Table of Contents
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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2. CREATING A STRATEGIC FRAMEWORK
A SHPO Office’s strategic framework provides both a starting point and a context for the Strategic Development Process. You will recall that the framework consists of two key elements: a clear, detailed vision for the future, describing what the SHPO Office aspires to be over the long run, and a mission that describes the SHPO Office now, in terms of its programs/services, customers/clients, and how it delivers its services.
VISION – A POWERFUL BUT UNDERRATED TOOL
Vision is basically a picture of the future, and the more detailed the vision, the more useful it can be in identifying and selecting strategic issues.
Vision is without doubt both the INTELLIGENCE and the DRIVER of the Strategic Development Process. Without a clean, detailed vision as a starting point, a SHPO’s Strategic Development Process is just as apt to produce useless, as useful, results. Indeed, strategy without vision is likely to become motion without direction, and experience has taught all of us that being busy does not necessarily mean being very productive.
Unfortunately, for many nonprofit and public leaders and managers, vision has been a vague concept with little obvious utility in developing their organizations’ strategies. Its tremendous power for good has, therefore, seldom been fully realized in practice. Popularly and somewhat vaguely seen as having to do with fundamental purposes, inspiration, and motivation, vision is often used interchangeably with its close, but very different, ally – mission.
OVERVIEW OF VISION
Vision is basically a picture of the future, and the more detailed the vision, the more useful it can be in identifying and selecting strategic issues. Of course, without a clear vision, a SHPO Office will have no reliable way to identify strategic issues (opportunities to narrow the gap between vision and current reality).
In doing visioning, it is important that SHPO Offices distinguish between serious planning, on the one hand, and public relations/information, on the other. While a pithy paragraph that attractively captures the essence of a SHPO Office’s vision will very likely make sense for public relations purposes, a far more detailed version is essential for internal SHPO Office planning and development purposes.
A SHPO Office can envision its future in a number of ways: in terms of VALUES, IMPACTS or IMAGE.
- The VALUES VISION describes the SHPO Office’s most cherished beliefs and principles, relative both to its work in the wider environment and to its internal culture.
SHPO VALUES VISIONS
A rewarding job experience
Staff participation in decision-making
Opportunities for professional development
A collegial atmosphere
Accountability in decision-making
Preservation as a public responsibility and public trust
Spiritual values of historic preservation
Sense of place and identity
Collegiality of staff
Prudent management of public resources
Respecting the diversity of the state’s population
Serving the public
Importance of heritage education
Improving the quality of life for present and future generations through historic preservation
Respecting and responding to our constituents’ needs
- The IMPACT VISION describes the concrete impacts that the SHPO Office’s efforts are intended to have on its environment (e.g., the review board; federal, state, and local government agencies; the general public) – and how the world around it will be changed by its programs and activities.
SHPO IMPACT VISIONS
Alaskans’ greater appreciation of heritage
The SHPO Office as an integral part of state policy-making
More state historic parks
More effective integration of the SHPO Office into its parent department
Respect for cultural diversity
Communities valuing historic preservation
Sense of community, continuity
Powerful, focused preservation education curriculum
Focused, coordinated use of resources
Increased public participation
Widespread acceptance of historic preservation in Oregon
Better understanding of preservation goals and ethic
Preservation institutionalized in land use processes
Preservation of tangible links to cultural heritage
The SHPO Office viewed as one of the top Offices in the nation
Expansion, strengthening of local government preservation programs
Enhanced respect for ethnic and cultural heritage
- The IMAGE VISION describes how the SHPO Office wants to be seen in the years ahead by its principal stakeholders and by the wider public in its state.
