Tag Archives: tonedeaf

Nonprofit Arts Organizations Without Flexibility Present a Disconnect When It Really Matters

Orlando

On September 12, 2001, we issued an internal memo at our nonprofit arts organization.  We proffered the notion that standing by our programming and “moving forward” was the best way to fight back.

We were wrong.  Putting on blinkers never helps.

On June 12, 2016, after one attack in Orlando and a foiled one in Santa Monica – key nonprofit arts organizations are right now readying memos rationalizing the same advice.

Move forward.  That’ll show ‘em.

At what tipping point do we scrap activities to reflect the damage inflicted on people?  Why must we wait for a year to see the first artistic responses?  Why not now?  Why worry about the production quality of said response?  As nonprofits, when do we sacrifice our comfort zone to provide leadership to our communities for some resolution?

Or should we just move forward?  Yet again?

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Leadership Issues: Flop Sweat, Board Meetings, and When You Lose the Room

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Inevitably, there are moments where analysis disconnects with sentiment.  You plan by yourself and generate work for your staff.  Your staff objects.  You have misread the room and caused great resentment.  They think you’re a nut.

You’re in a big job interview.  The interviewers say they want to “have a conversation,” but instead read from a pre-chosen list of questions.  You try to converse.  They bridle, citing “fairness.”

Your meetings with the board leave you rolling your eyes…and leave them rolling their eyes as well.  You think they don’t understand the problem.  They’re sure you don’t.

When you lead by pronouncement rather than by consensus; when you define interviews as interrogations; when you perceive meetings with superiors as continual performance evaluations – these are your issues, not theirs.  That anxious sweat on your neck is on you.

Change Management and the Psychology of Surprise

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I’m continually surprised by surprise announcements.

Seattle does not tolerate surprise announcements well.  I’m not sure of a place where surprises go well, but in a city fomenting the crucible of passive-aggressive behavior (see this article for some fun), change without tortuous committee meetings is, well, gauche.

Recently, KUOW (Greater Seattle NPR news/talk licensed by the University of Washington) issued a surprising announcement that they’ve signed a deal to buy KPLU (Greater Seattle NPR news/jazz licensed by Pacific Lutheran University).  Evidently, Pacific Lutheran University’s broke.

FYI:  KUOW once purchased another non-commercial station, KXOT, to carry its KUOW2 programming.  That failed.

Listeners/Members hate the idea and said so at a meeting on November 23. KPLU kept soliciting memberships even after the deal was signed.

KUOW comes off as untrustworthy, KPLU as desperate.

Seattleites are pissed off.

Surprise!

Stay tuned.

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