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Taking Command of Change:
A Practical Guide for Applying the Strategic Development Process
in State Historic Preservation Offices

by
Doug Eadie, President
Doug Eadie Presents!, Frisco, Texas
Web Edition 2003
(originally published in 1995 by the National Park Service and
The National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers)

 

Taking Command
of Change

Table of Contents
 
Foreword
Preface
Acknowledgements
Executive Summary
 
1. Overview
 
2. Creating a Strategic Framework
 
3. External and Internal Environments
 
4. Issue Identification and Selection
 
5. Strategy Formulation
 
6. Launching a Strategic Development Process
 
7. You Can Do It!
 
8. Sources of Information on Strategic Development

 
 
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SLHR 2003


NOTE: Originally published in 1995, this publication remains timely in its advice for carrying out a strategic development process for an organization. The only changes that have been made from the original text are the updated author statement and "Sources of Information." Despite the title, this publication does provide relevant guidance for strategic development for any organization, not just for State Historic Preservation Offices.

 
TABLE OF CONTENTS

Foreword
Author's Preface
Author's Acknowledgements
Executive Summary

1. Overview

  • Not Whether -- But How -- to Change
  • Making the Trench a Better Place to Live
  • Beyond Traditional Strategic Planning
  • Two Agendas
  • The Strategic Development Process
  • To Facilitate Your Strategic Journey
2. Creating A Strategic Framework
  • Vision -- A Powerful but Underrated Tool
  • Overview of Vision
  • The Vision-Mission Connection
  • SHPOs Managing for the Year 2000
3. External and Internal Environments
  • Scanning the External Environment
  • Stakeholder Analysis
  • Very Special Stakeholders -- Parents and Policy Bodies
  • Internal Resource Assessment
4. Issue Identification and Selection
  • What is a Strategic Issue?
  • Selecting Strategic Issues
  • A Team Affair
5. Strategy Formulation
  • Employing Task Forces
  • Strategy Formulation Method
  • SHPO Office Planning Team Oversight
6. Launching a Strategic Development Process
  • Create a Strategic Development Program
  • Use a Retreat as a Program Jump-Start Mechanism
7. You Can Do It!
  • There Is No Middle Ground: Either Do, or Be Done Unto
8. Sources of Information on Strategic Development

About the Author


 
FOREWORD

Historic preservation is alive and in sound health in these United States, despite the daunting challenges that we historic preservationists face. Those of us engaged in preserving this nation’s historic and archeological places since the National Historic Preservation Act was passed in 1966 can reflect on the past three decades with pride, but certainly not nostalgia. We surely have no golden age in our past to recall fondly and yearn for, no time when a deluge of dollars and enthusiastic public attention threatened to overwhelm us. On the contrary, the times have always been fiscally and politically lean, and only the most cockeyed optimist would see a dramatic turnaround in the historic preservation environment in the foreseeable future.

Our accomplishments are all the more impressive, therefore, and our pride justifiable. The nearly thirty years that have passed since the National Historic Preservation Act took effect have seen significant progress in protecting and preserving America’s heritage, and historic preservation today is a vital, growing force in American life. Without question, hearts and minds are being reached, as evidenced by the millions of Americans searching for their past in historic districts, house museums, battlefield sites, and archeological exhibits of all kinds. And our growing constituency includes thousands of volunteers who annual expand public access to historic places and ease straitened budgets through their generous gifts of time and energy.

That the cause of historic preservation has been so well served since 1966 owes much to the commitment, creativity, ingenuity, and perseverance of the men and women in our nation’s State Historic Preservation Offices. In the challenging times that lie ahead, however, the SHPO Offices will need to take aggressive steps to expand their leadership and management capability if they are to expand their vital leadership in the preservation movement. They must diversity programs to meet changing customer needs and demands, build alliances with new partners, and aggressively pursue new funding opportunities. Yesterday’s tried and true approaches may be tomorrow’s failed strategies, and ignoring these challenges will be the riskiest of approaches in the turbulent future before us.

The Strategic Development Process that is described in the Guidebook provides SHPO Office staff with a powerful tool for taking command of their own change and development in response to the changing world around them. And to judge from the experience of the six SHPO Offices that participated in the "Managing for the Year 2000" Initiative in 1993 and 1994, SHPO Offices are blessed both with a healthy appetite for more powerful leadership and management tools and with the resolve and capability to use them. What is sorely needed is what this Guidebook is intended to supply: the practical how-tos for translating theory into practice.

