Solving Field-wide Problems Together

How do we engage collaborators in shaping our institutional agendas? How do we create 21st century boards? How do we develop transformational employees and systems? How do we maximize the field’s value in the eyes of the public?   Answer: Together.   Last year, NAS brought the participants of The Chief Executive Program together at an ideation conference to collectively work on solutions to the four problems listed above. We shared our framing of those issues here in hopes of starting a conversation about them. Now, we want to … [Read more...]

Resolve to Take Back Your Time

Photo: Jeff McNeill via flickr

I don’t have time to exercise because I’m too busy.  I can’t spend time with my husband because I’m staying late at work.  I won’t be able to see a doctor until February because I’m never free on Mondays. How many times have you used a version of the above statements? Chances are, you tell yourself or someone else “I don’t have time for that” on a daily basis. My life changed when I decided to stop thinking about my schedule as filled with commitments the universe has shackled me to, but rather as choices I’ve consciously made about how I … [Read more...]

To Be (a charity) or Not To Be, That is the $40 Billion Question

Lincoln Center offers the country's longest running free outdoor festival, according to the organization's website.

Editor's Note: With "Comments We Can't Ignore," we addressed the need to more effectively demonstrate the value of the arts to the general public in response to Robert Reich's "What 'charity' should really mean." Here, Marc Vogl offers his thoughts on charities and tax policy. Reich makes a surprisingly baseless charge when he says that the tax deductions claimed by people giving their money to charities is a $40 billion hand out  "going largely to wealthy people who use much of it to enhance their lifestyles.” He takes an illogical leap … [Read more...]

Comments We Can’t Ignore

A seed library for community use is housed at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History.

This week, a guest column by Robert Reich entitled “What ‘charity’ should really mean” appeared on the Christian Science Monitor's website. In his column, Reich challenges the idea of tax-deductible donations to arts organizations, arguing that these deductions primarily support the lifestyles of the wealthy. Reich’s article highlights that we have serious a public perception problem. Either we are not doing enough work to share the arguments we use to demonstrate our value to those outside the bubble of our field, or we need to develop a … [Read more...]

Making the Argument for Leadership Development

Linda Wood, Senior Director of the Haas Leadership Initiative at the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, recently wrote an interesting post on The CEP Blog of the Center for Effective Philanthropy, "The Leadership Development Disconnect." Working both in the field of leadership development and on program evaluation, I was encouraged to see these important issues highlighted. Much of my experience is consistent with the author’s. In the post, Wood states: "…not enough funders are investing in strengthening the leadership of their grantees. And … [Read more...]

Change Leadership Lessons in the Gettysburg Address

photo: Mr. T. in DC via flickr

At the sesquicentennial of Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, Marketplace spoke with Nancy Koehn (Harvard Business School professor and faculty for the NAS Chief Executive Program) about leadership lessons in the iconic speech. Koehn notes elements of the address that make it a great example of effective change leadership, including succinctness, framing, acknowledging the stakes and, perhaps most importantly, candidness about costs in service of a larger mission (she cites Howard Schultz's response to a Starbucks shareholder's concerns … [Read more...]

Getting Unstuck: Developing Skills to Climb the Leadership Ladder

photo: inspiredhomefitness via flickr

Many great thinkers in our field have discussed the complexity of talent development and succession planning in the cultural sector. Marc Vogl, who works with arts and culture organizations in his role as Principal of Vogl Consulting, aptly describes the problem as a clogged and leaky pipeline. Basically, there are a small number of leadership positions at the top, often held for many years by the same people (that’s the clogged part) and therefore more junior employees are stuck at their current level, growing increasingly tired of waiting … [Read more...]

Evaluating to Increase Impact

Photo by Jori Ketten

Evaluation appeals to my intense curiosity to figure out how and why things work and don’t work. Many high performing organizations that I have come to know generally use a combination of formal and informal evaluation to build learning loops towards increasing strategic success. That is, they hire experts to increase internal knowledge and staff capabilities and to work with them on particularly complex inquiries, where it is critical to understand the elements on which a program will fail or succeed. And, they look to their staffs to … [Read more...]

Media Logic

I’ve been doing some extra reading on social media, online marketing, and online experiences as we prepare for our first presentation of Digital Strategies in Denver in October. One of the readings we are using, “Can You Measure the ROI of your Social Media Marketing?” got me thinking. The authors surface the classic problem in marketing: how do you demonstrate that specific communications tactics generate the sales, visitors, new audiences, new donors, and other business results you want? What got me thinking was the shape this problem takes … [Read more...]

Cleaning Out Our Closets

Closet

Recently I was cleaning my closet and came across several  items that no longer fit well or had long  since gone out of style – yes, I am either “that old” or styles change rapidly, take your pick.  I wondered why I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of those clothes.  I am an organized and reasoned person so what was holding me back? And then I began to wonder if programs are like clothes in our closets, which was a great distraction because it kept me from dealing with the problem at hand.  But think about it: we buy things that reflect who … [Read more...]