strategies providing clear direction to staff for successful program planning, measuring and reporting institutional performance.

Problem Statement

Engaging staff in strategy, at all organizational levels, is a universal concern among libraries. Previous strategic plans at IndyPL were high-level and often ambiguous. The new 2015 to 2020 strategic plan is an innovative approach to solving this problem. With the support of community, staff and our Board of Trustees, we embedded 175 actionable numbered statements into the plan’s goals and strategies, providing clear direction to staff for connecting their activities to the strategic plan.


This innovation increases staff confidence, encourages active participation in the strategic plan and creates a clear pathway for staff ideas to be heard and approved. The service plan is fluid, inclusive, not stack ranked or competitive. This innovation also connects each service plan to “take action” numbers in the strategic plan, ensuring staff work is strategically on-point. Everyone is learning to use data to achieve analytical competency and prove their contribution is strengthening the library.


In 2016, 248 service plans were written and accomplished by staff. We guarantee transparency and full engagement in the rationale, timelines and budgets for projects. Outcome-based measurements from service plans illustrate institutional performance. Reports to stakeholders are clear and organized. Institutional relevance is easily aligned to community-scale efforts. Proven assessment of community impact increases donor support as well. This strategic framework can work for other libraries, because it has been so successful for us.