1. Determining your identity

There is a saying by world-famous marketing specialist Simon Sinek “People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it”. He intent to say that human consumer behaviour is not driven with your product, or to say maybe some artwork you exhibited into gallery, but it is driven by main cause that inspired you to establish that gallery, run that gallery, and at the end bring that particular artist and his or her artwork to your exhibition space. Therefore, in order to be able to send your WHY at later stage, we need firstly to BITE focus on your organizational identity, as it is deeply rooted in it. Researches have confirmed many times over that companies that were seen as having a stronger identity outperformed other and tend to win. This stands not only for companies, but for mechanism of interaction found in any kind of profit or non-profit organization and institution, including cultural and artistic once. Statistics below further emphasizes importance of clear and well-defined organizational/institutional identity.

Associates want it
Attracts new talent
Consumers cares
Improves performance

Importance of identity for success of any kind of organization/institution

Process of drafting organizational/institutional identity of any cultural operator contains:

1. Determining your identity - introspective into the purpose of existence, principal values and objectives of the organization/institution;

2. Designing your identity – giving a shape and colour to the words defining your purpose;

Now, we are focusing on determining your identity, meaning defining your organizational / institutional VALUES, MISSION and VISION.

1.1. Values

These are simple, and practical inputs on how you can determine authentic organisation’s values.

Your values as cultural operator are your basic beliefs about what really matters, which guide your team, your employees and associates on how things should be done. They lie at the core of your organizational/institutional culture. Values are fundamental, enduring, and actionable. Driving priorities and decisions, values help determine how an organization spends its time and money.

  • Values are the glue that holds everything together

  • Values are the language of an organization.

  • Values create highly enthusiastic workers, dramatic profits, and legendary reputation among audience for your organization/institution.

When developing your organizational values, keep in mind that:

  • - Values need to be AUTHENTIC.

  • - Each cultural operator should find its values by its own way, as there is no straightforward way to define your values.

  • - It is not enough to define them; you need to live them upon.

Process of defining your values might goes in following steps:

Organize a bonding event for your team, preferably somewhere outside of your gallery or exhibition space, where you will discuss your purpose. Going outside can help your team losing their mind about everyday tasks.

Set a meeting or workshop and ask them to write 10 most important organizational values in their opinion, and then to rank top 5 with marks from 1 to 5, with 5 being most important value to them. In order to boost their thinking, provide them with the following questions (of course, feel free to change and draft your own questions):.

- What’s important to us?

- What brought us all together and continues to hold us together?

- What will help guide us when we are facing a difficult decision?

- What are the things you like about what we do at our cultural/artistic organization/institutions and how we do it?

- What parts of our organization/institution are we proud of?

When you finish, list these top 5 values of each person on the paperboard or something similar in accordance to the venue, group them and in plenary try to agree on the working name of each value. Now, separate these values on equal share and give each person a task to write a sentence or short paragraph about the value they were assigned. Upon that, read these sentences/paragraphs out loud and discuss with your team to see what they feel about them. Try to summarize conclusions from discussion in one statement per value everyone would stand for. Here are some questions to help you refine your value statements:

- Is this something we’ll still believe in 5 years? 10 years?

- Is this something that we are willing to choose our employees/associates/artists on?

- Is this something we can apply to relations with our stakeholders/donors? Or internal development? Or development of the exhibition program? Or all?

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