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  • Barry's Blog: Predictors When Hiring - Another Lesson from the Sharks in Silicon Valley
    interacted in a real world situation and the valuable meta information you get about the candidate is a sense of what they consider to be difficult Bock goes on to question the value of a college education as applied to real world situations After two or three years your ability to perform at Google is completely unrelated to how you performed when you were in school because the skills you required in college are very different You re also fundamentally a different person You learn and grow you think about things differently Another reason is that I think academic environments are artificial environments People who succeed there are sort of finely trained they re conditioned to succeed in that environment One of my own frustrations when I was in college and grad school is that you knew the professor was looking for a specific answer You could figure that out but it s much more interesting to solve problems where there isn t an obvious answer You want people who like figuring out stuff where there is no obvious answer I wonder if that observation is applicable to the nonprofit arts Are our college preparatory programs yielding job candidates with a set of skills that are arguably if not useless then marginally useful many of which perhaps need to be unlearned on the job How do we sift through the sands of all the arts administration graduates to identify the ones who can think on the fly to determine the ones who will become effective leaders as well as good managers In a constantly changing business environment where increasingly the emphasis is on adaptability innovation and being nimble and flexible should we not emphasize those skills in our potential new staff hires so that we might flourish in the competitive marketplace In short are we clinging to an antiquated approach ill suited to the present reality As Bock notes On the leadership side we ve found that leadership is a more ambiguous and amorphous set of characteristics than the work we did on the attributes of good management which are more of a checklist and actionable And adds that for leaders it s important that people know you are consistent and fair in how you think about making decisions and that there s an element of predictability The take away from this is I think that when considering a new hire and the process of your identifying the very best candidate available to you it is essential that you spend time considering precisely and not generally the qualities in that hire that will enable your organization to succeed and that the traditional way to approach that may no longer be a smart move Have a great week Don t Quit Barry Posted by Barry at 8 19 PM No comments Post a Comment Newer Post Older Post Home Subscribe to Post Comments Atom Creative Vitality Suite Defined by the 59 SOC codes used in CVSuite Subscribe via email Enter your

    Original URL path: http://blog.westaf.org/2014/03/predictors-when-hiring-another-lesson.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Barry's Blog: Interview with Ruby Lerner
    me the impact the workshops have had on them It is such a powerful program And it has so much potential to develop even further The weekend workshops became pretty expensive for people to bring to their communities during the downturn and so we went modular Partners like state and local arts councils fellowship programs etc can now design workshops for their very local needs at a much lower cost So we have many less expensive options now which is great Plus we started doing webinars about a year and a half ago and they are going gangbusters we are doing almost one a week now interviews skills building a variety of formats It is great We are working on Blended Learning now trying to combine the best of what technology makes possible with those elements that only a live person in the room with you can bring So we will soon be able to offer an incredible range of ways for artists to participate with the program Also we have developed a LOT of collateral through our work with artists over the years so could we put some of that together for additional offferings In other words how can we continue to make what we have learned and built through our work with our own awardees more widely available to others Barry Creative Capital was the focus of a Harvard Business School case study What are the central elements of a program that is characterized by innovation and is entrepreneurial centric Ruby Staying alert to changes in the external environment staying alert to opportunities having a bias for action the ability to move pretty quickly to try new things and a commitment to honestly analyze what is working and what isn t Barry The relationship between the nation s artists and the arts organizations that support them provide platforms for their work and serve as bridges to the wider public sometimes finds those two groups at odds with each other What is your assessment about how that relationship can be bolstered to be more productive and effective for all Ruby I think the question of how the relationship between artists and organizations can be bolstered is an important one and I am not sure I have an answer We do something that seems to be useful we bring all parties together around the premier of the artist s project The artist talks about their goals for the launch and the venue talks about what they are actually capable of doing to support the launch I call these meetings Rendezvous With Reality sessions because the artists are always disappointed by what the venue ISN T going to do But what is great is that we encourage the artist to use some of their CC money to accomplish some of the things they want the launch to accomplish This is great for everyone the artist definitely feels supported but really so does the venue Nothing makes me happier than to walk into the conference room and see a table full of people all focused