The Ethics of Interpretation – Choosing to make a difference

A friend and colleague in Panama recently posted a question that caused me to think more deeply about a conservation issue. It seems a private zoo owner had attempted to move about ten percent of the remaining animals of a rare and endangered species from their natural habitat in Panama to his zoo collection inContinue reading “The Ethics of Interpretation – Choosing to make a difference”

Running of the Bulls in the U.S.?

I will never forget a sunny Tuesday in July four decades ago in northern Spain. We drove into Pamplona at daybreak and gathered in the street by the town council building with hundreds of other young men in white outfits with red sashes, berets, zapatas and other adornments. José, my Spanish compadre, and I wolfedContinue reading “Running of the Bulls in the U.S.?”

Try to Remember – Keep a Journal

I am reading Undaunted Courage  by Stephen Ambrose and the wonderful journals of the men on the Voyage of Discovery from Washington, D.C. to Oregon coast with Lewis and Clark left us amazing accounts of their journeys. Where would we be without journals? It was ornithology class in college that made me start keeping aContinue reading “Try to Remember – Keep a Journal”

Training Guides to Interpret

We were walking down a path through a beautiful botanical garden many years ago and our guide was talking over her shoulder with only a few able to hear. When she stopped she would start talking and not wait for the group to gather. When asked a question she could not answer, she pulled aContinue reading “Training Guides to Interpret”

Five Ideas to Engage Your Audience

When I have the opportunity to speak to a group, my challenge is to find the most bored and tuned out person sitting in the audience and get him or her more fully engaged with whatever subject matter I’m presenting. Given that I’m usually trying to influence audience members to move toward greater stewardship ofContinue reading “Five Ideas to Engage Your Audience”

Five Ways to Build a Strong Membership

Twice in my career I have run membership organizations. In each case building membership was important to our work. And I learned a lot about that from others who had been building membership successfully for years. These are five of the better tactics for building and retaining a strong and lasting membership in my experience:Continue reading “Five Ways to Build a Strong Membership”

Learning from Failure

I once had a government job as a manager with a small direct-report staff and responsibilities for training more than 200 employees. I was called into my supervisor’s office and asked to stop talking about mistakes I had made and failed business efforts. I was destroying employee confidence in me it seemed. Our corporate cultureContinue reading “Learning from Failure”

Not all those who wander are lost . . .*

Phil Hewlett and David Packard of HP fame suggested that “management by walking around” is an extraordinarily useful tool for seeing how operations are going in the workplace. Just getting out and seeing how your employees are working and interacting with each other can tell you far more than staying in your office and onlyContinue reading “Not all those who wander are lost . . .*”

Five Reasons Why You Should Have an Interpretive Plan

I cringe when I hear the words Ready-Fire-Aim used to describe the planning approach that many organizations use in developing new programs and facilities. I cringe because it was my favorite approach thirty years ago. I simply had no planning experience and it seemed reasonable to try something, anything, and hope it would work. FundersContinue reading “Five Reasons Why You Should Have an Interpretive Plan”

Who’s really in charge – power, authority, or influence?

Think of the last time you had a dinner party. Perhaps your spouse invited the boss and his family and now you’re faced with figuring out the menu. You ask your spouse what to serve, and he or she says, “It doesn’t matter, you decide and I’ll be fine with that.” Okay, you’ve been givenContinue reading “Who’s really in charge – power, authority, or influence?”