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Reynolda’s Plan for the Future

[2009]
An impact-driven organizational planning project with an historic house and art museum
Reynolda House Museum of American Art, Winston-Salem, NC

Reynolda House Museum of American Art asked Randi Korn & Associates, Inc. (RK&A) to lead an institutional planning process among the Museum’s board of directors and staff of thirty-five.  Reynolda House, an historic house and American art museum affiliated with Wake Forest University, deliberately sought an alternative approach to traditional strategic planning.

How did we approach this study?

One of the planning project goals was to lead an innovative planning process in which Reynolda House staff and board members worked collaboratively.  The RK&A approach to planning began by clarifying impact, a process that is both innovative and collaborative, during a one-day workshop among twenty-five Reynolda House staff and board members.  The process is intended to clarify the ultimate effect a museum has on its community.  In facilitated discussions and small group exercises, RK&A culled information from participants to begin crafting Reynolda House’s intended impact. 

Reynolda House’s impact states: Those who experience Reynolda House Museum of American Art are inspired to learn, imagine, and find meaning in the art collections and historic site.  The Museum has a mission statement that defines what Reynolda House does.  The newly developed intended impact provides a companion statement that clarifies the result of what Reynolda House does.

What did we learn?

Reynolda House experienced the value of clarifying impact—to provide a new focus for institutional planning.  The impact statement guided staff and board members to identify strategic priorities in advance of important milestones: the centennial of the historic Reynolda estate and 50th anniversary of Reynolda House Museum of American Art.  By using impact as a key element in long-range planning, staff and board members identified institutional priorities that could inspire visitors to learn, imagine, and find meaning, in addition to those necessary to fulfill the Museum’s mission and vision.  Impact helped Reynolda House be more intentional, enabling staff to pursue the Museum’s intended result.

Reynolda House also experienced an unexpected benefit of clarifying impact.  The Museum faced difficult decisions resulting from the financial crisis, necessitating a focus on short-term decisions while continuing to plan for the future.  In response to this challenge, Reynolda House used the Museum’s impact statement as a guidepost to make difficult, pressing decisions.  Reynolda House’s impact statement empowered the Museum’s staff and board members to immediately respond to economic uncertainty with greater clarity, purpose, and intent.

 

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