People First: Building and Leading a Successful Team

Professional Forum
Douglas Hegley, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, USA, Anne Bennett, Toledo Museum of Art, USA, Brad Dunn, The Field Museum, USA

What is the single most important thing that great leaders do for their organizations? The answer: Hiring. (Attributed to Eric Schmidt of Google, but also uttered by leaders everywhere).

On the surface that simple answer may sound fairly easy to apply, but how do cultural heritage organizations actually measure up? This professional forum brings together experienced leaders from digital and technology departments, who will share details about their respective approaches to talent strategy and building effective teams.

The panel will cover:
– How to evaluate talent
– Skills and experience versus attitude and aptitude
– The hiring process: from job description through recruiting, interviewing and decision-making
– The on-boarding process for new hires
– Assessment tools to understand individuals and ensure alignment (e.g., The Predictive Index, Strengthsfinder)
– Employee engagement and retention – keeping the great ones
– How (and why) to move the “bad apples” out
– Team-building, collaboration and trust
– What to do when institutional culture holds you back

Each panelist will demonstrate how they have applied what they’ve learned over the years – both successes and failures will be discussed (with no names attached, of course). Attendees can expect an open discussion and active debate about the “best way to do this” – after all, not every organization or leader takes the same approach.

This session is designed to be meaningful and useful for a number of different MW attendees, including: current leaders, soon-to-be or aspiring leaders, and those who are looking to get hired into strong organizations. Attendees will learn real-world information about how leaders in our sector evaluate talent, evolve organizational structures, develop staff, form teams and empower those teams to be successful. Attendees will be able to take away practical knowledge about talent strategy that can be applied to their own organizations and professional careers.

Aasholm, C. (2014). Talent – Hiring is the most important thing you do. Chapter 3 of "How Google Works" Consulted September 28, 2016. Available

Hegley, D., Tongen, M. and David, A. (2016) The Agile Museum. Museums and the Web 2016: Selected Papers and Proceedings from Two International Conferences. N. Proctor and R. Cherry (eds.). Museums and the Web.

Murphy, M. (2012). Hiring for Attitude. McGraw Hill.

“The Predictive Index” Consulted September 27, 2016. Available

Rath, T. (2007). Strengths Finder 2.0. New York: Gallup Press.

Ready, D., Hill, L., and Thomas, R. (2104). “Building a Game-Changing Talent Strategy.” In Harvard Business Review, January-February 2014.

Spolsky, J. (2007). Smart and Gets Things Done. New York: Apress, Springer Science+Business LLC.