It should come as no surprise that we create our own demons but avoiding the bear traps gets a little easier when someone takes a moment to point them out. To that end, Holly Mulcahy published an update at Neo Classical to her wildly popular series of parody fueled articles from 2008 and 2009 about the Top 10 ways stakeholders alienate the audience.
There are no sacred cows here and even though she comes at the topic from the perspective of an orchestra musician (she’s concertmaster of the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera), her own stakeholder group receives the same amount of attention as executives, music directors, and even other audience members.
The updated list includes three new entries for each group but since we focus on the admin side of things here, let’s take a quick peek at the executive offenses (my personal fav is #1):
- Want to look like a savvy and witty executive? Nothing says “I’m a successful leader” better than a good stiff drink in one hand while the other hand flags down a waiter for the next drink. Everyone knows that alcohol gets the lips loose, and in your case you prove that your wit mixed with a good G&T is exactly what the richest donors want to see and hear! So have a double, and another. Be sure to not eat, that would be cheating.
- Casual Friday should be every day. A relaxed and comfortable executive team invites a sense of calm. Don’t ever wear a suit or a dress, don’t even bother with a name tag badge at events. Assume your donors and patrons will see that keeping an informal and laid back appearance will bring your whole organization a sense of tranquility. Everyone wants to be tranquil, right?
- Complain to and blame everyone: People need to understand just how hard you are working and just how underappreciated you feel. Be sure to blame anything and everything on anything you want! You want to appear like you’ve put thought into your position, and complaining and blaming just proves your commitment.
In the full version, Mulcahy steps outside the sarcasm to offer some real-world insight that could have come right off the pages of Emily Post’s Guide to Orchestra Etiquette (assuming such a book ever existed).
Be sure to check out what Mulcahy has to say about the other stakeholders but in the meantime, do you think she missed anything for the executive list?
FYI, here are the original posts from 2008 & 2009: