The Thinking Person’s Approach To Dealing With Sacred Cows

Sacred CowsThere are more than enough sacred cows in this field to go around and if you’ve ever had to go up against one, you know how difficult it is to make headway. Pushback is usually swift and aggressive but that doesn’t mean you can’t think your way through the process.’s Matthew Inman published a wonderfully remarkable post on the sort of thinking that goes into sacred cows, or what people internalize as core beliefs.

If you aren’t already familiar with Inman’s work, know that it can be NSFW and this one is undeniably NSFW. If that’s a problem for you, Inman has you covered with a clean version.

I won’t spoil everything for you but be prepared to accept the responsibility of leading by example.

You’re not going to believe what I’m about to tell you.

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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