Arrogance is a weed that grows mostly on a dunghill*

During a 2013 meeting of the Minnesota Orchestra Laureate Society, the orchestra’s President & CEO, Michael Henson, declared that “blogs are senseless and must be ignored.” This comment was offered up within the context of the orchestra’s media coverage related to the season-long work stoppage. The Arabic quote serving as today’s headline was the first thing to pop into my mind when reading Henson’s quote; likewise, it didn’t sit very well with my Inside The Arts blogging neighbor, Bill Eddins, who thought it would be good to demonstrate the folly involved with such a statement by organizing a cross-blog event.

ADAPTISTRATION-GUY-164One thing led to another and within the space of a week, we collected a group of established blog authors alongside guest authors to come up with fourteen contributions focused on and/or inspired by on the Minnesota Orchestra lockout; the result of which is today’s Minnesota Orchestra cross-blog event.

My own contribution is simply this, a call to action:

  1. Share, like, tweet, and otherwise distribute one or more of the cross-blog event URLs throughout your social network.
  2. If you tweet, consider using the hashtag #MOA_CrossBlog (or perhaps #hensons_dunghill, you pick).
  3. If you write a blog or contribute to any sort of online media outlet, I encourage you to post something this week about the Minnesota Orchestra. Again, consider using the # MOA_CrossBlog to help keep everything together.

* Arabic proverb

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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22 thoughts on “Arrogance is a weed that grows mostly on a dunghill*”

  1. Drew, THANK YOU for this effort. There was a horrible full-page ad in yesterday’s StarTribune from the MOA mgmt which Scott Chamberlain described in his blog as exhibiting “elasticity of the truth”. Heavy-handed corporate PR. If anything has kept the cause alive it has been the amazing social media presence which has covered the globe for the past year. I couldn’t have participated as much if it hadn’t been for Facebook and email.

    BTW the Young Musicians of Minnesota were AWESOME yesterday at the MN State Fair. I am so impressed by their action and advocacy. There is hope!

  2. If Mr. Henson were to notice the color and amount of hair in his audience, he would perhaps understand that blogging and the like is the access to the next generation of patrons and is therefore essential to the future of the orchestra.

    • Thank you so much for taking part in the effort Cinda; however, we aren’t able to update the link lists for each new participant. Instead, use your social network to tie in as much as you can by using the hashtags. Likewise, be sure to send a trackback to this article and others so the respective author can approve and add it to the list of articles that link here.

      • Thanks for you efforts. If the management is so concerned, as they state, why has there been so little coverage in the Star Tribune over the past year? It really is an issue that the greater public does not know what is going on. There is a clear conflict of interest with the CEO of the paper also being an MO board member.

      • I don’t know if I’d classify the ST coverage as little; I do think they’ve maintained a steady stream of attention. To a certain extent, there’s only so much to report when there’s no new details available but it would be surprising if there wasn’t plenty of installments over the next 7-10 days.The conflict of interest issue is always one for concern and if nothing else, it demonstrates the value of additional media outlets as opposed to relying on a single, primary source.

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