Assessing Cultural Confidence As Seasons’ End Approaches

The latest polling cycle indicates cultural confidence levels are sinking slowly as the percentage of respondents indicating they believe economic conditions by the end of the season will be poor increased by the largest percentage since early February. Nevertheless, it is interesting to note that with only several weeks left in most orchestra’s 2008/09 season, almost fifty percent of respondents indicated that current economic conditions will slip from “only fair” to “poor” during that time span…

With only two more cycles remaining in the cultural confidence poll, it will be interesting to see if the confidence gap between the outlook on current and future economic conditions will close or if general anxiety will subside. Given the fact that many orchestras have concluded or are actively engaged in dialogue with stakeholders about temporary adjustments to compensation, that might help ease some concerns since it is fair to assume that to a degree, uneasiness is easily fueled by the fear of the unknown.

The charts below illustrate the confidence gap between respondents indicating they feel current economic conditions are currently “only fair” to those who believe they will be “poor” by the end of the season.

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

Only time will tell but in the meantime, take a moment to cast your vote in the current polling cycle: VOTE NOW.

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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