Full Blown Retreat Mode

I’m in Rochester, NY for the next two days taking part in the polyphonic.org strategic planning retreat. Given all the attention focused on strategic planning issues here over the past year the next few days hold a great deal of promise.

In the meantime, stop by Brian Dickie’s blog: Life as General Director of Chicago Opera Theater. Brain does a really wonderful job at offering up an inside glimpse into the inner workings of a performing arts ensemble. There’s no saccharin coated propaganda here; instead, he presents a nice combination of the current Chicago cultural environment as well as some intriguing personal insights into classical music.

Along with Joe Patti’s Butts In Seats blog, it’s hard to find more sincere offerings into this little corner of the arts management world.

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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