More Than Just Thoughts And Prayers

The cancellations keep rolling in and while they aren’t a surprise, it’s impossible not to feel the emotional impact. The NTEN conference I was scheduled to present at next week in Baltimore was cancelled late last night and the video announcing the news from CEO Amy Sample Ward, conveyed a palpable passion over just how difficult the decision was.

I could list dozens more. The temptation to give in to apathy is powerful but leaning into an empathetic approach can help sidestep that bear trap.

To that end, the bulk of my Thursday was filled with assisting clients getting announcement information up on their website about cancellations, editing event information, etc.

It became clear by mid-morning that several groups were dealing with so much pressure they weren’t thinking about all the options available to them to help mitigate lost revenue. To that end, I sent an email to users pointing out options along with all the areas we could provide support.

I also made sure to let users know that the company was waiving fees for any work related to rolling out any of those suggestions. We are also providing free remote content management assistance for users who aren’t equipped to manage those tasks remotely in a secure or timely fashion.

Once the email went out, the number of incoming support requests spiked. And that’s a good thing. Simply knowing there was someone in a position to help provided a bit a relief in an otherwise stressful day.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when things seem dark. To that end, one of the first things we tend to forget is asking for help.

If you’re someone in a position to provide assistance, be sure to let those you work with know exactly what you can do to help. The more specific the options, the better.

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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