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Dependencies have to be studied, assessed, and managed. We cannot get rid of dependencies, only manage them. As with other forms of management this is not a science but largely an art. Quality leadership is of the essence. Even the best possible institutional configurations will need maintenance, updating, and ongoing adaptation. This does not happen by itself. Good decisions can never be entirely derived from procedures and rules, legal, bureaucratic, or otherwise. Seeing, and understanding dependencies paves the way for sound judgment by leadership. Observed dependencies can be understood as negative, positive, or both. Good leadership requires sometimes riding the waves and sometimes building a wave breaker. • When Smithers, BC was faced with a changing community and a decline in forestry, mining, and agriculture, the town needed to reassess its assets and development path. Awareness of local history rooted in Swiss settlement, as well as geographic assets reminiscent of the Swiss Alps, made it possible for local leadership to be proactive and build on the existing narrative of a beautiful alpine village. In order to mitigate the economic impacts of industry busts, local leadership tapped into the tourism potential of this narrative, as well as the potential for distance working. This opened the doorway to a modest community of high-tech workers with a penchant for the outdoors. New arrivals were not necessarily tied to a European heritage, but were attracted by and improved upon the overall quality of the environment, and the assets preserved and built upon by previous generations. The older leadership was able to observe and manage dependencies in a way that allowed them to respond to changing circumstances and capitalize on assets, transforming the community without disrupting it. • Managing dependencies is integral to implementing strategy, and seeing these dependencies is essential for strategy-making. However, governance is complex and evolving, and the act of strategizing changes it. Thus, no one can map out dependencies comprehensively and then move on happily to strategizing and implementation. Management of dependencies is an ongoing business, and requires continuous internal assessment of strategy. Internal and continuous are opposed here to ‘evaluated at the end by consultants’. Ongoing strategy reassessment should include consideration of all tools available, reflection at each step on the way assessing quality of the tools to move forward in the strategy. Some strategy tools are useful but keep us on the same track, while others enable more innovation in governance. One can say that some tools, in a given context, enable path creation. As mentioned before, no tools have an inherent value in and by themselves, and all governance tools and institutions will naturally lose their edge through

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Boom and Bust: a guide

Profile for University of Alberta Extension

Boom & Bust: A Guide, Managing Ups and Downs in Communities  

Boom and Bust: A Guide is the result of a collective effort at the University of Alberta to better understand the dramatic ups and downs whi...

Boom & Bust: A Guide, Managing Ups and Downs in Communities  

Boom and Bust: A Guide is the result of a collective effort at the University of Alberta to better understand the dramatic ups and downs whi...

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