The Fun Side of Due Diligence

Yesterday’s article about Gender Bias Across The Arts & Culture Sector has inspired some intriguing conversations. One that caught my attention is the suggestion that all principal musician overscale should be fixed via something like the collective bargaining agreement.

Adaptistration People 175This is not an uncommon perspective, it even showed up (more or less) in a Slate magazine article on the topic that came during the Elizabeth Rowe/Boston Symphony lawsuit.

While there are several reasons why this ultimately becomes a counterproductive approach, the one that rises to the top is it doesn’t address the real issues at the heart of unconscious bias: a lack of approaching key musician valuation in a way that requires the employer to quantify their process and outcomes.

But the topic got me thinking about the issue in a broader context and I started thinking about how it applies to musicians. My experience dictates they do no better or worse than the average employer when it comes to the grind of due diligence to justify decisions.

I found the line of thought fascinating and started to write something.

About halfway through the second paragraph, I was struck by a sense of déjà vu. After a few moments of archive sleuthing, it turns out I found this topic equally fascinating in October 2018…when I wrote 2,300 words on the topic.

Consequently, there’s little value in reinventing this wheel and everything there is as valid then as it is now:

The Orchestra Musician Job Offer: “No” Is An Option

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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