3.3 Best Practice: Defining a Shared Vision

What We’re Hearing

Directing a historic site with multiple partners requires coordination of each party’s vision, drawing on shared resources to support development over time.

Planning presents a range of issues, particularly in the envisioning of shared goals and objectives for the site’s future that are clearly defined. Plans are often developed without consultation or consideration of each others’ goals, and the community context, more broadly.

Whether in the creation of long-term strategic plans or short-term goals, conflicts arise when there are too many “cooks” in the kitchen – leading to lack of action, delayed progress, and organizational fatigue.

Best Practices

Planning requires collaboration to varying degrees. Allow those with responsibility for an area to lead its planning process, supported by input from other parties, as necessary. The vision statement included in the agreement should direct subsequent planning for the site, so be sure to revisit that statement and use it to guide collective planning efforts. Participate in visioning activities when invited ensure your voice and needs are addressed down the line.

Best Practices for Owners

  • Involve operators and third parties and collaborate to achieve shared and parallel goals. Their programs and initiatives may already be contributing to your objectives in unexpected ways.
  • Allow operators/third parties the flexibility required to plan around their needs. Offer your support if you have the appropriate expertise.
  • When plans are submitted for your review and/or approval, provide meaningful feedback and suggestions for future development.
  • Best Practices for Operators/Third Parties

  • Participate actively in the site owner’s planning process, when possible. If they do not currently consult you when developing plans that may impact your site – ask to! Open up a clear conversation about your future goals.
  • Keep the owner in the loop about your future plans. Owners at a government level often have access to funding that non-profits do not.
  • Engage the community in your planning initiatives. The more your site reflects the needs of the community, the more value added to your site in the eyes of the owner.
  • Think outside the box – how can your site extend beyond the heritage sector? Realizing untapped connections to economic development, tourism, or social justice initiatives, for example, can diversify your community contributions, and be leveraged to increase support for your site.
  • Try This – Operators and Third Parties

    Aligning your plans with the owner’s priorities is a strategic way to enhance the value of the site. By making clear, documented connections between your work and the owner’s objectives, you can demonstrate how the site is contributing to fulfilling the owner’s goals in the community. If your site is government owned, maintain an awareness of shifting political priorities and integrate them into your planning.

    Example: A municipal owner’s Cultural Plan is updated to include goal setting around climate change and sustainability – how can you reflect this in your planning? Through programming goals, or operational changes?