One of the chief complaints I have about this business is its apparent inability to establish an appropriate frame of reference. For example, things change slowly in the world of orchestra management, so slowly that it seems like even an evolutionary timeline measures change in smaller intervals.
Adequate levels of adaptation have been absent for so long that even the slightest introduction of change is heralded by some as “significant progress”. Unfortunately, business dictates otherwise; you can’t catch up by moving slower.
Blog neighbor Andrew Taylor published a great piece the other day that is a representative example of this issue, complete with catchy title: Building Stale Metaphors in Stone.
In that piece, Andrew describes the mentality behind how new Performing Arts Centers continue to design box office space with an old mentality,
In the olden days, box offices were centers of cash transactions, requiring high security, complete isolation between tellers, and immovable blast walls between patron and staff. Even though the cash transaction is all but gone for ticket purchases, the metaphor remains: we are secure, we are separate, we are transactional, we don’t trust you…get in line.
The problem here should be right in front of our collective noses but the business has been shoving its head in the ground for so long it can’t even identify some of the problems which should have obvious solutions.
There’s plenty of talk about wanting to become inclusive, reaching out to the community, etc., but what’s being done to let the community in?
Sometimes I get the feeling like the business is gathered on the deck of the Titanic and everyone is cheering because we only “grazed” the iceberg