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Management

Managing your team and your board – strategic human resources, teams, governance

Inciting a Free for All: Empowering staff, breaking down silos and changing a culture

Matías Tarnopolsky, Director of Cal Performances, arrived at a time when the organization faced substantial internal and external challenges. His response was to created the Fall Free for All – an open house of free music, dance and theater performances – that gave staff a chance to work together on a large-scale project and reconnect with the community in a meaningful way.

What are some lessons from your experiences leading change?

During his tenure as Director of the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center, Charles Desmarais led the organization through the design, construction and relocation to a new facility designed by renowned architect Zaha Hadid. Now the president of San Francisco Art Institute, Desmarais reflects on the lessons from that period of radical change.

What advice do you have for relatively young organizations?

Debra Zimmerman, Executive Director of Women Make Movies, talks about staying focused on the mission (even when if it means saying “no” to money), giving your constituents a voice, motivating staff and capitalization.

How does an organization manage the succession of its founder?

Andrew Walker, Director of the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, stresses the importance of establishing strong communication with the board and with the community.

Brainstorming Effectively

Brainstorming can be a powerful tool to help your team effectively generate ideas. In the Design Thinking process, it is used in the Ideation phase – after you have gathered information about the people you want to serve and are ready to formulate ideas on how to best address the problem at hand. As with any tool, how it is applied can make all the difference. Brainstorming can lead to mixed results, however we suggest that leading a group through this distinct process will yield the best outcome.

How should cultural institutions approach change?

Aaron Dworkin, Dean of the School of Music, Theatre & Dance at the University of Michigan, discusses the importance of thinking about oneself as a social entrepreneur rather than an arts administrator.

Creating a Sustainable Management System

After years of incremental efforts to reduce energy use and be more sustainable, the Denver Zoo decided to take a more strategic approach. The result has been not only a system that will convert more than 90 percent of their waste into usable energy but also a culture of innovation among the staff.

Brainstorming Effectively

An homage to instructional films of the late 1950s, this tongue-in-cheek short by the NAS team looks at the trials and tribulations of running a brainstorming meeting and outlines some useful techniques.

What is your approach to succession planning?

George Sparks, President and CEO of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, stresses the importance of creating a sustainable system that cultivates leaders.

How have you engaged your staff to cultivate new leaders?

George Sparks, President and CEO of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, talks about the executive’s role in helping staff members create a plan for the future.

What advice would you give to leaders thinking about succession planning?

George Sparks, President and CEO of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, suggests that leaders hire people who will push them and to openly discuss their plans for the future.

What does sustainability mean for arts and culture organizations?

Laura Zabel, Executive Director of Springboard for the Arts, suggests that an organization is simply a tool in service of the mission.