around maximizing the project launch But really this activity reveals the artist to be a good partner to the venue and we hope that is something that can be built upon for the future Barry To what extent do those organizations like yours and others out there engaged in direct support for artists collaborate and cooperate with each other for the greater good What might increase those working relationships Ruby We have tons of collaborations through our PDP program we rarely do direct marketing to individuals But actually getting together to discuss what is working across all sectors that isn t happening so I think we don t know as much about each other as we should Barry Have you noted any attitudinal changes on the part of artists over the past ten years How do younger artists of today differ from artists of ten years ago Ruby I think the current generation of artists does understand that they are walking into a tougher world The infrastructure in the public sector has basically fallen apart a lot of the foundation world is obsessed with impact questions which represents a real narrowing to me although they would say it represents focusing in on the work that is designed to promote social change They aren t afraid of words like marketing and understand that the new media tools available allow them to amplify their voices in ways my generation of artists couldn t even imagine Also they are really fun to work with because they often use humor to tackle serious subjects which pulls people in Barry Assess the current state of research into the needs patterns of behavior support for and public attitude towards individual artists Where do we need more data and why Rub y This is an area I really know so little about and where we all could use better information But tracking individuals is so much harder than tracking organizations so I know how difficult this is likely to be And then what are we going to be able to do with the info once we get it Is it going to make a difference to a conservative Congress say So I think clarity about how we would use the data would be important before we go to the effort of collecting it Barry Google calls you up one day and says Ruby we want to do something to be supportive of America s artists Got any ideas What do you say to them Ruby Here s my number 212 598 9900x225 Send them on over We see so many possible offshoots from what we are learning from artists I could keep them busy for years Seriously call me Barry Your program provides a full suite of services to your grantees adopting an approach that is really more full scale mentoring What role might more seasoned artists play as mentors to younger artists and

    Original URL path: http://blog.westaf.org/2014/03/interview-with-ruby-lerner.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Barry's Blog: Questioning the Basic Approach to Arts Funding - Learning from the Venture Capital Sharks: People v. Projects and Programs
    They are particularly concerned with the leadership of the prospective investment companies and spend considerable time ascertaining whether or not that leadership is qualified whether or not it impresses them whether or not it can take the embryonic organization into the future In large part they are investing not only in ideas but in the people behind those ideas Indeed in one study on the criteria used by venture capitalists to evaluate new venture proposals five of the top ten had to do with the entrepreneur s experience or personality There is no question that irrespective of the horse product horse race market or odds financial criteria it is the jockey entrepreneur who fundamentally determines whether the venture capitalist will place a bet at all The question is if this is the case then why is so much emphasis placed on the business plan In a business plan there is generally little to indicate the characteristics of the entrepreneur it is generally devoted to a detailed discussion of the product service the market and the competition To us the implications are obvious such content is necessary but not suficient The business plan should also show as clearly as possible that the jockey is fit to ride namely indicate by whatever feasible and credible means possible that the entrepreneur has staying power has a track record can react to risk well and has familiarity with the target market Failing this he or she needs to be able to pull together a team that has such characteristics and show that he or she is capable of leading that team I suspect that in our grant making process in a very high percentage of cases there is no attempt to interview or otherwise make calculated judgments on the leadership of the applicant We don t go beyond the written application save for perhaps some occasional anecdotal reference about who is involved Is that smart Sure in some cases the funder is familiar and knowledgable about the grantee s leadership But in many if not most others even where there is a longer term relationship with the grantee the information is heresay at best and virtually nonexistent at worst Talk about taking an unreasonable risk Funders will respond to that criticism by pointing out that they lack the people and time resources to engage in such due diligence My response then outsource the job In short the investor venture capitalist wants to do everything they can up front to insure that the ventures with which they are affiliated succeed and at the top of that list is investing in people These involvements are not transitory and usually last for a considerable period of time And rather than the companies in which they invest resenting or resisting that involvement they welcome it for they understand it is precisely that kind of support that increases the odds they will succeed Do they all succeed Of course not risk is inherent in venture capitalism and it ought to be inherent in arts funding as well But calculated risk Do we in the arts invest more in the program and organization than we do in the people And should we reassess that