What Executive Directors are Looking for in a Music Director

following is an outline of the points provided during the “What Executive Directors are Looking for in a Music Director” panel from the 2012 Conductor’s Guild Conference, Thursday, January 5, 2012. Panel: Stephen Burns, Drew McManus, Donald Schleicher, Jeff vom Saal (Moderator)

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Do An Internal Audit Before Creating Job Descriptions

  • Identify institutional strengths and weaknesses in areas where Md duties and responsibilities might overlap.
  • Determine probability of retention for administrators attached to each characteristic.
  • Embed results into Job Description and interview process.

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There’s Due Diligence And There’s Due Diligence

  • Everyone (yes, even the professional recruiter/headhunter/consultant you hired) has an agenda; make sure you know what it is.
  • There’s no such thing as “the truth” – learn how to use data convergence.
  • Apply double blind test conditions to due diligence; ask an equal number of subjects on every side of the fence.
  • You’re going to need help; hire someone to check up on your headhunter.

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Find Easter Eggs

  • MD candidates ask to see the collective bargaining agreement and/or express an interest in learning about your work environment and why certain clauses exist.
  • The candidate knows s/he applied for the position.
  • Candidates express interest in creating quantifiable set of performance evaluation guidelines for administrative duties and responsibilities.

[ilink url=””http://adaptistration.com/hi-lets-talk” style=”note”]Questions about anything above? Then get in touch :)[/ilink]

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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