In the summer of 1992, the National Park Service joined forces with the American Planning Association to present two two-day planning workshops for State Historic Preservation Office managers and staff in Reno, Nevada and Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Over 70 participants in the two workshops explored a variety of approaches to preservation planning and strategic management with the assistance of several leaders in the field, including the author of this Guidebook.

It became clear from questions and comments raised by workshop participants, that what SHPO Offices wanted was practical tools to strengthen their capabilities to cope with the challenges facing them. Virtually everyone participating in the workshops recognized that in a dynamic – indeed, volatile – environment, SHPO Offices must strengthen their planning and management techniques in order to grow and flourish. The "Managing for the Year 2000" Initiative in 1993 and 1994 was the joint response of the National Park Service and the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers to the obvious SHPO Office need for nuts-and-bolts assistance in putting contemporary strategic planning techniques into practice. This Guidebook is a natural outgrowth of the Initiative.

Simple in design, the "Managing for the Year 2000" Initiative provided three to four days of consulting assistance to six selected SHPO Offices. This assistance involved the facilitation of a SHPO Office strategic management retreat and the provision of follow-up assistance. Participating offices received training in strategic and change management techniques, fashioned values, vision, and mission statements, and identified critical issues facing them. All six have successfully developed and implemented strategies to address several of the key issues that they had identified, and all are engaged in ongoing strategic development processes. We at the NPS and NCSHPO commend these six SHPO Offices for being willing to open their offices and take on the risks and benefits involved in strategic management.

It became clear, unfortunately, that the "Managing for the Year 2000" Initiative services could not be extended to all offices in the near future. We nevertheless wanted all SHPO Offices to benefit from the guidance provided to their six colleagues. The National Park Service and the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers, therefore, commissioned the Initiative’s consultation, Douglas Eadie, who heads a firm that specializes in nonprofit/public strategic management, to prepare this Guidebook. We gave Doug two explicit commands: to provide SHPO Offices with clear, detailed, down-to-earth guidance in applying strategic development techniques; and to draw to the extent feasible on the experiences of the six SHPO Offices participating in the "Managing for the Year 2000" Initiative. We are pleased that doug has taken both directions to heart in preparing the guidance that follows.

We wish you well as you embark on your strategic development journeys, and we trust that this Guidebook will make the way clearer and smoother.

de Teel Patterson Tiller, Chief
Preservation Planning Branch
Interagency Resources Division
National Park Service

Eric Hertfelder
Executive Director
National Conference of State Historic
Preservation Officers
 
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AUTHOR'S PREFACE

PLEASANT SURPRISE

When Pat Tiller, Eric Hertfelder, and their colleagues at the National Park Service and the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers approached me about serving as a consultant to the "Managing for the Year 2000" Initiative, I was, frankly, skeptical. My involvement in the Reno and Sioux Falls SHPO workshops had taught me – a true outsider and newcomer to the historic preservation arena – a lot in a short time about the many problems facing SHPO Offices, most notably their modest funding and staffing in light of the jobs being done and their frequent absence from the political hit parade. Applying strategic development techniques is much more fun in organizations not in crisis, and it struck me then that life in many, if not most, SHPO Offices could be summed up as unending crisis. My initial reluctance was also based on my gut feel that people in highly technical, research-based and inward-focused professions such as archeology, history, anthropology, and architectural history would not be very receptive to messages coming from an outside management consultant.

So I could not have been more surprised, pleased – and relieved – by the cordial reception and enthusiastic participation of the staff team in Illinois, the first of the six states that I visited as part of the Initiative. And my subsequent visits to New Hampshire, Texas, Oregon, Alaska, and Kansas were just as enjoyable and productive. Contrary to my expectations, the six SHPO Office teams were as will and able to put contemporary strategic development techniques to use in their work as any groups with which I have consulted, and more than many.

PRACTICAL GUIDANCE

Without the "Managing for the Year 2000" experience, I would not have had much confidence in the utility of this Guidebook, but knowing what I now know, I am certain that most SHPO Offices will find it useful in tackling their unique change challenges. This does not aspire to be an academic treatise that traces the development of strategic planning techniques or that classifies and describes different approaches. Rather, my aim is to arm SHPO Office staff with practical, nuts-and-bolts guidance based on extensive real-life experience. My intent is for SHPO Office staff to be able to use the Guidebook in applying contemporary strategic management techniques successfully in the near-term and in generating immediate, concrete benefits.

TIE TO STATEWIDE HISTORIC PRESERVATION PLANNING

In keeping with the mandate in the National Historic Preservation Act that each SHPO Office take the lead in its state in preparing a "comprehensive statewide historic preservation plan," the National Park Service has issued planning guidelines for SHPO Offices to follow in complying with the letter and spirit of the Act. These guidelines provide SHPO offices with considerable flexibility in designing and carrying out statewide historic preservation planning processes that are tailored to their unique needs, circumstances, and capabilities, and they promote the role of SHPO Offices as facilitators of statewide preservation planning, rather than as merely the writers of plans.

