Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Practice of Abandonment

Daily Drucker 6:  Ask the question posed, "If we did not this already, would we go into it now?" and if the answer is no, make the tough choice to abandon a cherished business.

 Of all the product lines a symphony orchestra produces (Classical, Pops, Family, etc.), there are two choices for elimination:  community programming and touring.  The former would be the more controversial business to abandon, but the question to be asked is it the type of business that we need to run.  Community programs traditionally do not contribute much to the earned income of the organization.  The programs do drive contributed revenue sources, and build goodwill within the community.  But the lack of expertise by the principal workforce of the organization (i.e. the musicians) is a barrier to efficient program execution.

The merits of orchestra tours has been debated for as long as the American orchestra has existed.  In my opinion, the risks of a tour outweighs the perceived benefits of community building and prestige growth.  An orchestra takes its name after its community, and so it should be focused on strengthening it first.  Only then, and once it has been established that a tour is financially viable, then it should be considered.

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