If You’re Over 40 And Make Decisions About your Org’s Website, You Need To Watch This Video

We’ve all been in one of those meetings where important decisions need to be made about something crucial to an arts organization’s success and the senior executive responsible for making the decision seems hell-bent on a direction that screams out-of-date and out-of-touch. That’s HiPPO (Highest Paid Person’s Opinion) decision making at its worst.

Adaptistration People 045Although experience is worth its weight in gold, it doesn’t come without baggage and effective executives will be vigilant about preventing those failings, which I like to call experience anchors, from interfering with progress.

One area within the field where this problem appears with increasingly frequency is web design. Executives over a certain age (Baby Boomers and early Gen-X) lived through the rise of the internet age and as a result, are at risk for looking at design via outdated, desktop-centric blinders.

It doesn’t seem to matter how much data, A/B testing, or documented best practice is brought to the table, a HiPPO driven executive is going to rely on decades of experience to insist on a user experience that conforms to their historical frame of reference.

Ironically enough, these are typically the same managers who are continually puzzled when prospective ticket buyers from younger generations are so difficult to engage.

If you know an executive like this, or suspect you may be this sort of HiPPO, then you need to watch this video from Fine Bros Entertainment, a group that generates video content and helped make the React categories of content popular at YouTube.

They released a video on 3/6/16 titled TEENS REACT TO WINDOWS 95 that delivers exactly what it promises. Sure, there’s plenty of amusing and entertaining material but the lesson here for 40-something and older managers is the importance of identifying how much an experience anchor can hobble decision making for areas increasingly dominated by participation from younger generations.

And what better way to disarm potential defensiveness than using humor?

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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