In my professional opinion, the SHPO Offices that proactively and enthusiastically embrace designing and facilitating their statewide preservation planning process as a strategic opportunity will realize a significant return on their investment of time and energy. The Strategic Development Process that is described in this Guidebook, which is basically an internal tool for SHPO Office change management, can be a valuable resource in this regard. A SHPO Office can treat the design and implementation of its statewide preservation planning process as one of its "strategic initiatives," within the framework of its Strategic Development Process, along with other initiatives that it selects for intensive, systematic, front-burner attention.

SOMETHING FOR ALL SHPO OFFICES

The Strategic Development Process can be applied by any SHPO Office that firmly resolves to take command of its own development and growth. No fancy technology is required, and implementation can be tailored to each SHPO Office’s resources, capabilities, and circumstances. So, every SHPO Office can afford to implement the techniques described in this Guidebook, in some form and fashion, but no SHPO Office can afford the lost opportunities that are the inevitable cost of failing to tackle change head-on.

Doug Eadie
Cleveland, Ohio
September 1994

 
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AUTHOR'S ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

This Guidebook draws on my experience as a consultant to over 200 public and nonprofit agencies and on the rapidly expanding literature on strategic and change management. But I owe the deepest gratitude to the six SHPO Offices that participated in the first two rounds of the "Managing for the Year 2000" Initiative. I was as much student as teacher during my visits, and I deeply appreciate the cooperation and support I received. My very special thanks go to several executives without whose leadership "Managing for the Year 2000" could not have been nearly so successful: Judy Bittner in Alaska, James Hamrick in Oregon, Van McLeod and nancy Muller in New Hampshire, Ramon Powers and Dick Pankratz in Kansas, Curtis Tunnel in Texas, and Bill Wheeler in Illinois.

Neither the "Managing for the Year 2000" Initiative nor this Guidebook could have been conceived and translated into reality without the clear vision, steadfast support, and friendly criticism of Pat Tiller and Sue Henry at the National Park Service and Eric Hertfelder and Nancy Miller at the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers. They deserve – and certainly have – my respect, affection, and appreciation, and their advice and counsel have made this Guidebook a more powerful resource for SHPO Offices.

And finally, I must acknowledge my debt to Barbara Krai – colleague, friend, and wife. Without her wise counsel, constant encouragement, and always strong emotional support, balancing the competing demands of a thriving consulting practice and the preparation of this Guidebook would have been much more difficult, if not impossible.

While I cannot claim sole credit for its strengths, whatever weaknesses this Guidebook possesses are my responsibility alone.

Doug Eadie

 
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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

This Guidebook is intended to provide SHPO Offices with detailed practical guidance in making use of the strategic development process in managing their growth and development. The Guidebook draws not only on the rapidly expanding body of knowledge about managing change, but also on the experiences of six SHPO Offices that participated in the "Managing for the Year 2000" Initiative of the National Park Service and the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers. Each of the six offices found the Strategic Development Process a powerful tool for identifying and dealing with major opportunities and challenges ("strategic issues"), and each of the six has maintained an ongoing Strategic Development Process that fits its circumstances, culture, and capabilities.

The Strategic Development Process basically involves a SHPO Office’s taking steps – on a continuous basis – to narrow the gap between its vision of what it aspires to be and do over the long run and its current situation (its programs, services resources, reputation, relationships). The key elements of the process are:

  • clarifying our strategic framework – Updating our vision for the future, and our mission.
  • scanning our external environment – Identifying pertinent conditions and trends in the world around us and assessing their implication.
  • assessing our internal resources – Understanding where we are strong and where we are weak in terms of our financial, human, and other resources and our program performance.
  • identifying our strategic issues – Putting our finger on the critical "change challenges" in the form of opportunities to be grasped and barriers and problems to be overcome.
  • selecting our strategic issues – Deciding which issues must be addressed this year and which can be left for later attention.
  • fashioning change initiatives – Developing detailed action plans to deal with the selected issues.
  • managing change – Putting in place the structure and process to ensure implementation of the strategies.

To ensure that change actually takes place, rather than being overwhelmed by day-to-day pressures, a SHPO Office should establish a formal Strategic Development Program that:

  • Is kept separate from routine SHPO Office operations;
  • Is guided by the SHPO Office management team serving as the "program steering committee;" and
  • Is supported by a management team member serving as the "program coordinator."
 
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