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  • Barry's Blog: Workplace Autonomy
    constraints so as to give it form and make it meaningful After reading the Steven Jobs biography it would seem Apple was a company wherein autonomy was cherished and promoted but within very narrow perimeters of the vision enunciated by Jobs himself Autonomy was the tool but not necessarily itself the driver I wonder where autonomy fits into the overall best practices for the nonprofit arts sector We are of course small businesses like many others but we are also unique as are all those others In terms of applying organizational theories designed to improve our workplace environments make our employees and our bosses happier and more productive and help us address the challenges we face we need to expend some efforts in tailoring and adapting valuable theories to our own sets of circumstances Thus if autonomy is seen as a value that is important to the organization we need to understand how it best works for our organizations within our sector If autonomy is embraced then the first implication is that we need to hire people who are comfortable being given more workplace autonomy Not all people are so comfortable and thus giving those in that profile more freedom does not necessarily yield the desired outcomes Do we zero in on candidates for various open positions and seek out those who want and benefit from more autonomy Is it even on our radar screens in terms of job searches I suspect autonomy is such a powerful factor that it works better if implemented in stages customized to employee needs and desires Autonomy being designated as a positive value doesn t necessarily mean that all structure is a negative Reminds me of the line in Camus The Rebel That everything is permitted does not necessarily mean that nothing is forbidden or words to that effect We don t have to invent our own litany of organizational theories that will improve our workplaces we can adapt those that others have designed But we do need to put some thought into those adaptations and individual applications so that they work for us However much or little autonomy you may want your organization to embrace it may be of value to you to know how much actually exists right now And more importantly it may be something to talk about as an organization Have a great week Don t Quit Barry Posted by Barry at 1 06 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

    Original URL path: http://blog.westaf.org/2012/01/workplace-autonomy.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Barry's Blog: Less is More
    to know the bottom line figure for the cost of the aggregate of our national conferences and while I firmly believe as previously stated that there is great value to them they do not ever really address issues in any but the most perfunctory way They are largely talking heads preaching to the choir and churning information already widely available elsewhere For the neophyte and the newbies they obviously have great value To the more senior and seasoned veterans who make appearances not much new is learned and almost nothing accomplished I have great faith in the thinking power of the arts sector leadership Unquestionably there is a vast reservoir of keen insight and creative problem solving capacity within our ranks Why are we not tapping into it to come up with real plans to deal with real problems as a sector Why can t we get those people together and over several days come up with ways to address the more serious pressing issues that we face one at a time Easy no Hard work yes But I believe that the tens of thousands of arts managers around the country would applaud presentation of such specific plans to them for their discussion We need to develop a national response to some of these issues The challenges we face together and as individual organizations have national implications and can t really be meaningfully addressed except from a national perspective Maybe a national council of all the heads of the national organizations a temporary if not permanent creation ought to have a summit meeting to talk about how to work together to design develop and deploy some national approach to at least three or four priority issues Rocco maybe you could make this happen Surely we can meet together and at least create the framework for actually dealing with some of these national issues In too many ways it seems to me that we are stuck in doing things they way we have always done them In too many ways we are squandering our assets while we talk to each other about the same old stuff we have talked to each other about for a long time now And most of that talk is talking around the pressing issues We need to convene to address the issues head on If nothing else perhaps the national arts organizations might consider focusing on just one central issue at their next conference and center all the sessions around coming up with some concrete proposal with specificity to address that issue No Well about just being less ambitious in trying to touch on every single topic even remotely germane to what we do and simplifying things More free time would mean more networking at least Have a good week Don t Quit Barry Posted by Barry at 6 30 PM 2 comments Anonymous January 9 2012 at 6 47 AM I agree that there is a great deal of innovative thinking gong on locally and

    Original URL path: http://blog.westaf.org/2012/01/less-is-more.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Barry's Blog: When Ignorance Begets Confidence
    to become one we need not only minimum standards of competency but both a higher bar and a comprehensive approach to developing our management skill sets to reach that higher bar Perhaps as you make important decisions in the beginning of the new year decisions that will impact how well your organization fares this year you might consider that you know less than you think or in the case of you very rare highly skilled leaders more than you think I suppose the danger is exactly what the Dunning Kruger effect recognizes the less skilled think they are more skilled the highly skilled think they are less skilled Over confidence breeds poor decision making and less satisfactory results Under confidence likely produces much the same situation Oh my Have a good week Don t Quit Barry Posted by Barry at 6 12 PM 1 comment Norma Munn January 2 2012 at 9 04 AM Fascinating While I see a lot of very good administrators executive directors I think almost everyone is expected to have far too many high level skills in too many different aspects of managing an arts organization One reason is the size of many of our arts organizations especially in the performing arts where staffing levels are often too small for the range of expertise needed unless everything needed is combined in one or two people Hiring part timers helps but brings another set of issues Interestingly some of us in NYC have been having quiet conversations for the past two years about how to develop our own standards about best practices but just can t find a realistic way to approach this We are wary of the often encountered attitude that the business community knows how to manage so much better than we do and there is plenty of evidence to the contrary so our reaction to that solution is well founded But we recognize that we have allowed others to define the expectations for good management We also feel that the idea of measuring every aspect of this sector is out of control Creativity is also a part of good management and measuring it is impossible As a colleague said a few weeks ago we are being told what we need we are not being asked what is useful to us Much of the research stems from a desire to measure and compare Understandable up to a point but we are not making widgets This is a hand made crafts sector and products as well as what goes into making them are different from one another in both obvious and subtle ways Research can point out the obvious but I think it will always miss the subtle Sadly I suspect the article also explains some of the absolutely nutty aspects of our political processes these days It will however give me pause as I try to sort out the tasks resources and choices for the upcoming year Thanks Reply Delete Add comment Load more Newer

    Original URL path: http://blog.westaf.org/2012/01/when-ignorance-begets-confidence.html (2016-05-01)
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