April 23, 2015

Succession Planning - Article by Patsey Moppett - 2015

Succession Planning 

The Succession Planning Workshop held by BMACHO in February at the Lithgow Mining Museum provided an opportunity for organisations and committees to find out the many ways to make their tasks easier and more effective and ensure their volunteers get the most out of their roles. (See Heritage January-February p.14). The day commenced with a tour of the museum site.

Lithgow Mining Museum workshops

BMACHO Vice President Ian Jack opened the proceedings. Those few who were able to attend were treated to very worthwhile presentations by the speakers, Emeritus Professor David Carment, Ray Christison, Lynn Collins and Tamara Lavrencic.

Both David and Ray spoke about their experiences in being on committees and their approaches to the success of their various organisations.

David Carment: David reviewed the principles set down by Museums and Galleries of NSW to assist organisations in their operations. He emphasized the importance of valuing the work of volunteers and encouraging their involvement, dealing with aging membership and finding people to fit the committee positions. Inclusion of fixed terms for positions and seeking people who have something to offer, may be key solutions.

Utilization of social media and sharing the load, are also ways to relieve the pressure. People have less and less time to be involved and to carry out the myriad of tasks required in a committee these days.

Ray Christison: Ray cover the topic under five headings, as follows:

  •   What is succession planning finding people to fill key positions on a committee to sustain the required functions of the group. In particular, finding a leader who will identify the problems and work to solve them. Ray quoted from Ben Chifley, “Rookwood is full of people who were indispensable”.
  •   Roles the roles in a committee range from a leader, administration, program management, tour guides, site/building management, museum development. The task is finding suitable people who can do each of these jobs.

BMACHO Vice President Ian Jack addresses the group
  •   Plan for the future the problem is broken down, deciding who does what. Divide the position and delegate tasks. The tasks can be carried out by volunteers, casual staff or contractors.
  •   Attracting volunteers the vision should be articulated. Sensible business planning should be undertaken, obtaining recognition for the organisation, creating a positive and creative environment for volunteers. Sometimes the facilities can be difficult for volunteers eg. heat/cold. Anticipate the benefits of participation. Network within the community. Keep exhibitions fresh, undertake projects that renew/maintain interest, for both volunteers and visitors.
  •   Alternatives use contractors for some tasks if possible. Identify roles and cash flow, sponsors and compliances with legislation. Expand the capabilities of the group and possible use a business model. Make use of existing assets such as publications, local businesses, social media. Decide how to access different sectors of the community and have a clear vision. Have a vision statement, and communicate effectively.
Lyn Collins: Lyn summarised their comments and went on to highlight the salient points relating to continuity, role sharing, rotation of positions, reviewing the provisions of the relevant constitution, employing outside expertise, the importance of having a strategy and undertaking social events, and redefining the tasks and roles required. He emphasised the social benefits and the sustainability of committees..

Tamara Lavrencic: Tamara was visiting from the Museums and Galleries of NSW, and explained the Standards Program. It operates for some 10 months of the year and has a regional bias. It is an opportunity to seek assistance for surveying collections, management, engaging visitors, caring for the collection. An independent reviewer is sent out to each museum. They act as mentor to the museum management. Many resources are available, including risk management, grants, setting up a website, and an advisory service.

It provides an opportunity for self review against the national standard.

Editor’s comment: It would appear that we need to take time out of our busy schedules to find the time to help ourselves. It is strongly recommended that all organisations seek out the Principles for the Recognition of Volunteers for a review. Organisations that adopt the principles would be sending out a clear signal to current and potential volunteers that their contributions are valued. (www.volunteering.nsw.gov.au ).

Ref: HERITAGE - Newsletter of the Blue Mountains Association of Cultural Heritage Organisations Inc - May-June 2015 by Patsey Moppett

For further reading see earlier post here

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