Thinking About Dynamic Consequences

About a year ago, I wrote a post about the trend of stuffing an increasing amount of duties and responsibilities into single positions. Spoiler: expectations, job advancement, job satisfaction, wages and benefits, and responsibilities are combining to create a particularly caustic work environment that burns out too many good managers.

Since then, COVID-19 staff cuts have only exacerbated this trend. Every piece of distressing news about job cuts means remaining workers have that much more moved over to their duties and responsibilities plate.

If that weren’t enough, you can add in the mix of figuring out how many of those tasks are being impacted by COVID-19.

Granted, the nonprofit arts field isn’t special. We’re seeing the same thing unfold in a number of other nonprofit and commercial sectors, but that doesn’t mean we should expect this to become the new normal.

We already know things needed to change before COVID-19. Let’s not allow things to get worse during the transition period to where we’re headed.

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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