What You Should Know About Contracts

Unless you plan on making it your career path, you should not expect to become an expert on legal agreements; at the same time, that doesn’t mean you should be unaware either. Fortunately, Joe Patti authored a pair of articles at Arts Hacker this week that go a long way toward a healthy indoctrination on contracts. As a big proponent of good contracts are the cornerstone of a healthy working relationship, I encourage everyone to drop by and give these articles a read.

Adaptistration People 057The first post, Change Your Fundamental Concept of Contracts, helps illustrate why legal agreements are important, even for something like a collaboration. Patti spends a good bit of time examining how contracts end up becoming a conduit for communication. Sometimes those exchanges are free of conflict but not always, however, it’s important to remember that in and of itself, that’s not a bad thing. Hashing out problems in advance is far better than getting to it down the road.

The second installment, What Are The Parts Of A Contract?, is the sort of nuts-and-bolts examination that makes ArtsHacker so useful.

The articles are equally useful for each stakeholder and since we’re waist deep in white hot labor disputes, brushing up on the basics of contracts will almost certainly enhance your understanding of what’s unfolding in Fort Worth and Pittsburgh.

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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