Borg Of Directors

Time for a bit of mid-week dark humor in the form of a Tweet about the overwhelmingly sheeple nature of orchestra boards.

For those not espoused in Trek culture, it won’t take you long to get the gag.

Anyone who has worked with boards or has time served knows just how much truth exists in this exaggeration, but the Star Trek connection really helps it hit home.

Ironically enough, I’ve seen sheeple tendencies used for positive and negative means; albeit the former seems more common. But that only reaffirms that systems are only as good as the people involved.

Ultimately, having a board that fosters not just involvement (opinions are cheap and too many people like to argue), but cultivates enough vested interest to have knowledgeable exchanges and challenges of ideas to arrive at better conclusions is in everyone’s best interest.

In the end, I hope resistance isn’t futile…I’m just not confident enough to bet on it yet.

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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