Join The Discussion

There’s a fascinating comment thread discussion going on at the The O’Riley Factor (no, not that one) article here from 1/31/2011. Christopher O’Riley (yes, that one) posted a comment that started what I think is a very useful discussion about how both parties in a labor disputes distribute official information and details that come from unofficial sources. There’s a good bit about the distinction between a musician’s position and the musicians’ opinion…

Sometimes those are one in the same, there are times when they somewhat overlap, and they can also be mutually exclusive. Labor disputes can be tricky in this fashion in that frustrated musicians are more likely to speak out in any one of a number of growing public forums whereas board members and administrators are still far less likely to go down that route.

Social media serves as a doubled edged sword as it facilitates dissemination of official statements and positions but it can also be used for the contrary. If you’re an outsider looking in, telling the difference can become confusing in short order.

Fortunately, we can use this new media platform to help everyone get a better idea of how to navigate those waters in order to learn more about a situation and form your own opinions. Checking out the comment thread mentioned above is a great place to start.

Once you’ve had a chance to go through that material, I’m curious to know what sort of questions and/or observations you have. These discussions are not dissimilar from the sorts of discussions I have with board members and musician representatives via my consulting work so don’t be shy, send them in and I’ll get answers/replies out in short order.

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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