strategy Is it reasonable then for arts funders to consider that it might be wise and appropriate for them to move from being passive investors to more active partners Would it be in both their interest in pursuing their priorities and missions and the interests of their grantees if they became more directly involved in providing the benefits of seasoned experience business and financial acumen networks and more to both the newer smaller arts grantees and to those long established obviously on a case by case basis Would it be wise for arts funders to spend more time and energy vetting the leadership of their grantees and prioritizing the commitment to people who can make things happen as much as to projects We increasingly emphasize entrepreneurship but are we actually trying to figure out what that means and how to judge its potential I ll grant you that some of that already goes on Funders in specific cases do get more involved in trying to support grantees both directly and by providing consultants or other outside support to specific grantees But it is not the norm not an underlying principle applied across the board but rather a more isolated and random approach Perhaps funders ought to consider how they might individually and collectively in possible collaborations organize on a larger scale those resources that might ala the venture capitalists increase the success level of their grantees by supporting them with more involvement What for example might a funder do systemically to provide more professional development opportunities to its grantees Does it any longer make any sense to like fund a project or an organization without such involvement over time to maximize the chances that project and organization will succeed In all probability many current and potential grantees would not like that approach and would argue at least the larger more established grantees that more funder involvement no matter how well intentioned and even reasonable on its face is unnecessary and possibly even counter productive But the evidence of the past half decade of organizations even big ones making bad decisions and failing or coming close to failure at a very high cost to the whole field belies that objection Others would argue that the profit motive of the venture capitalists is so foreign to our motives of mission that the whole idea doesn t make sense But the real motive of venture capitalists is to enhance shareholder value which may or may not dovetail with bottom line profits at any given point in time and the nonprofit arts organization s mission motive is really not that different for it too seeks to maximize shareholder value in our case the shareholders are the public and the value is not net worth but in achieving our mission s

    Original URL path: http://blog.westaf.org/2014/02/questioning-basic-approach-to-arts.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Barry's Blog: The Arizona 'Art Tank' Experiment
    s arts culture community Many were focused on community building and social change but others had more esoteric purely artistic goals Large well established organizations pitched against young individual artists who had to secure fiscal sponsorship to be eligible for the program Young upstarts represented the Tucson Museum of Art pitching a program designed to attract visitors in their 20 s and 30 s while a group of retirees representing the Arts Council of the remote town of Gold Canyon proposed a project that would assemble and showcase an oral history of their community Amazingly no applicant appeared to hold by virtue of their size mission or background any distinct advantage over any other The highest award in one region went to Arizona State University s School of Art while at another it went to a tiny two year old theatre company that creates original plays with urban youth who had never previously applied for let alone received an institutional grant For one the award means an opportunity to take a chance on exploring uncharted territory for the other the award means an opportunity to take a massive leap forward far beyond what they were previously capable of achieving Both represent the ideal of business unusual My staff and I are still in the process of unpacking the lessons learned from the development and implementation of the Arizona Art Tank program Following are few additional notes and observations from these early discussions The Arizona Art Tank program allowed the Arts Commission to once again take on the role of convener The budget cuts of the past half decade have severely limited our capacity to host gatherings of Arizona s artists and arts leaders The value of this sort of activity within our constituent communities is immeasurable Though we have made great effort to maintain open lines of communication with our constituents via website updates emails social media posts direct mailings etc to be heard is no substitute for being seen actually being present in a community engaged with those we serve on a personal level even for just a single evening out of the year Watching these presentations it became abundantly clear how important it is that organizations be able to deliver information about their mission and programming in a clear concise and engaging manner In a world where 140 characters is the new normal our six minute time limit was comparatively generous Still some applicants struggled to present a focused and coherent vision during their six minutes and left the event empty handed The CEO is not always an Organization s best spokesperson Often another member of an organization s staff is better equipped to deliver a given message to a given audience Arizona Art Tank helped position the Arizona Commission on the Arts as a change leader More than a mere gimmick Arizona Art Tank represented a fresh take on the grant review and awarding process Time and again during these events we were thanked for trying something different Innovation inspires innovation Younger less established organizations truly shined at