I’ve been saying for more than two decades now that one of the primary elements that needs to change in this field before it can reach the level of success it desires is improving stakeholder satisfaction.
In order to give patrons something worth coming back for, the people who provide it should become an institution’s highest priority. And for clarity, I mean the entire organization, on stage and off.
Holly Mulcahy recently published an article on this very topic that references restaurateur Danny Meyer’s book, Setting The Table. This should be required reading for board members, executives, music directors, staff, and musicians.
Take a look at Meyer’s list of restaurant stakeholders in descending order of importance:
Here’s the list again run through an orchestra field translator:
- Musicians and Staff
- Music Directors, Executives, Guest Artists, and Artist Management
- Large Donors and Foundations
Seems like our field tends to invert that list more often than not, doesn’t it? But how will that help us put our collective houses in order to a point where we can become the culture leaders we want to be (and usually think we are)?
Granted, Holly and I don’t spend a lot of time talking shop, but reading this book was an exception. It inspired a great deal of reflective conversation and she did a wonderful job pulling many of those threads together in her article.