Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Friday, 27 July 2007

Last day at school!

During our last morning, Arvind Bhambri continued his lecture on strategic alignment and renewal. Looking at the question of what a new director can do, Arvind pointed out that often in a new role, a director will be confronted by issues that need immediate attention (usually issues that will have been inherited.) These are issues that are best taken care of immediately and since a new director is still in a honeymoon period, there is some grace allowed in terms of effecting change.

A director will then get to know her team and direct reports. This is a time to identify where the current challenges reside, and where the question: What can i do for you? should be asked. Also a crucial time for laying the ground for trust and establishing a sense of the director's leadership.

We looked at how Strategy implies Actions:

To survive in the present, short term actions are required

To create a new future, actions are taken, stakeholders are tapped, alliances are built and audiences are created/recruited.

We further discussed the concept of slipstreaming, where you target your efforts to where the ratio of impact will be maximized.

In strategic thinking, we need to think about:

potential competitors



complementors (whose existence increases the value of what you have)

Here, you work with the following question: Are there some services or products in our institution that enable some other supplier or stakeholder to add value to us? (this needs to be a mutually beneficial relationship where the equation also adds value to the complementors.)

In my mind, Arvind's session was the most informative and useful in terms of allowing me to rethink some of my own approaches, as well in terms of providing some very useful examples of how to work more strategically in a community environment. Arvind was thanked with a spontaneous standing ovation from the whole group when he concluded his presentation. We were all impressed by his extremely clear thinking, his ability to synthesize complex questions and to help us focus our own critical thinking.

During the last part of the afternoon, Phil Knowlen helped us to reflect on how we can try to maximize the benefit of our re-entry into our work environments. We also went around the room and discussed how we will integrate some of what we have learned during the last three weeks. A colleague commented that what we have received represents a mini-MBA in arts administration. I concur!

Tonight, closing dinner at the Getty followed by poolside entertainment. I move out tomorrow morning! It's been swell! The team here has been wonderful and the program itself more than i had anticipated. Great work, Getty crew!

Thursday, 26 July 2007

Strategy alignment and renewal

An excellent session today with Arvind Bhambri who started the discussion by asking how we can start taking a long view of ourselves and our institutions. We spent the better part of the day analysing a very successful company. What was clearly outlined here: if you acknowledge your environment in the context of your strategy and organizational process, you can keep constantly changing to stay ahead of the game. In that light:

-look at where you are now;
-look at where you will be in five years, and
-look at where you will be in ten years.

In that respect, a leader can ask his team:

1. What our your strategic challenges?
2. What will competitors do to keep ahead of us?
3. What is your strategy to stay on top?

The example discussed refers to how this dynamic director institutes a program that he names work out the design premise of which is that all organizations are doing a lot of unnecessary work and that you need a process for identifying work that has no value. By instituting a method of feedback from employees, you encourage a system where a great majority of suggestions for change can be implemented, resulting in an improvement in the confidence level of the organization. You start by asking the question: "If there is something that can be done that will improve how you work right away, what would that be?" This actually results in people being able to constantly redefine the work that they do.

This could make for the start of an interesting discussion at our next staff meeting. How do we start a discussion to look at how we can work better, more effectively?

Following this discussion, we moved onto a case study of a U.S. museum that was able to successfully work its way through of a difficult and tenuous position thanks to strategy and collaborative work. Very interesting day!

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Marketing strategy & External influence skills

We spent Monday and Tuesday discussing marketing strategy with Punam Anand Keller. We compared how a Traditional Marketing Mindset(TMM) does not fare as well as a Social Marketing (SM) approach:

TMM: the foundation on which all else rests: "I know this is a good idea."

SM: "Is this a good idea? Do YOU think this is a good idea? What do YOU think of this idea?"

TMM: "Let me tell you why this is a good idea."

SM: "Tell us why YOU think this is a good idea. Why is this a good idea?"

TMM: "Once I convince you this is a good idea, let me urge you to act."

SM: "Tell me how this can become a good idea for you."
"Let my offering urge you to act."

Today, we spent the morning studying external influence skills. Two resource persons with extensive experience assisted us with a very useful exercise which allowed us to consider a number of issues that are valid in terms of media relations for museums these days:

-how do you use new media to assist in reaching new audiences and to leap over traditional and more mediated structures;
-how do you cultivate journalists so that you engage in the creation of a discussion/dialogue surrounding your institution;
-recognizing that reporters may try to destabilize you during an interview, be prepared to offer various aspects of your story in different parts;
-prepare your own list of what will probably be the major issues a reporter may delve into, prepare your responses to what could be the most difficult/embarassing questions beforehand;
-also, be ready to refer them to the best person in the organization to take specific questions;
-answer for yourself beforehand: why do these people want to meet with me? what should i expect them to ask?
-learn how to "pitch the story", since this is a finely-tuned art,and, finally, we discussed the uses of "off the record", "deep background" and "background" as different responses to specific questions.