The Leadership Revolution Agenda

The Leadership Revolution Agenda for History and Cultural Heritage Museums

“Through me. By me. This has become a mantra I have adopted and acts as a leadership moral compass. Anything that needs to be accomplished has two ways for that to happen. I can facilitate it happening by empowering and supporting others to do it, or I can do it myself. Quality leaders definitely understand that there needs to be a healthy blend of these two approaches in order to be fully effective.”

William Powell, The Leadership Advisor

We hope this book will spark a leadership revolution among our history museum colleagues. In order for that to happen, personal commitment is required and a road map might be useful.

There is no question in our minds that in order for leadership training and development to become a widespread priority in the history and cultural heritage field, it must be addressed in a coordinated way on a variety of fronts, through you and by you. If history and cultural heritage museums are to thrive, not merely survive, now is the fragile, vulnerable moment when the field’s emphasis on leadership must become as important, if not more important, than issues of collection care, building preservation, and educational and public programming. Without forward-leaning, mission-driven and intentionally entrepreneurial leadership, no amount of collections care, building preservation or programming will be enough to secure a museum’s future.

As we hope we have illustrated, the art and act of leadership is both deeply personal and necessarily public, involving an institution’s board and staff leaders, as well as those charged with training and developing the field, and those with capacity to fund advancement of the cultural sector. The following agenda is an amalgam of directives from our previous research for the Museum Association of New York on leadership and succession planning and from our current research for this project.

  Leadership Revolution Agenda
For Individuals Recognize your leadership development needs and articulate them to those who can help you meet them.
  Seek opportunities now to take leadership responsibility in order to grow and expand skills. Practice new learning whenever you can. Prepare for serendipity.
  Advocate for leadership training and development at your institution.
  Assist with or take responsibility for leadership training and development activities for your team, your department, your volunteers, or if you’re the lone professional, for yourself.
  Mentor others in need of leadership skill development.
  Encourage your graduate programs to offer leadership training and mentoring opportunities to alumni and/or to communities of practice in the field.
  Encourage your professional associations to offer leadership training, mentoring and development opportunities.
For Institutions Realize that it is not your job to maintain the status quo. The job of institutions and their leaders is to make a difference.
  Encourage institutional commitment to developing all its human capital – staff, board, and volunteers. Have high expectations of those charged with developing leadership.
  Consciously and consistently nurture leadership within boards and staff by creating and implementing written individual development plans and succession plans, and making space for leadership to take root and flourish.
  Support cross-functional experimentation and learning within and among institutions for board and staff to learn and expand leadership skills.
  Develop boards that support leadership training and development at all levels in the institution; that understand the particular professional development needs of the emerging leader and lone professional, and that will encourage the use of existing tools to educate themselves and/or senior staff about leadership training and development.
  Use board development committees to regularly assess collective and individual leadership training and development needs at the board level, and to develop boards that represent broad knowledge and are committed to forward-leaning leadership overall (convergent, multi-dimensional, agile, and in-tune/in-touch).
  Ensure equality in hiring, promotion, access to leadership opportunities, and compensation.
  Insist upon institutional support of the emerging leader and lone professional, and the diversification of governing boards.
  Make allocation of resources for leadership training and development for staff and board a priority.
  Make safe and sizeable spaces for practice and failure.
  Understand that perfection impedes progress.
For Professional Associations Heighten awareness of the need for leadership training, standards, and development by emphasizing it in existing professional development programs and in institutional assessment programs.
  Focus on leadership training and development as a key ingredient in building healthy history and cultural heritage museums.
  Expand commitment to leadership and succession planning education for boards.
  Develop, facilitate, and/or promote leadership training and development opportunities for boards and staff in collaboration with graduate programs, independent training organizations, and/or nonprofit consortia.
  Promote equality in hiring, promotion, access to leadership opportunities, and compensation through collaboration with graduate programs, allied associations, collection and dissemination of research, and training.
  Insist upon competitive pay, institutional support of the emerging leader and lone professional, and the diversification of governing boards.
For Graduate Programs Introduce leadership training and development into all course work.
  Promote internships and other opportunities for students to gain cultural leadership and entrepreneurial skills, perhaps from outside the field.
  Collaborate with training programs across the nonprofit sector to share expertise and offer training opportunities.
  Create scholarship programs specifically for leadership development.
  Develop mid-career leadership opportunities in partnership with museums, museum professional associations, nonprofit consortia, and funders.
  Work with the field’s professional associations to develop and deliver leadership training and development opportunities.
For Funders Work with the field and individual institutions to support the development and implementation of museum leadership development and training opportunities as key elements to organizational capacity building.
  Focus on board and staff leadership development with special funding initiatives, such as sabbaticals and other opportunities for staff to immerse themselves in leadership development.
  Support equality in hiring, promotion, access to leadership opportunities, and compensation through collaboration with graduate programs, allied associations, collection and dissemination of research, and training.
  Insist upon competitive pay, institutional support of the emerging leader and lone professional, and the diversification of governing boards.

 

 

 

 

 

 


3 Comments on “The Leadership Revolution Agenda”

  1. […] At a presentation on Leadership Matters Tuesday, May 20 at 3:15 pm. If you can’t be there or if you are there, but don’t want to waste paper, here’s the link to our Leadership Revolution Agenda. […]

  2. […] The Leadership Revolution Agenda […]

  3. […] The Leadership Revolution Agenda […]


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