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A Tool for Cultural Organizations

Organizational Reflection Guide

Table of Contents

Getting Started

Reflection #1: “Who are we as an organization?”

Reflection #2: “How do we deal with change as an organization?”

Reflection #3: “How will we use what we’ve learned to make change?”

Getting Started

We suggest several ways to get started with reflecting on organizational culture and change. The toolkit includes resources to help you explore these topics more deeply. Knowing your organizational history and culture will help you with successful reflection and identifying how to do the work and make sustainable changes.

Take time for reflection with your team: 1) before beginning the process, 2) before starting the Self-Study Maturity Model and Workbook, and 3) before starting the Action Planning phase.

Reflection #1: Who are we as an organization?

Suggested questions for reflection before starting the process:

    • Why did your organization start this process?
      • Is the motivation from inside or outside (or both)?
      • How does this work align with your mission?
    • What do you know about your current visitors?
      • Where do they come from?
      • What are their basic demographics?
      • If they are local, are they representative of your community at large or do they represent specific sectors?
    • Have you identified visitors you would like to attract?
      • How do these visitors differ from your current visitors?
      • Are there organizations in your community that represent these desired visitors?
    • What are the resources we have for doing the work we do? What are the barriers?
      • People?
      • Money?
      • Physical assets: buildings, collections, landscapes?
    • What are the spoken or unspoken “rules” of our current organizational culture?
      • What things do we do because “that’s the way we do things around here”?
      • Are there organizational traditions that we hold sacred? Why are they sacred?
      • Who participates in the work of our organization?
    • How have we dealt with change in the past?

Now is a good time to use the Implicit Bias Discussion Guide as a team for the first time (we’ll suggest using it again at a later point).

Reflection #2: How do we deal with change as an organization?

Here are suggested questions for reflection before starting the Self-Study Maturity Models and Workbook:

    • How often do we make intentional changes in the way our organization does things?
    • Who makes the decisions? How are decisions made?
    • Who influences the decisions?
    • Who carries out the decisions?
    • If not intentional, how does change happen in our organization?
    • How do we know what we don’t know? What do we do when we need to find resources (people, money, information)?

Reflection #3: How will we use what we’ve learned to make change?

Here are suggested questions for reflection before starting the Action Planning process:

    • Where do we see our organization five years from now? What will be different? What will be the same?
    • What have we learned from the self-study that surprised us?
    • What things did the self-study confirm?
    • What do we agree needs to change? What will it take to make those changes?
    • What are some things we disagree on?
    • What do we need to learn more about before taking action on what we’ve learned?
    • How will we make sure that change is sustainable into the future?

Now is a good time for the team to do the Implicit Bias Discussion Guide again to see how this process has impacted awareness. If you want to dive deeper into diversity and equity with your team, you might try some exercises from the Social Justice Toolbox.

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