HOW CAN YOU BUILD A SUSTAINABLE
FUTURE FOR YOUR MUSEUM?
         MUSEUM CONSULTANT, CAROL SCOTT, USES AN INSTITUTION'S VALUE TO ACHIEVE MAXIMUM IMPACT WITH STAKEHOLDERS AND THE PUBLIC.
Carol Scott

Institutional value

Carol Scott - Sunday, October 06, 2013

Earlier this year I was invited to give a keynote address to the Leadership and Management Professional Practice Committee at the American Alliance of Museums meeting. My topic was the value of ‘value‘ for museum leadership.

 

It is a subject about which I am passionate. As I work with museum leaders around the world, I find that those who are most effective have a keen understanding of their own institution’s value and know how to leverage it to serve a variety of purposes. But there is a process to clarifying institutional value and it works best when the museum leader is its champion.

 

A leader has to create a space where the values of an organisation can be reviewed and discussed- examining missions and purpose, exploring what the museum currently stands for and envisaging what it wants to stand for in the future.


This space opens up a conversation about uniqueness- what distinguishes this museum from other leisure competitors and what does it do best? This is often the point at which staff and management become excited about the difference the institution can make and the impact it can have.  And it is also the point at which we take a hard look at what is feasible, depending on resources and capacity. The dividends that flow from clarifying institutional value can be considerable and include:

 A shared vision and sense of purpose that provides a simple and comprehensible reason for what the organisation does and how it does it.

  • Corporate (a) consistency (b) clarity and (c) efficiency that give people a framework for making decisions in alignment with the direction of the organisation as a whole.
  • Intentional planning that is focused on making a difference.
  • A results- based approach to measuring whether that difference has been achieved.
  • The authority to be selective-to focus on what we can do- (crucially important in the current economic climate where we are often trying to prove ourselves by doing more with less).
  • Authentic branding that is promotes our values as well as our programmes; and 
  • A connection with those sectors of the population who share those values.


Clarity about our institutional value gives us confidence to negotiate with the public, policy makers, funders and stakeholders. It is the bedrock of museums, the platform from which they operate.  Institutional value begins by looking inward- the better to look outward.

Comments
Stephen, the-freelance-editor commented on 07-Oct-2013 09:51 PM
Nicely stated Carol. I've worked with several institutions over the years, as well, though in more of an exhibit-related role (helping define goals and objectives, then helping compose and refine label copy) and even at that level, you can tell which museums have "value" and which do not. Perhaps more interestingly, you can tell which organizations even value "value" and which do not! Good post with LOTS of thought-provoking points. Thanks for starting the thoughts.
Anonymous commented on 14-Oct-2013 05:21 PM
Thanks, Carol. Words of wisdom. How can I sign up to follow your blog?

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