these events Our applicant pool for Arizona Art Tank featured a number of new faces Even among larger institutions the entrepreneurial ideas often came from younger staff members or sub departments Not all good ideas come from the top down Addressing the audience of our Tucson event State Senator Steve Farley said The arts are the most entrepreneurial sector in the economy because they create value out of nothing in every corner of the state So it isn t just about supporting the arts it s about supporting our economy Here s how Kathleen Allen of the Arizona Daily Star newspaper described one of the events Every one of the proposals held promise and some just knocked me out But more than anything it was the passion from the individual artists to the big organizations that was so magical The Tucson Museum of Art won the top grant 10 000 for a project that will in essence periodically turn the museum over to young artists Called Start the museum will host new emerging young old exciting artists to perform paint exhibit at the museum and on the museum grounds It s a pretty innovative program Other grant winners were Opening Minds through the Arts 7 500 with plans to develop teaching videos Gold Canyon Arts Council which is planning a project that will bring the stories of the elders of the community to school children 6 000 Solar Sculptures Dinnerware ArtSpace 5 000 which has a pretty nifty plan to project art onto downtown buildings and BlackBox Foundation out of Casa Grande 4 000 which will use the grant money to train teachers so that art can become part of the curriculum The BlackBox is an all volunteer program and its simple proposal to bring arts education to the mostly poverly level students was delivered with such fierce commitment It really spoke to me Moises Orozco and Phoebe Jenkins won the 500 grant the audience award for their proposed eco friendly mode of transportation the Phoebe Bird And here is a report from Kerry Lengel of The Republic on Arizona Central At the first regional event held Tuesday Jan 28 at the Peoria Community Center 7 500 was awarded to the Phoenix Center for the Arts Art4All initiative which plans to take arts education mobile by bringing teachers of music drawing etc into underserved communities Think of it as a food truck for the arts went the pitch A 5 000 grant went to TumbleTees a youth run T shirt screen printing business created by the Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development in Phoenix which serves homeless people ranging from age 12 to 25 The largest haul of the night 10 000 went to Phoenix s Rising Youth Theatre which develops original plays about real life in collaboration with children and teens in the Valley I am bolstered by the fact that so many people were focused on changing the

    Original URL path: http://blog.westaf.org/2014/02/the-arizona-arts-tank-experiment.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Barry's Blog: We Have a New Chair of the NEA - Finally!
    can convince her to continue the tradition of allowing me to interview her as she begins her tenure once confirmed by the Senate Finally here is an article on Dr Chu s appointment to a local college The next two months will be whirlwind for Dr Chu She has to wind up her tenure at the Kauffman Center relocate to Washington D C and make the rounds of the Senate offices as she goes through the confirmation process I see no reason at all why she won t be confirmed There will be plenty of time for Dr Chu to share with us her thinking about the Endowment it s role in our field and what she thinks are the major issues she wants to address during her tenure After her confirmation I would expect and encourage all sectors of our field to communicate and share with Chairwoman Chu their thoughts concerns and ideas on the arts in America and the issues facing the Endowment I join everyone in our field in congratulating Dr Chu It will be much to our collective advantage to again have someone in the position of permanent Chair And I also join in extending our gratitude and deep appreciation to Joan Shigekawa Senior Deputy Chairman who has helmed the agency for the past year with consummate professionalism and skill and to all of those on the agency s staff who have been a part of that effort Thanks very much Well done Don t Quit Barry Posted by Barry at 12 07 AM No comments Post a Comment Newer Post Older Post Home Subscribe to Post Comments Atom Creative Vitality Suite Defined by the 59 SOC codes used in CVSuite Subscribe via email Enter your email address Delivered by FeedBurner Subscribe via Reader Subscribe in a reader Barry s Blog is a service of the Western States Arts Federation WESTAF The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of WESTAF Followers Buy Barry s Book HARDBALL LOBBYING FOR NONPROFITS Barry learned political advocacy the hard way convincing the California legislature to multiply many fold its investment in arts funding In his new book Barry extracts the lessons of his long experience into a readable and impassioned tutorial that has broad application throughout the nonprofit sector John Kriedler former President Community Initiative Fund This is a powerful provocative and daring look at the ups and downs of fighting for beliefs The book straightforwardly mixes together simple clear definitions strong opinions new ideas and in your face strategies all designed to help the good guys win Robert L Lynch President CEO Americans for the Arts Hardball Lobbying is an essential tool for every nonprofit leader who wants to see systems change and public dollars flow to the causes they care about Tim Wolfred Psy D Director of Leadership Services CompassPoint For those who want to begin a nonprofit I can think of no better guide and toolkit that Hardball Government students should read this as

    Original URL path: http://blog.westaf.org/2014/02/we-have-new-chair-of-nea-finally.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Barry's Blog: CreateAthon - A concept that might have application to the arts?
