You Don’t Want To Be “That Guy”

One of the most useful methods an aspiring manager can use to become a good manager is to learn from the examples of others; and by examples, I mean blunders. Thankfully, the internet has made this a much simpler task by making many of the goodies once shared only during face-to-face exchanges available for all to enjoy on a year-round basis. Case in point, Jason Heath’s blog post from 2/24/09 that recounts an instance where a manager with no artistic training gets caught up in a classic bear trap. Jason lays out the events in a way that is sardonically amusing yet loaded with useful knowledge on how to avoid becoming the arts management equivalent of “that guy.” So read, enjoy, and send it around to your circle of arts administrator friends.
Lay some knowledge on me!

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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