Monday, 11 August 2014


My archive had a strategic planning meeting yesterday. I must admit, I was a bit hesitant going into it - corporate team building-style strategy workshops I've attended in the past have felt like a bit of an exercise in making upper management feel good. This, however, was a pleasant surprise.

My archive is run by a large, varied group of volunteers. Some act as heads of departments - one archives paper records, another works with photography, one runs an oral history interview programme and so on. Others help out every week in particular areas - there's an indexing group, a pool of receptionists and reading room volunteers, and people who come in and help with archiving and cataloging (I fall roughly into the latter group, but I'm a bit of a special case - more on that later). There are also plenty of people who sit on steering committees and apply for funding and all that sort of jazz.

Anyway, so for this meeting, we had a pretty good cross-section of all of the above. The whole thing played out in four parts:
1.) Everybody individually wrote down their ideas for the next five years under six different headings (what we stand for, public image, funding, expansion, leadership, and membership sustainability).
2.)  We collated our ideas under each heading on separate bits of paper.
3.) Everyone got a whole lot of little red stickers - three per heading. We voted by putting a sticker by the top three ideas we liked under each heading.
4.) Any idea with less than three votes were crossed out. We then voted again, with little blue stickers, for the ideas that remained.

By the end, we had a reasonably solid, prioritised list of things we wanted for the next five years. Some of the results were interesting.
  • Employing paid professional staff rated quite highly as a priority for both expansion and leadership.
  • Considering that the room somewhat resembled a Grey Power meeting and my cries of 'more social media!' we greeted with the same look one would expect of a request for using more witchcraft, I was pleasantly surprised to see social media gained a reasonable portion of votes. So, too, did a desire to get more young people on board. As the only person in the room under thirty (possibly under forty), I'm now head of social media and the key contributor to ideas for attracting young people. Yay!!!
  • A desire for more education and school programmes also rated really highly.
  • Initially I was shocked how few votes some of the ideas for iwi involvement were getting. But, by the end, a reasonable portion of the room did favour multicultural membership. I think the use of te reo in some of the ideas scared off a few older members of the group; which is sad, but I think with a younger audience will come more modern ideas. Onwards and upwards.
  • It was good to see that what people want us to stand for is, indeed, generally speaking, what we already stand for. 
So now, for new adventures. I left that meeting with more ideas than I can count. I'll be in charge of setting up and running our social media, and I'll also be spokesperson for all the 'young people' we want involved. I'm also (somehow) 'co-champion' for the whole strategy process - I'm partially responsible for making sure the meeting wasn't all talk. Exciting times.

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