The former Director General of the National Trust explains how she took the Trust from an inward-looking, traditional membership organisation to being a highly engaged one, encouraging its members to connect and participate on many different levels.
In many ways, what we have been doing is reuniting that nineteenth century purpose with a twenty-first century sense of mission and rearticulating the values of the organisation in those terms.
But it has raised capability challenges. For example, some of our wonderful gardeners are not very confident about talking to people; some of our properties have to cope with really different demands from these different audiences who want quite different experiences; and from the organisation’s point of view, as we get bigger, four million members is an incredibly broad church, we have somehow got to manage that complex set of stakeholder relationships.
There is not just one answer. It’s important always to be creative and innovative and above all, to give our property managers the freedom to experiment and to engage, not to have one organisational top-down view.