Status Quo = Higher Profit?

As a follow-up to yesterday’s post, Joe Patti made a fascinating connection with something Vu Le recently published at Nonprofit AF where he encourages consultants to resist the payoff that often comes with pushing clients out of status quo comfort zones.

At our best, consultants help bring in a new perspective and certain skills and tactics that could really help an organization and its important work; plus, we help sustain the growing sticky-dots and easel paper industry and those it employs. At our worst, we consultants get paid a bunch of money to help entrench organizations in survivalism and competition, perpetuate the hunger games, inflame tensions, reinforce white moderate philosophies and practices, quash visionary ideas, and prevent change and progress.

Nutshell: there’s a bigger payout for consultants willing to support what clients already believe than moving them in directions that benefit the sector as a whole #ConfirmationBiasPayday.

I agree with Patti that this aligns nicely with the concept that the orchestra field needs to do a better job at assigning value to and rewarding professionals that demonstrate which parts of conventional wisdom need to be left behind and are capable of producing results in the form of attracting and retaining new audiences.

Sadly, I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve seen consultants squash up and coming talented administrators. So, from that perspective, it’s every bit as important to apply the same expectations to consultants. Reward those that help break out of negative conventional wisdom and present options for moving toward solving real problems.

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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Status Quo = Higher Profit?