    a 24 hour CreateAthon be something that could be adapted to multiple uses and done internally to an organization to address a host of challenges beyond the creation of media and marketing campaigns It might be an interesting experiment to pick a challenge facing your organization and organize a kind of CreateAthon around it gathering your staff board and others involved in or supportive of your organization and see what you could come up with in a single 24 hour period And for very large challenges the concept might work for figuring out how to accomplish the very next step that would be necessary for making progress Have a great week Don t Quit Barry Posted by Barry at 9 40 PM No comments Post a Comment Newer Post Older Post Home Subscribe to Post Comments Atom Creative Vitality Suite Defined by the 59 SOC codes used in CVSuite Subscribe via email Enter your email address Delivered by FeedBurner Subscribe via Reader Subscribe in a reader Barry s Blog is a service of the Western States Arts Federation WESTAF The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of WESTAF Followers Buy Barry s Book HARDBALL LOBBYING FOR NONPROFITS Barry learned political advocacy the hard way convincing the California legislature to multiply many fold its investment in arts funding In his new book Barry extracts the lessons of his long experience into a readable and impassioned tutorial that has broad application throughout the nonprofit sector John Kriedler former President Community Initiative Fund This is a powerful provocative and daring look at the ups and downs of fighting for beliefs The book straightforwardly mixes together simple clear definitions strong opinions new ideas and in your face strategies all designed to help the good guys win Robert L Lynch President CEO Americans for the Arts Hardball Lobbying is an essential tool for every nonprofit leader who wants to see systems change and public dollars flow to the causes they care about Tim Wolfred Psy D Director of Leadership Services CompassPoint For those who want to begin a nonprofit I can think of no better guide and toolkit that Hardball Government students should read this as an insight into decision making as Barry explains how government and groups interact with one another at all levels Hardball is definitely not a book to collect dust but one to get dog eared highlighted debated and used Representative Adam Schiff U S Congress 29 th District California Click here http amzn to d1whZU HIRE BARRY TO SPEAK AT YOUR CONFERENCE email barryarts comcast net HIRE BARRY TO LEAD WORKSHOPS in Advocacy full and half day sessions customized to your situation Managing the Generational Divide in the Workplace The Business Side of the Music Industry email barryarts comcast net Popular Posts Widget by Blogger Buster Blog Archive 2016 11 April 1 March 4 February 3 January 3 2015 57 December 2 November 4 October 6 September 4 August 8 July 4 June 8 May 5 April

    Original URL path: http://blog.westaf.org/2014/02/createathon-concept-that-might-have.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Barry's Blog: Brought To You Live From.................The Nonprofit Arts Administrator Radio Station
    a couple of hours a day over the two or three days of the conference and re broadcast several times so as to be convenient to listeners Of course my mind also wandered into thinking maybe this experiment would morph into a full time Arts Radio Station live or taped web streaming that could offer not just coverage of events enlisting people who were already going to the event thus eliminating additional travel costs but all kinds of shows and presentations that might be useful and interesting and even fun for our sector Breakfast with Barry an hour show once a month or Breakfast with Bob Lynch or Janet Brown or Jamie Bennett or Ian David Moss or Alan Brown or anyone of a hundred others You could have a weekly interview segment with arts leaders and or artists or panels talking about fundraising or audience development or marketing Mini versions of the Arts Dinner vention You could cover the latest research studies and reports and the ideas that are circulating within our field You could have talk shows and even classes on skills enhancement You could cover events conventions symposiums and more The whole format would be directed to us arts administrators and managers Focused You could even re broadcast live music or other events You could have shows highlighting news from each arts discipline music museums presenters film folk arts theater dance etc You could have programs focusing on arts education or presenting or funding or leadership succession or