Change management is a really fascinating subject and a critical one for any organisation.

All organisations are continually undergoing change (even if no-one is consciously aware of it). However there are times when everyone is very aware that things are fluid, that change is happening all around them.

MTG Hawke's Bay Museum has been going through change for a long time and this fact is very much in the public domain and staff consciousness. We'll also continue on the path of change for the immediately foreseeable future.

There are lots of changes to what our visitors experience and see at the museum and we're pleased that feedback is overwhelmingly positive. Some changes are not obvious to the visitor but feed into the tangible changes they're experiencing. These changes are in staff culture, processes, priorities, decision-making frameworks and so on.


For example, moving from a design focus to a visitor focus directly affects our decision-making around what exhibitions to hold and how to display them. So while this background change is not visible to visitors, the direct results in what they encounter at the museum certainly are.

Change is also messy and often not very easy. Everyone is more comfortable with things carrying on as they are - with the familiar - and it takes time and energy to make changes. At every step of the way, whether adding something in or taking something out, processes and systems no longer match the new situation. So it can feel uncomfortable, particularly for those who appreciate more clarity and structure. Sometimes though, depending on the circumstances, change needs to be a very fluid process and things need to be tried and tested before they are locked into place.

It can also be a challenging and often lonely place leading change. I'm incredibly grateful to the museum staff, who are all on this journey with me. I know it isn't easy and that I ask a lot of them but I also know we're really making a difference. With every point of change (big or small) we go through a period of chaos but always emerge better than before. It can be hard at times when we head into one of the messy periods to keep our eyes on the big picture. It helps to stop and reflect on where we've come from and celebrate the steps forward we've made.

One of the more fascinating aspects of change for me is the large gap between reality and perception. When things change, be that an organisation or an individual, there is always a lag between the time the change occurred and the time others become consciously aware of it. This is a particularly dangerous time in the change-management process.

It can be very easy to lose heart in this period and think that achievements are going unnoticed. For anyone undergoing personal change or taking an organisation through change - this is the moment to hang in there. Don't give up. Eventually perception catches up with reality and it really is worth the effort.

• WWI Voices, Harcourts Hawke's Bay Arts Festival, 8 October 11:00am. Century Theatre. Tickets $15 available through Ticketek
• Calligraphy demonstration with Stan Chen, 9 October 11:00am. Free event
• Calligraphy workshop for children, 9 October 1:30pm. $12 per child
• Calligraphy workshop for adults, 9 October 3:30pm. $20 per person
• Word Murder, Harcourts Hawke's Bay Arts Festival, 12 October 7:00pm. Century Theatre. Tickets $15 available through Ticketek
• SolOthello, Harcourts Hawke's Bay Arts Festival, 13 October 7:30pm. Century Theatre. Tickets $39, $35 concession, available through Ticketek