Experiment with us

by MiJin Hong, Director of Academic Affairs and Program Development, Getty Leadership Institute at CGU

As we come off our busy spring and summer seasons, we are turning our attention to our 2012 activities.  Along with MLI and NextGen, we hope to do an experiment or two and we seek your input.

What could we do—of moment—that would further museums and the leaders within?  Help us imagine/re-imagine and design/re-design a program/activity.  Create with us what may become GLI’s latest offering in service to the museum field.  Tell us what YOU think should be addressed, and the ‘how’ and the ‘why.’

In the coming months, I hope to engage you and be engaged.  Our practical goal is in 8 -12 months, co-create a prototype, deliver a pilot, and learn from the experiment for the next iteration. That’s it!

I’ll throw one idea out there…  What sort of meaningful work could the GLI do with headhunters?  It seems these days, a headhunter plays a critical role in the world of impressions for museum leaders—impressions to and from a board, impressions to and from potential candidates for a job.  Beyond what we all hear and learn, more or less, through our informal networks about the machinations of a ‘hire,’ how can one bring these conversations to the fore and offer value to all involved?

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4 responses to “Experiment with us

  1. Victoria Glazomitsky

    Hi MiJin and co.,

    I completed the NextGen program this past spring (hard to believe it’s already been 6 months!).

    This suggestion is specific to the Next Gen program. Your idea about headhunters led me to think about recruiting and hiring entry and mid-level talent (which is usually done without headhunters). In my program, we didn’t spend a great deal of time examining the issue of recruiting and . We spoke about methods for seeking diverse candidates, but it may be useful to have an exercise that focuses on interviewing techniques and sussing out red flags, as well as recruitment methods, particularly as I suspect some of us in the Next Gen program may have limited experience with hiring.

    Hope you are well and enjoying the Fall.

    Best,
    Victoria

  2. Right you are Victoria, and as we know from NextGen, leadership is important throughout an organization (and not reserved for only those at the top). We know the trouble of a “bad” hire and how long an institution can take to recover from such an ordeal. So how to make a good hire…

    In addressing this topic, what could we do together? What would be most useful and serve the field best? Is it simply to facilitate all of your good thinking and provide a means from which practitioners can share best practice? Perhaps a reference library of sorts?

    What say others?

  3. I worry about the lack of technical knowledge at the executive and senior executive level. I’m not talking about expertise, just basic principles about technology, which can range from cultural technological trends to philosophical approaches to technology acquisition, implementation, maintenance and support. The problem is compounded by a lack of specific technology positions advising executive teams on an ongoing basis and by a token “technology” board member, often the owner of a local for-profit technology company which may or may not be relevant to the needs of the museum. This has been a challenge since the mid-nineties, when museums started going online. Much of the technological development of museums since then, has been advanced by staff in their spare time or as part of their regular day job. The problem with that was and is, that museum executives have been trained to believe that technology is cheap, technology development happens piecemeal in specifically-funded projects and doesn’t require many resources or ongoing support and maintenance. The next big thing is digital publishing, so now I worry that museums are ill-equipped to make this transition in an economic or sustainable way, based on the cultural and fiscal issues surrounding it. I think it is crucial that you equip leaders with some tools to understand and address these challenges.

  4. This is very true and we‘ve been mulling over this leadership challenge for a while now. It comes up in every program.

    We find it’s difficult to address and present something uniquely useful when the field has such divergent experiences with technology, and wide-ranging perceived/felt needs.

    Perhaps it’s not about the “it”, acquiring technology, becoming an expert. That would be a static approach to an evolving, elusive set of capabilities. Perhaps it’s more as you suggest, being in the know, becoming more knowledgeable overall—and then constantly being refreshed.

    It seems to me that what one needs then is not just good counsel, but keen guidance—how best to distill the moving parts and direct a path forward.

    So if I can go a little further with this, is the solution to have a key, strategically-minded individual in an organization (be in the know) and grant this person the power and influence to disseminate knowledge come decision-making time? Is this enough? Perhaps it’s how best to make it the responsibility of all to understand technology principles and trends, and inculcate the director (or whoever is the uber decision-maker) and the organization as a whole?

    In any case, it strikes me that 1) the field could use constant refreshing of tech knowledge—knowledge being temporal, and 2) we need to experiment with how best to infuse tech knowledge so that it becomes a part of institutional life now and into the future.

    How to begin?

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