Fostering future engagement for an esteemed institution
focused on preserving Muskegon’s past.
The Lakeshore Museum Center (LMC) has been telling the story of Muskegon County by collecting, preserving, and interpreting the history of its people and natural environment for nearly 100 years. From its inception as the Muskegon County Museum in the 1930’s, LMC has evolved through the decades to become an invaluable community institution comprised of a History and Science Museum, a Heritage Museum, four historical sites, and a collections center.
At the start of 2021, several changes were facing the LMC team. Its 2013-2020 Strategic Plan had expired. The world continued to grapple with the Covid-19 pandemic. And the Board of Trustees had just selected a new Executive Director, Melissa Horton. With over 20 years of experience working at LMC, Melissa was well aware of the organization’s situation.
“Kendra Consulting helped to pull everything and everyone together so we were focused and results-driven. Paula listened to me and what my needs were, then developed a very effective process”
When she accepted the leadership role she knew she needed to create a vision for the future that would inspire her staff and Board of Trustees and lead to a bright future for LMC. A new strategic plan needed to be developed, but it wasn’t possible to physically bring people together to do the work because of the pandemic. Melissa needed expert help in virtually bringing people together, fostering active engagement, and delivering a strong strategic plan.
Kendra Consulting worked with Melissa to understand LMC’s current situation and future needs. Together, we designed a multi-phase process that would include the voices of both the staff and the Board of Trustees.
PHASE ONE: ENVISIONING
The project started with the staff reviewing and rewriting the organization’s core values, mission statement and vision statement
PHASE TWO: PLANNING – THREE YEAR HORIZON
The next step was to bring the Board of Trustees together with the staff to assess the current situation with a focus on organizational strengths, followed by identification of opportunities and aspirations for a healthy future. These discussions led to the development of three-year goals.
PHASE THREE: PLANNING – YEAR ONE
The final step in the planning process was the staff establishing objectives and tactics for year one of the plan.
PHASE FOUR: IMPLENMENTATION
With the completion of phases one through three, the strategic plan was finished. In order to ensure the organization remained focused on plan implementation, Kendra Consulting met with organizational leaders and the Board of Trustees quarterly to track progress on completion of the year one objectives.
“During our “Big” brainstorming meeting, I realized that the process was working because the board and staff felt comfortable speaking their thoughts and ideas as Paula posed questions and scenarios. I had sat in many meetings before this where there was more silence than dialog. This was also still during COVID and we were virtual which added an additional layer of awkwardness to the whole process.”
LMC’s strategic plan embodies its core values and is built upon a clear mission, vision, and well-defined set of goals. The staff and Board of Directors share ownership of the plan and understand their roles in bringing it to fruition. Throughout year one, both groups remained focused and achieved significant progress on each of the established goals. The plan is used regularly to guide day-to-day activities as well as provide guidance as new challenges and opportunities present themselves.
“Our plan has become central to all of our board committee meetings and staff yearly plans. This has focused our goals and objectives for these years and defines our boundaries when we have money to spend or decisions to make. Because this strategic plan is so strong, we are confident in our ability to get ready for new, bigger challenges.”
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