A Little Mission Related Humor

Revising mission statements seems to be all the rage these days and an increasing number of orchestras have accepted the task of forging a multi-syllabic laden treatise to define how they one day hope to see themselves. But creating a mission statement chocked full of language capable of impressing even the most ambitious musicology doctoral candidate isn’t a one-day exercise; until now…


>From the always sharp mind of Scott Adams (and developed by David Youd) comes the Mission Statement Generator. Throw away your thesaurus because all you have to do is ask the program to generate a generic mission statement and then use the built-in tools to refine adjectives, adverbs, nouns, and verbs.

Finally, insert a few words from standard orchestra nomenclature and you’re finished. Here’s an example of one I came up with this morning while finishing off my coffee:

We have committed to collaboratively promote value-added concert events that leverage multimedia based technologies so that we may efficiently foster and improve the long-term, high-impact quality of life for our community and set us apart from other world-class ensembles.

Add several more paragraphs like the one above (no less than five need to be dedicated to outreach and education activities) and you have got yourself a slick new mission statement. If you do a good enough job, you might even get to lead your own seminar on the topic at the 2007 ASOL convention!

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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