Implementing Water Management On A Flood Zone Armed With Nothing More Than A Spork

“Damn it.”

This was the thought that crossed my mind at the end of a very long day after realizing I still had to write a blurb for a group post at ArtsHacker about what I’m grateful for as an arts manager. And yes, the group post was my idea in the first place so the whole hoisted by one’s own petard thing was very much at the forefront of my mind.

Perhaps needless to say, gratitude wasn’t.

Spork ThisThe entire day felt like an exercise in implementing water management on a flood zone armed with nothing more than a spork. In fact, that was beginning to feel like a good way to sum up all of 2017.

But then my path crossed with a colleague and that one simple interaction helped change my entire outlook. That’s when it dawned on me that 2017 is a year confirming our strength comes from collective effort. Finding opportunities to make someone’s day better is a good way to approach the recent round of challenges and the better we do, the more likely we’ll inspire those we come into contact with to do the same.

If nothing else, perhaps that’s the best way to sum up gratitude for 2017: it’s a team effort.

What are you grateful for in 2017?

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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