transform to survive

Transforming museum specialists and academics into entrepreneurial, innovative and business focused leaders – facing up to the challenge of reduced government support and income and increased costs and the pressing need to raise funding

Business situation

The museum faced issues of funding and expenditure, namely:

  • it was prohibited from charging entrance to the public from 2002
  • scientific funding was becoming more and more competitive
  • remaining an attractive educational destination as well as an international scientific institution in the 21st century was a significant challenge
  • meeting these challenges within the existing restriction of the building and the style of scientific leadership was understood not to be an option
  • developing a 'new agenda' while maintaining quality, academic rigour and governance was a deeply held concern.

Activity and intervention

The key elements of the programme were:

    • a culture and values audit
    • the engagement of the senior team to define the museums’ mission, vision and values and develop the process of ongoing culture change
    • creation of a steering team, consisting of senior managers to design the collaborative communication process and a leadership development programme
    • delivery of organisation wide consultative workshops
    • implementation of the leadership programme incorporating an engagement process comprising a personal current skills assessment, a 360° assessment from staff, peers and manager; each participant had a meeting with our consultant interviewer to pull together a systematic learning plan
    • delivery of six one-day development modules which were challenging and participative, using a variety of learning methods, venues and expert speakers
    • facilitated learning sets developed from the modules and issues which arose from ongoing client reviews.

Outcomes achieved

  • an ongoing commitment to culture change and organisational improvement
  • the acknowldegment that the vision has been translated into more practical strategies and plans – seen as the main deliverable of the leadership group
  • an ongoing willingness to harness the creativity and skills in the museum by coaching and developing their staff
  • a more focused, risk-assessed decision making process reflecting the desire to eradicate bureaucracy and waste
  • a significant move toward changed behaviours and a growing number of individuals taking responsibility and being accountable for their roles rather than simply debate and theory.

“We resisted the urge to do this on our own and thank goodness we did! Even if we had achieved many of the outcomes we would not have done so in anything like the timescales”