What Are You Proud Of?

One of the unfortunate realities in this business is a lot of really fine work passes by without anyone noticing. Sure, we all see press releases about big news but the reality is much of those headlines wouldn’t be possible without the cumulative impact of all the smaller goals and accomplishments that really contribute toward making a good organization great. So, let’s see about rectifying this today, shall we?

The idea is simple, what I want is for everyone out there who works in a performing arts organization (manager, board member, and musician alike – even CEOs) to submit a comment describing one or more of your accomplishments from the past season.

Let's see how many responses we can get, take an extra moment to share this around your social circles.

This is one instance where I want to remind and encourage you to take advantage of posting an anonymous comment. We all know that speaking out in a public forum about your arts organization job when you aren’t a spokesperson or the CEO isn’t exactly the best way to make friends and influence supervisors, moreover, who wants to look like they’re wallowing in the crapulence of their own inflated sense of one’s personal status.

I get that, I really do but this is precisely the set of circumstances where playing the anon card is called for. You don’t have to use your name or mention your organization but I want to read about what individual stakeholders are proud of when it comes to their work.

A few simple rules:

  1. Don’t mention anyone’s name without securing their permission.
  2. Don’t post press releases, links to press releases or newspaper articles; that isn’t what this is all about.
  3. No shilling, name dropping, or unctuously servile behaviors.

There’s no deadline so post a comment whenever you wish and don’t be shy, post a comment with at least one thing you and/or your department were proud to accomplish this past season. At the very least, it’s good to take stock of your efforts and achievements. Or if you’re one of those folks with a debilitating sense of humility, then forward along a link to today’s post to one of your colleagues and encourage them to send something in. You never know, maybe they’ll write something about you.

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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0 thoughts on “What Are You Proud Of?”

  1. My accomplishments are mostly administrative and especially organizational in nature:

    Filed the incorporation documents with the state;
    Wrote the bylaws that were substantially adopted by the board;
    Registered with the IRS to obtain an EIN
    Filed the 1023 to obtain tax exempt status;
    Set up the checking account;
    Secured the fund accounting software and installed and configured it (set up chart of accounts and reports);
    Collected the fundraising and audience contact information from all available sources and entered it into the fundraising database;
    Did the routine bookkeeping and treasury functions.
    Reported all this to the board in ways they can understand.
    Now we’ve hit the fiscal year end; time to file the first 990!

    Thanks for this. I didn’t realize how much I had accomplished until i started to make a list. I usually focus on the huge backlog remaining! I feel much more optimistic now.

  2. Like Sinbad, I am proud of my accomplishments this year in setting up a new organization. In particular, I am very proud that we raised enough money to pay all of the expenses for our first season. For a new organization in a rural area, in this economy, that is something I am very proud of!

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