A community of consultants helping museums and cultural nonprofits. 
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Qm² Insights: Learning Organizations
The hallmark of great nonprofit organizations is their passion for getting better at what they do. They always seek to improve their performance and results, even when they are already deemed successful by others. Qm² has developed a host of tools to help you create a "learning organization."
Entrepreneurship in Historical Organizations
by John Durel
Published in History News, the magazine of the American Association of State and Local History, Spring 2009

It seems almost preposterous to describe historical and cultural institutions as entrepreneurial. The popular view of an entrepreneur in America can be seen any month on the cover of Inc. Magazine. Young, smart, ambitious, hard driving, probably living in California, with a bright idea or new product that will make millions. Not the kind of people one usually finds working in archives or at historic sites. Read more.

Curiosity and Discipline: Reflections on the Words of Jim Collins
By John Durel

This briefing was published in Hand to Hand, the journal of the Association of Children’s Museums in the summer of 2008, following a talk by Jim Collins at ACM’s annual meeting in Denver in April. It focuses on two key concepts: curiosity and discipline. Read more.

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...and Others Don't - by Jim Collins 
Reviewed by John Durel

Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies - by James Collins and Jerry Porras
Reviewed by John Durel

De-Briefing A Project or Event or Situation
by Will Phillips

Here are the design parameters that help make a debriefing a learning activity. Doing good debriefings and disseminating the insights quickly and deeply throughout the organization are one of the sure signs of a learning organization. Read more.

Managing by the Numbers
by Will Phillips and John Durel

The numbers reveal the business. Managing by the numbers drives the business. This briefing outlines concepts and a process for using KPIs - Key Performance Indicators - to shape your decisions and actions. Read more.

Strategic Recession Budgeting
by Will Phillips

Use this briefing to prepare for a coming economic downturn, before it is too late. Read more.

For More Productive Email
Implement these simple procedures in your organization to streamline email.

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference - by Malcolm Gladwell
Reviewed by John Durel


Increasing Work Flow Productivity
by Will Phillips

As organizations grow in complexity the number of problems increases. Managers, naturally address and solve these problems by creating systems, policies, procedures, forms and informal work rules. In most cases, the overall system grows piecemeal and is not well coordinated or well understood. The result is a work flow that is usually inefficient and often ineffective. This briefing outlines a procedure for work flow analysis and improvement which is quite simple and extraordinarily effective in improving the coordination, communication and control between the different elements of an organization. Read more.

Too Much To Do
by John Durel

When someone feels too busy at work, it may not be because there actually is too much to do. It may be due to a lack of focus. Either the individual does not know how to get organized and attend to the most important matters; or the organization itself has no clear direction. Another cause of feeling too busy is a lack of energy. Some people are energized by their work, others are drained. Read more.

It's Time to Start a "Stop Doing" List  
by John Durel 

You have a "To Do" list. Now it's time to start a "Stop Doing." Read more

The S Curve
by Will Phillips

The “S” curve depicts a paradox of growth. A paradox which sets a trap for the unwary. Read more

Why Changes in Organizations Do Not Succeed and How Managers Can Manage Change Better
by Will Phillips

Life and work is full of change. When organizations become involved in change, there are many barriers which will impede it. This management briefing will address some of the major barriers. Understanding these barriers can help you understand the difficulties of change and address the barriers in a productive manner. Read more.

Mission AND Profit
by John Durel

Most nonprofit organizations have little trouble in coming up with new ideas for programs or services. The needs of their constituents are so great, and their own desire to create and serve is so strong, that the staff and volunteers can always think of more to do. The challenge is not to come up with new ideas, but to choose the best ideas. How do you determine what is best for your organization? Read more.  

Innovation and Discipline
by John Durel

In great organizations leaders are both highly disciplined and entrepreneurial. Here is a way to assess the leaders in your organization. Read more.

Increasing Efficiency
by Will Phillips and John Durel

Healthy organizations must blend a spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation with discipline and efficiency. Innovation without discipline may lead the organization to take unwise risks and waste precious resources. Failure to keep an eye on efficiency saps resources that could otherwise be used for innovation. Management’s challenge is to integrate these two forces, which at times are at odds. Read more

Getting Results
by John Durel

Many leaders, who are very good at seeing the big picture and acting strategically, fail to create organizations that perform effectively day-to-day. The visioning and planning are excellent, the results are merely okay. Read more.

Designing Nimble Organizations for a Changing World
by John Durel

There once was a time when cars were only for the rich, Mickey Mouse was just a cartoon, Japanese products were cheap, and accountants used adding machines. Then along came Ford, Disney, Sony and IBM. These successful companies did not wait for the future to just happen. They were pioneers. Their leaders built strategic organizations that were able to respond to opportunities and shape the future. Read more

The Second Agenda
by John Durel

Every major project should have two agendas. The first is to create something of value for your constituents, to produce an service, product or program. The second is to use the project to improve the ways the organization as a whole gets things done. Read more.

Collaboration -- Negotiation
by John Durel

If you are going to collaborate with other nonprofit organizations, you need to know how to negotiate. Read more.

Be-Know-Do: Leadership the Army Way
By Frances Hesselbein and General Eric K. Shinseki (USA Retired)
Reviewed by John Durel


A Whole New Mind: Moving From the Information Age to the Conceptual Age, by Daniel H. Pink (2005)
Reviewed by John Durel


A Museum Disconnect: Program and Board Development
By John Durel

A decade ago a major museum in the Midwest underwent a dramatic change in the way it developed its exhibits and public programs. Seeking to bring new voices and diverse perspectives to its offerings, it reached out to its community through collaborative projects, roundtable discussions, focus groups, and the like. The staff became adept at listening to and working with constituents. Outside participation became the norm for program development. In the case of the Midwestern museum, while the staff changed, the board did not. As the leaders of the change departed, the museum drifted back to more traditional programs and exhibits. Read more.

Learning and Leadership Style Assessment
Management invariably involves people working together to accomplish goals. Many of the challenges of working together arise from the fact that people are different in fundamental ways. By understanding these differences people can often better accept differences between themselves and others. This is an instrument which helps people see their differences. Read more


Just a quick note to thank both of you for all your assistance in making the Museum's strategic thinking effort productive. Although the process has been lengthy (and is still far from over!) and sometimes difficult, I strongly believe that it has been extremely helpful and healthy for the Museum staff and curators.

--Jeremy A Sabloff, The Williams Director University of Pennsylvania Museum