Story 11: Learning to Lead

Story | Print | eMail | Related Media | Archives

Sidebar: The Future Museum (1975)

Written by Mike Spock

In another McBer and Company museum climate assessment exercise, staff were asked to look several years into the future to describe the museum they hoped to see, focusing on: 1) what the museum would be in 1975, 2) what they would like it to be, 3) the strengths and resources available to help the museum become what they would like it to be, 4) major blocks or obstacles that might prevent that from happening, and 5) six actions or decisions that must be taken to become the organization they would like it to be. The section about major blocks or obstacles elicited the predictable mission, money, and board problems, but staff were quite consistent in their responses to two related and nested issue clusters: organizational leadership...

  • "Without a coherent, overriding institutional philosophy adopted by all concerned, we are lost as an effective force for change.''
  • "Unwillingness to make choices and focus energy."
  • "Lack of decisiveness and priorities clearly set..."
  • "Lack of direction...Not enough accountability."
  • " clear delegation of one knows with whom the final authority rests. Real doubt on the part of the staff that things can change."
  • ...and, museum leadership (me).
  • "Mike Spock's inconsistencies..."
  • "Mike's internal tugs toward both arbitrary authority and participatory democracy..."
  • "Lack of leadership/organizational clarity from Mike. I feel this personally and see it organizationally...he is a poor administrator...most of the frustration, searching, role obscurity and general fuzziness is generated mainly by Mike's shortcomings, his combination of ambivalence and strong mindedness, his shyness...and his hang-ups about authority (his own and other people's)...I don't think we can even address the rest of the museum problems decently until Mike gets [it] together and we or he cleans up all the role fuzziness."

Next: Sidebar: What was McBer?