Re-examining The Big Picture

Back in February, 2006 I published a four part series of articles which examined the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s strategic plan, called "A Bold Plan For Greatness." It seems Dallas isn’t the only orchestra looking to expand as the North Carolina Symphony recently released a strategic plan/capital campaign called "America’s Next Great Orchestra."…

It is interesting to see so many orchestras adopting strategic plans and/or capital campaign with such profound titles when in fact the only orchestra in the past five years to make truly stunning gains has been the Nashville Symphony Orchestra. Nevertheless, it is good to think big and put some risk into institutional growth and maximizing potential. Hopefully, the stakeholders in North Carolina are going to ask the same sort of questions and continually review the orchestra’s strategic plan benchmarks with the same sort of scrutiny that was used in the review of Dallas’ plan back in 2006:

Examining Dallas’ "Bold Plan For Greatness" – Conclusions | February 10, 2006
Examining Dallas’ "Bold Plan For Greatness" Part 3 | February 09, 2006
Examining Dallas’ "Bold Plan For Greatness" Part 2 | February 08, 2006
Examining Dallas’ "Bold Plan For Greatness" Part 1 | February 07, 2006

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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