Diagnosing The Problem – Short and Sweet

Fellow AJ Blogger Tyler Green posted an article this week where he sums up one of the leading problems with non profit management in two succinct sentences:



“The best non-profit administration is done in private, so seemlessly that no one outside senior staff and the board knows what’s really going on. That makes it all the more fascinating when a non-profit completely messes it up “


And orchestra management is no exception.  This sort of conduct often gets people into more trouble than it’s worth – I like to call it “Nixonesque” behavior.


If you don’t regularly read the culture weblogs here at Arts Journal, you should take some time over the weekend and give them a read.  I’ve learned more about graphic art, dance, television, pop culture, and architecture in the past year than I have in the past ten.  You’ll find a list of them on the navigation bar to your right, or visit the AJ Blog Central page.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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