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If You Can't Say It, We Can't See It: Why Museum Vision Matters

Postcard
  1. Tell a story that's compelling enough that staff can visualize the landscape once change is complete.

  2. Make sure your story's achievable.

  3. Be clear about the journey you'll take, and who needs to be on the bus. Back to the meeting: we received an explanation, but it was mushy and unsatisfactory, as if our leader sent the image of a beach at sunset, but left the back blank. Don't forget  vision provides focus. It's hard for staff to nest in the weeds when you're constantly moving forward. Your vision should have some meat on its bones; it needs to provide the "why" for your program, department or museum. Telling staff things will be better if they do X, Y, Z isn't enough. They're adults. Let them in on your thinking. Trust them. And last, and perhaps, most importantly, be prepared for push-back. Change is hard, harder for some than for others. Test your ideas out, do your research, experiment alone and with staff. If you aren't convinced, why should anyone else be? Today more than ever museum leadership needs to pull itself out of lame mediocrity. Invent. Experiment. Fail. But for goodness sake have a vision that matters. Joan Baldwin

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