generational issues or business and the arts You could do online surveys and report the results the next day You could have a monthly show of news from the NEA or NASAA or AFTA or GIA or APAP or whatever You could have a weekly roundup of grants availability You could have advocacy updates and training programs You could have tutorials and other professional development opportunities You could have artist and arts administrator profiles You could have national state regional and local programs The possibilities are endless I ve thought about this a lot The technology is off the shelf ready to go now The expense is in the organization and management but hardly prohibitive With an audio rather than visual focus the bandwidth exists for virtually everyone This is do able Right now I thought maybe this kind of tool would help bridge some of the gaps between the niches within our universe and be a way to share all kinds of information and thinking a valuable tool to expand that information and communication pipeline A bridge building mechanism that might help to unite us as a field or at least make all of us much more aware of the developments in areas of our universe with which we don t regularly interact Sharing One of the pluses of this kind of approach is that it would be an easy to access central clearing house of information and developments so our people wouldn t have to spend endless

    Original URL path: http://blog.westaf.org/2014/02/brought-to-you-live-fromthe-nonprofit.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Barry's Blog: Social Media Trends as a Lesson in Planning?
    application of your strategy so that you can use outside changes to your advantage That s just one example of how fast changes may make your planning obsolete unless your planning embraces the need to be nimble and quick to spot where adjustments need to be made I fear in many quarters of our field there remains an antiquated notion of planning and that we get stuck with well intentioned strategies to achieve objectives that rapidly end up useless The days of five year rigid strategic plans is gone The objectives part can remain constant but the specifics outlined to reach the objectives are often as not outdated at the moment the plan is adopted A waste of time and energy and worse it locks us into doing the wrong thing Much has been written for example about how over the past decade capital campaigns for massive new structures may have been an ill conceived approach ignoring the move towards online access and failing to appreciate changing patterns of leisure time and the convenience factor s importance to people Of course once committed to it isn t easy to change direction in building new arts edifices But other adjustments and changes might not be so difficult Consider the 10 000 hours rule Culled from Brain Pickings article on Debunking the Rule quoting from Daniel Goleman s Book Focus The Hidden Driver of Excellence The 10 000 hour rule that this level of practice holds the secret to great success in any field has become sacrosanct gospel echoed on websites and recited as litany in high performance workshops No less an expert than Anders Ericsson the Florida State University psychologist whose research on expertise spawned the 10 000 hour rule of thumb told me You don t get benefits from mechanical repetition but by adjusting your execution over and over to get closer to your goal I think organizations are similarly situated While it takes time and experience for an organization to develop its chops and expertise to effectively navigate the waters of change and planning time itself is not enough The organization must also constantly adjust to what it is learning and how it applies that knowledge in its planning and the execution of strategies to reach its goals One plank of any strategic plan ought to be to effect a change in the organizational culture so that it embraces change and prioritizes flexible adaptability That includes specific mechanisms that will help create that culture so that from top to bottom board to interns the entire organization is constantly reassessing re evaluating re thinking all of the basic assumptions behind the goals and objectives and the strategies adopted to reach those goals And part of that commitment may be to emphasize lots and lots of small changes over few big ones In fact this aspect of planning might just be more important than any other single aspect We can t just adopt plans and then blindly adhere to them for

    Original URL path: http://blog.westaf.org/2014/01/social-media-trends-as-lesson-in.html (2016-05-01)
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