Steve and Wendy image

A good museum makes
“a positive difference in the quality of people’s lives.”
Stephen E. Weil
Making Museums Matter, 2002


From Wendy Luke


“Be specific about what someone has done and the impact they have made when you thank someone for a job well done. Otherwise, the two of you may hold entirely different thoughts about what was done well.”


At its best, staff development is an ongoing partnership between management and employees where all take ownership and responsibility. Typical tools used in staff development include, among others:

However, staff development can and should encompass a variety of other programs and approaches. I:


“Wendy Luke's knowledge and expertise on career development brings understanding and a clear voice of reason to the table for professionals who are serious about making a difference in the arts and museum fields.”

Lori Gross
Associate Provost for Arts and Culture
Harvard University
Former Director of the Museum Loan Network


“Wendy worked with 20 emerging professionals to learn what they wanted and needed next in order to further their careers and help their institutions. The information she gathered clarified our focus.”

Kim Igoe
Executive Vice President
American Association of Museums


Position Descriptions

In Good to Great, Jim Collins wrote that good leaders “get the right people on the bus, the right people in the right seats, and the wrong people off the bus.” Up-to-date, accurate position descriptions are an essential tool to identify the right seats, get and keep the right people on, and move the wrong people off your bus. They help managers:

Re-evaluating and rethinking position descriptions are particularly valuable undertakings during difficult economic times such as these. When positions have been reduced, defining or redefining responsibilities and expectations upfront allows you to move to being fully operational in the shortest time period. Clarity at the beginning of the process results in the biggest payback.

Having written position descriptions for many organizations, I know the importance of obtaining input from both employees and managers, crafting and formulating the descriptions so that managers and employees actually use them, and, equally important, educating them on how to use the descriptions effectively.

Employee Handbooks

The goal for your employee handbook is to communicate and educate your employees and managers on the museum’s brand and culture; its mission, vision, and values; and its policies and benefits. It should be easy to read and use – and always up to date. A comprehensive review of your policies, practices, and procedures should be conducted in response to:

Even if you think nothing has happened to provoke a review, use a guideline of every five years to conduct a comprehensive handbook review.

Making sure that the tone of your handbook is consistent with the voice of your institution, and understanding that a handbook is most often used when there are problems, are both critical to creating a handbook that is instructive rather than obstructive. I offer a fresh perspective, a solid understanding of human resources policies, practices, and procedures – and an established track record of ensuring employee handbooks communicate brand, culture, mission, vision, and values.

“Wendy wrote our employee handbook in 2004. In 2008, as our team-based culture solidified, the world of information technology expanded, and employment laws and regulations changed, our employee handbook needed updating – in content and in tone. Wendy easily identified what changes to make, and made this usually arduous process much easier.”

Kathy Dwyer Southern
President and CEO
National Children’s Museum



Compensation/Total Rewards

It’s not just a job, a title, the compensation, or the benefits that attract and retain employees. Increasingly employees are looking for total rewards: work/life balance, performance and recognition, and development and career opportunities. The museum field is now recognizing the trend, which began in the for-profit sector, to design more flexible programs that have special appeal to each generation in the workforce. For instance, in broad generalities, the Boomers live to work, the Xers work to live, and the Millennials demand balance. More specifically:

I can:

Performance Management

Performance management is an investment in your staff. Sounds easy! But this is not a natural gift with which many managers are born. Most need to be trained and coached to ask open-ended questions and listen to understand. They must both believe in and commit to providing timely feedback and establishing goal-setting. As Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman wrote in First, Break All the Rules: “Great managers excel at holding up the mirror.”

During training and coaching, my clients learn to make performance management a priority by putting it on their calendars and following up with me to reinforce the results they’ve achieved. They learn that making an upfront investment in their staff makes their own job easier as they meet their goals, obtain the culture they want, and build a healthier organization.