SHPO IMAGE VISIONS
The place to come if interested in historic preservation
Protector and advocate for the essence of what Alaska is and was
Repository of expertise and knowledge on historic preservation
Reliable and predictable
Friendly and cooperative
Essential to the state’s economic well-being
Can-do agency that gets the job done
Easy to understand
Resource for information, education, guidance, criteria, and standards for heritage protection
Catalysts for change
Respectful, open to ideas of others
Accessible and responsive
Businesslike, but not fixated on being a business
The state’s preservation leader
Advocates of preservation issues
Significant player in state government in terms of influence and clout
Responsive and accessible to the various publics we serve
Flexible yet firm in our beliefs
Focused on the issues that make a difference in people’s lives
Innovative, talented, professional public servants that are doing vital work
THE VISION-MISSION CONNECTION
How are vision and mission different, and how do they work together in the strategic development process? If vision is a multi-faceted picture of a SHPO Office’s desired future, its mission is a detailed description of the SHPO Office NOW, in terms of its customers and clients, its products and services, and the roles it plays and technologies it employs (Figure 3). Vision and mission are not only different in content, they also serve completely different purposes. Vision is intended to inspire and motivate a SHPO Office and to guide it in selecting strategic issues. Mission is more a disciplinary tool, establishing clear boundaries and fighting the "headless chicken" syndrome (Figure 4). Vision moves a SHPO Office in new directions, and mission keeps it from losing its head in willy nilly diversification.
Over time, if a SHPO Office seriously employs the strategic development process, the vision will cause mission to change. Strategic issues in the form of barriers and opportunities will inevitably be identified to close the gap between long-range aspirations (the SHPO Office vision) and what the SHPO Office is right now (the SHPO Office mission). Vision will force possibilities to be raised, while mission will force second thoughts and resist undue haste. Without a clear, detailed mission, a SHPO Office will be in much greater danger of falling victim to the "everything to everybody" syndrome. However, a clear mission that is not pressured by a strong expansive vision can lead to a hardening of the SHPO Office’s arteries and its eventual obsolescence.
- SETS BOUNDARIES AND LIMITS FOR ORGANIZATIONAL ACTIVITY
- GUARDS AGAINST OVEREXTENSION
- IS PRESSURED AND CHANGED BY VISION
The Kansas planning team saw three categories of "primary" customers as a component of its mission:
As part of its mission exercise, the Alaska planning team identified a number of essential functional capabilities, including: "networking" and "coordinating," "interpreting regulations," building and maintaining databases, "mediation" and "conflict resolution," professional expertise, communication, planning, contracting, and facilities management.
SHPOs MANAGING FOR THE YEAR 2000
The six SHPO Offices that participated in the "Managing for the Year 2000" Initiative fashioned detailed vision and mission statements over the course of intensive one-and-one-and-one-half-day strategic work sessions in a retreat setting. All six SHPO Offices subsequently identified strategic issues and fashioned action strategies to address them. Although the original rough visions and missions were eventually refined and condensed for public consumption, they had already served a powerful internal development purpose for all of the six offices.
The detailed visions were fashioned by brainstorming groups early in the first day of the SHPO Office retreats. The groups took a free-flowing approach to their job, inviting active participation and avoiding formal consensus techniques. In the process of fashioning vision statements, participants not only enriched their understanding of each other’s programs, they also gained new appreciation for each other’s perspectives and viewpoints and built a stronger foundation for future teamwork.
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- "General public" customers include property owners, owners with future involvement (National Register listing and preservation grants), adjoining property owners, consulting professionals, and developers. These customers receive products and services: technical assistance, academic information, National Register nomination guidance, education, review and compliance advice, grant assistance, tax credits, and access to resources and information.
- "Government" customers include the National Park Service, other federal agencies, state government departments, and county and city governments. The products and services provided to this group include reports, review and compliance advice, grant assistance, planning assistance, contract archaeology, education, and program agreements.
- "Nonprofit organizations" include a diverse group, such as local and county historical societies, the Kansas Anthropological Association, regional planning commissions, neighborhood associations, the Unmarked Burial Board, the Kansas Historic Sites Board of Review, and the Antiquities Commission, among others. These organizations generally receive the products and services already noted.
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