Friday, September 19, 2008

What's on your mind these days?

I’ve been doing a lot of listening lately.

In August I interviewed community bankers in places like Lancaster and Hershey, PA. They spoke with passion about customer service, enduring relationships, and opportunity. Values before profits.

I spent much of last week’s AASLH meeting in Rochester, NY, asking museum colleagues about their challenges and frustrations. And I got an earful. Which is what I had hoped for after agreeing to share a booth with Dale Jones, a Qm2 colleague whose work involves helping museums and sites make connections with their visitors.

Here’s a sampling of what I heard from the directors, educators, board members, interpreters, site managers, and CEOs who stopped by our booth:

My biggest challenge is...

  • Trying to get a dysfunctional board to develop a plan
  • A CEO who just doesn’t get it
  • Engaging the board, especially in fundraising
  • An inherited staff
  • Dealing with the “founder’s syndrome”
  • Getting return visitation from local, non-members
  • A community that doesn’t know what a treasure they have in their own backyard
  • Money

I wake up in a cold sweat at night...

  • Afraid that the project I’ve been trying to get going just won’t happen
  • Wondering how I can overcome the attitude “We’ve never done it that way.”
  • Thinking about my dysfunctional board—micromanagers who lack commitment
  • Worried about our poor/non-existent marketing and promotion
  • Feeling anguish over the closing of historic sites in the future
  • Because we’re undercapitalized

So, what’s keeping you up at night these days? And, more importantly, what are doing about it?

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