And Just Like That…

…we’re in the last throws of June! The past 2 months have been so busy I’ve had to leave my website and blog to their own devices. And my own advice to take time for myself, be mindful of my own capacity went right out of the window! I have vowed to be better at practising what I preach and in that spirit, I’ve pressed pause on my workshop schedule until later this year.

In amongst all that busyness, I completely forgot that I passed an important milestone in April – 1 year successfully self-employed! Yes, my little consultancy is 12 months old, although it feels both as though it is still brand new and as though I’ve been doing this forever at the same time. Which in a way I had.

It’s 20 years ago now that I made a sideways move into the heritage sector, starting off as a lowly museum assistant in the Almonry Museum in Evesham. That beautiful 14th Century building and it’s eclectic collection utterly captured me and I decided this was the place, the industry, I could call my “work home”.

I left there after 8 years having successfully written a £1.4 million bid to the Heritage Fund, raised visitor numbers and profile, improved collection care and steered it through Accreditation, twice. We can neglect to shout about our achievements, and it’s good to take stock of them every now and then. Consider this my shout!

Prior to the Almonry, I hadn’t worked in heritage at all. I had no experience of it beyond being a visitor. But I had worked in finance, hospitality, sales and education, so I was bringing to the table a whole range of skills that proved invaluable.

Recently, I’ve been delivering some training for Share Museums East and a topic we’ve dealt with is diversity in the workplace. How do we stop our teams being homogenous, unrepresentative, filled with the same sort of people with the same sort of ideas? The answer is relatively simple: we open ourselves to new approaches.

It was only because the team at the Almonry were willing to take a chance on someone with no experience in the sector that I got the job and yet so often I see job descriptions asking for ‘relevant experience’ which automatically brings the assumption of relevant museum experience. That caveat immediately limits who will apply for the role, which in turn limits the candidates who will apply and, finally, limits our opportunities to bring new thinking to the room.

When we draft that next role description, have yet another discussion about recruitment, we should ask ourselves if we are just aiming for the low hanging fruit, i.e. the people we know will ‘fit in’ with the team. Or are we willing to work a little harder, aim a little higher and bring some real change to our organisations?

New ideas bring new life to an organisation. It can be challenging but it can also create new synergies that, in turn, create new ways of growing our organisations, making it more resilient. Why wouldn’t we want to embrace that?

As I mentioned at the beginning, my workshop schedule is on pause so I can focus on clients over the summer. I am going to be reducing my hours right back in September as the wedding date looms large, but the workshops will be back in October with some old favourites and some new ones to whet the appetite. My newsletter will go out in mid-July with more information, so if you want to be in the know, email me at tcollettconsultancy[@] to be added to the mailing list.

Have a wonderful summer. May your visitor numbers be healthy, your volunteer rota full and your board happy. Remember to take some time off for yourself too!

Published by Tonia

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