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13.11.2019

Strategic support for Macrobert Arts Centre

Kathryn Welsh, Operations Director at the Macrobert Arts Centre

We approached Inspiring Scotland in the hope of finding some pro bono support to help our senior team to navigate a challenging time in our organisational development. Following a funding cut in the new year, we’d been reflecting on our priorities for the year ahead and refining our operations to support our ongoing sustainability.

Inspiring Scotland put us in touch with strategy consultant Catherine Brys. After some initial scoping conversations, Catherine held a long session with our Artistic Director and I, as well as one of our Board Members, and two staff members. She asked really insightful questions that made us think hard about our priorities for going forward, and it was really helpful to have an external person with us to stimulate thinking with (and between) various stakeholders in the organisation.

Off the back of that meeting, Catherine prepared a really detailed report and presentation for us, which focused on bringing staff along on the journey of change, mapping the customer journey and understanding customer expectations, and addressing barriers to change. As a result, we convened a Board finance committee, where we presented our aspirations for increasing our income generation opportunities, restructured a Management Team post to centre our focus on prioritising the customer journey, and held an all-staff meeting, which we used to gather wider input on the changes and build in a wider range of views.

As we got to know Catherine through this process, we realised her skills in facilitation and strategic insight could further support us in our development. After some detailed discussion, Catherine designed a framework for gathering insight from across the Management Team on their perspective and insight, and the challenges and opportunities of their role in realising the future of Macrobert.

She carried out one-to-one conversations with each member of Management Team, then curated and facilitated a full-day workshop for us. The day was thought-provoking, practical and highly engaging, and it was extremely useful to have an external facilitator to enable us all to participate in the process, as well as to bring new perspective and tools to inform our conversations.

The process hasn’t always been smooth sailing. As is always the case with organisations going through change, it’s sometimes been hard to find time and headspace to give to the big, strategic questions that we’ve been so keen to explore with Catherine. However, the time we’ve spent with her, her follow up questions, and even just the requirement to report to an external-but-invested stakeholder has been a real motivating force. I am certain that we’ll keep re-visiting the tools and discussions that we’ve begun with Catherine far into the future. We’re enormously grateful to Catherine for her thoughtfulness, skill and commitment, and to Inspiring Scotland for connecting us.

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