What Is Your Reputation In The Business?

One of the byproducts of a business that has grown considerably over the past few decades is a sharp increase in the quantity and quality of administrative positions. To that end, there are more and more professionals who spend their entire careers inside the field. So let’s have a little fun with that concept; assuming you spend the bulk of your career in the business, what sort of reputation are you known for…

This is a particularly apt exercise in today’s economic climate because regardless of which department you work, (development, finance, marketing, ops, etc.), the day after day challenges of managing debt and improving efficiency can make it difficult to pop your head up and take a look at the long view.

So do yourself a favor today and ask yourself what you want to be known for.

And don’t approach this like some sort of touchy-feely life coaching exercise about writing your own epitaph being delivered by a speaker in a bad suit in an even worse meeting room at the stereotypical low budget airport hotel. Instead, be honest with yourself and don’t over-think. Just consider what type of professional you are and then calculate whether you’re on the right track toward building or maintaining an enduring reputation. Write out all of your thoughts and when you’re done, start scratching them out one by one until the list is whittled down to one or two points or all of those individual items are pointing to a single conclusion.

I’m very curious to know what you come up with. To that end, leave a comment; it doesn’t particularly matter if you’re anonymous or not for this article, and feel free to use the following format as a guide:

  • Your department:
  • Years in the field:
  • What are the one or two things you want your career to be known for:
  • Where do you think you are in that goal:

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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