Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Notes from NAMP #3

At the Table: Making Marketing’s Voice Count in Organizational Leadership
Speakers: Jerry Yoshitomi, MeaningMatters, Port Hueneme, CA; Brian Jose and Susie Farr, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland, College Park, MD

1. At the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, they implemented several organizational changes after their staff turnover got to be really high. First they learned that a director’s loyalty needs to shift to the success of the organization and the leadership team, rather than being with their individual departments. This meant that each director needed to become more expert in other department activities. The director of artistic initiatives and the director of marketing shifted to become joined at the hip. Decisions were made together by those two and the executive director, and the offices of those two staff members were moved to be right next to each other.

2. Always challenge the prevailing organizational wisdom and make improvements because the world is changing quickly and you must adapt. Try to draw attention to issues without drawing attention to specific individuals. Gather the people in the organization who can influence change.

3. As a strong team member, you can’t just be an expert in your discipline—you must now know about other departments. If the finance director wants to know why you aren’t hitting the ticket sales goal, then work with him to develop an understanding of the problem so he/she better understands marketing. Overall knowledge about all departments by the leadership team will promote better understanding and therefore better decision-making. This understanding has to be a two-way street—invite questions. Questioning is liberating and genuine, constructive conflict can be very good. “Artificial Harmony” can destroy an organization.

4. Strive for complete clarity and transparency in the organization.

5. People who get defensive about questioning can inhibit growth and can support a stagnant environment. The idea of running your department as an entity by itself is detrimental—be open about your process, invite questions, work with your peers. They all have different strengths.

6. Maybe some questions we should be asking: What are we doing that is ground-breaking? Are we setting an example for the rest of the country? Are our processes outdated? Are the practices of the American regional theatre outdated? Where are we stagnant? Where are we dynamic?

7. Two to One ratio – you have two ears and one mouth so listen twice as much as you speak.

8. Suggested reading: “Five Dysfunction of Team” and “Death by Meetings” by Patrick Lencioni and “Leading with Limited Authority