Many of you are heading to industry conferences this month, and I’ll be speaking at several of them. Each year, I come back with a notebook filled with ideas that typically find their way to the bottom of a pile on my desk, out of sight and out of mind, just days after I insisted to myself that I’d immediately put these plans into action.
At this time of year I think of my friend Jeff, an investor in start-up companies whom I’ve heard ask young CEOs the same question countless times: “Of all the many things you need to do over the next year to be successful, what three things must you absolutely get right?” Each time I hear him ask this, it reminds me that all of us managers have a natural tendency to lose sight of the forest for the trees. His suggestion is related to the Pareto principle, sometimes known as the 80/20 rule. The rule suggests that “for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.”
Are you aware of the significant “levers” that drive your organization? The 20% that’s having an outsize effect? Is it your major donors? Or the quality of your education program? Or your public relations? If you had to rank-order the things that truly matter, what would your list look like? You may end up doing lots of things right, but you won’t be a success unless you know which things make the most difference.
As many of you prepare to attend this season’s conferences, your heads will soon be packed with dozens of new ideas. So, in the spirit of my friend Jeff, I’ve come up with my own list of the “three biggies” that I believe all arts organizations must get right. Read the Article