Chaos Is Good For Business

The month of September, 2012 was Adaptistration’s highest traffic month. I posted a tweet indicating the news over the weekend and it generated a wonderfully wry reply from Detroit Free Press music critic Mark Stryker: “Chaos Is Good For Business.” And the reality is that yes, by and large conflict draws more attention than good news but as I took a closer look at the metrics, I uncovered this fascinating gem:

The single highest traffic post in the month of September was a good news article.

In particular, it was the post from September 3, 2012 that simply examined highlights from the National Symphony Orchestra’s recently ratified non-concessionary four year collective bargaining agreement.

Grinding The GearsThere was no conflict and no excerpts of stakeholders bashing each other about in press statements over the degree of improvements. Granted, the post likely generated increased interest as a result of concessionary conflicts at other orchestras but in the end, it still managed to generate the most traffic of any individual post last month.

Meaning, it beat out posts announcing the Indianapolis Symphony and Atlanta Symphony lockouts, the Chicago Symphony micro-strike, Jacksonville Symphony declaring an impasse, San Antonio Symphony musicians filing an unfair labor charge, and Atlanta musicians’ subsequent acceptance of the concessionary terms. Simply put, that’s not an easy task.

Moreover, September 3, 2012 is unusual in that it was one of the very few days where more than one article is published. The second, titled More Good News, was a brief post highlighting the news from the Seattle Symphony’s recent fundraising success.

So give yourselves a firm pat on the back for demonstrating that although conflict does garner interest, it doesn’t mean good news is glossed over entirely!

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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