What Do You Think [Blank] Gets Right?

Toward the end of the March, I’ll be publishing a pair of articles in conjunction with a bit of research* I’m doing vis-a-vis a presentation during the upcoming 2012 American Orchestras Summit, hosted by the University of Michigan (Mar. 21-23, 2012). I’ve invited a select cross section of managers, board members, and musicians to answer one of two straightforward questions.

Orchestra musicians were asked “What do you think Boards/Managers get right?” while board members and managers were asked “What do you think Musicians’ Unions get right?

Participants are drawn from a diverse pool that, once you get to see who they are, I’m certain most will agree are influential thinkers and posses a good deal of direct experience throughout various levels/locations of the field and within their respective stakeholder’s institutions.

They were asked to provide answers from respective experiences at and/or observing the bargaining table; meaning, they had to keep replies focused on ideology and the sorts of issues that are addressed during negotiation sessions and encompass stakeholder views as opposed to those from any individual.

Given the sheer quantity of open labor hostility at a higher than average number of orchestras, the Orchestra Summit presented a good opportunity to measure how stakeholders perceive one another and then see if the data produces any useful patterns and/or insight.

In addition to the responses from those I’ve asked, I’m curious to know how readers would answer these questions (assuming you fall into the respondent parameters). So how would you answer the question; what are the ideological strengths possessed by your opposite stakeholder group?

[ilink url=”http://sitemaker.umich.edu/orchestrasummit/register” style=”tick”]There’s still time to register for the Orchestra Summit and attend the presentation in person.[/ilink]

*Many thanks to Rob Simonds for planting this seed in my head.

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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