Crafting A Clear Message

Keep It Simple Although it has become fashionable over the past few years to focus on creating elaborate mission statements, that doesn’t mean bigger is always better. On one hand, conducting a thorough institutional self evaluation can produce a multitude of positive results. Yet on the other hand, attempting to put each of those results into words via a mission statement can complicate the task of communicating core values. Recently, Holly Mulcahy published the second article of a two part series which compares the Slow Food Movement to classical music. She does an excellent job at illustrating how many problems they have in common such as public perception, relevancy, and branding and she talks about how the Slow Food movement managed to successfully build international cohesion around a simple set of core values. All in all, both articles are well worth your time: Part 1 and Part 2.

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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