Thursday, March 03, 2005

Second 25,000 Miles

Had some losses over last few days.

Lost a friend (40 years old) who knew he had to change but didn't, or thought he still had time. He didn't.

I'll miss him, I'm sad he's gone, I'm pissed at him for not changing and myself for not being able to find a way to move him.

May well lose an organization friend, the Symphony Orchestra Institute (www.soi.org) which has worked hard for nearly ten years, I think, to help symphony orchestras rethink and reinvent themselves into positive futures for the people in them and their audiences.

So I am sure that its founder Paul Judy of Chicago, must feel somewhat the same as I do about my friend and myself -- a mixture of sadness and being pissed off at those who know they should change but don't and at our own efforts to help them change.
I like symphony music (not to the exclusion of other types of music -- I bleed blues.) and I think society in general will lose something when more symphonies close or shrink because they cannot get "out of their box," or the way they do business and
the way they see their possible futures.

They have "boxed" themselves into being more and more dependent on corporate funding and a shrinking number of well-to-do patrons. They are trapped into working harder at doing the things the way they always have rather than working smarter and in ways that will enable them to live on, grow, learn, innovate.

They cannot "see" themselves as an entertainment and cultural destination competing for a family's discretionary spending -- and that they are competing with destinations as varied as casino resorts, entertainment parks like Kings Island or Seven Flags, and events like NASCAR, the NFL or even major league baseball. The funny and sad part is that even if not structured for the whole family as yet, they are the "best buy" because it costs less for a family of four to go to the symphony for an evening or afternoon than it would cost the same family to go to any of the destinations noted above.

Instead, some - most - see themselves as competing with the theater, opera, and ballet for a fixed or shrinking "fine arts" marketplace.

I could BLOG-on but I think you get the idea -- a little clearer view of where they really are and a willingness to get an expanded view and do something about it could change the situation.

The same applies to my friend who is now gone.

I suppose my hope is that in reading or hearing about processes that work and people and organizations that have changed will help them change.

But. I can't count on it, so I will keep rethinking and working at getting out of my own boxes to find better ways to help people and organizations change.
I'll miss you buddy -- more than you knew.
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