Friday, June 14, 2013

Back in the Saddle

MY LAST POST WAS NOVEMBER 2012, A LIGHT YEAR AWAY it seems, that marked the beginning of a long push toward completing a manuscript on history museum leadership with my co-author, Joan Baldwin.  We finally submitted 350+ pages to our editor at Rowman & Littlefield this week.  If all goes well, we expect the book to be available in early 2014.  It's taken us two years to get to this point, so six more months or so of revision and production don't seem too long to wait until we can hold the final product in our hands (and you can, too!).

The project put a lot of things on hold, including this blog.  I'm glad to be back writing about intentional leadership -- leading by design -- for nonprofit boards and staffs.  Certainly, my thoughts are now informed by the forthcoming book, in which Joan and I posit that nonprofits need to focus resources on leadership, not just management.  Most cultural nonprofits are at a crossroad, as is the sector in general, where nothing is quite the same except the need (and even needs are greater, deeper, more serious).  This is a time not just for sound management, but for exceptional, forward-leaning leadership.

Leadership is nurtured in organizations that are continually open to learning -- learning through self-assessment, trial and error, and adapting across industries.  The common argument cautions that because our margins are too tight, our staffs spread too thin, it's impossible, even wasteful, to purposely pursue ideas and actions that weren't absolute sure things.  Does that really get us anywhere?

This is a time to hone our pursuit of the calculated risk and the educated guess to support visions and missions that truly make a difference to the audiences and communities we serve.  And that can't be done by hiding behind hidebound traditions, dated stereotypes, and some notion that it's okay to just muddle through.


POLS 4710/5710 said...
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Debra Beck, EdD said...

Welcome back! We've missed you! I'm so glad to hear more about your forthcoming book. It sounds like an incredible contribution to the conversation about nonprofit leadership. So timely - and so needed right now. Fantastic news!

(The earlier deletion was mine - I logged in from the wrong account.)

Anne W. Ackerson said...

Hi, Debra --

Glad to be back. The last year (and really the last seven months) have been full steam ahead with this book project. My writing partner and I interviewed 36 history and cultural heritage museum leaders (all levels and ages) - their interviews form the centerpiece around which we created chapters looking at leadership (what it means, where it comes from, why it's needed now more than ever, how much it's undervalued despite the need, etc.). Lots to think about!

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