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The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Arts Organizations - Arts Consulting ...

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Arts Organizations - Arts Consulting ...

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Arts Organizations - Arts Consulting

the Monthly Newsletter of the Arts Consulting Group August 2002 The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Arts Organizations What makes any arts organization highly effective? Is it their ability to raise money? What about selling thousands of tickets or memberships? Maybe it’s that they have a strong educational program. Or that they have high artistic quality. In this edition of Arts Insights, we’ve adapted Stephen R. Covey’s bestseller, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and looked at how it relates to the arts industry. What are the seven habits and how can arts management professionals, volunteers, board members, and visionaries create highly effective organizations? First of all, let’s define habit before we get into the top seven. Webster’s dictionary says a habit is “a characteristic action that is often repeated.” When we expand upon that basic context, we use Covey’s definition of “a habit” as “the intersection of knowledge, skills, and desire.” Ultimately, this is the “what to do and why,” the “how to do it,” and the “want to do it,” respectively. So, how does the habit get formed and when do we meet at that crucial intersection of organizational effectiveness? 1. BE PROACTIVE The first step in creating an effective arts organization is to be proactive. That means taking initiative in artistic, administrative, constituent, and community matters. Think about the language you use each day. Is it proactive or reactive? Here are some examples for consideration: Reactive Language There’s nothing we can do to change the situation. We must present this artist this season. We don’t have time to do it all. The Board won’t allow that to happen. We can’t raise any more money. Proactive Language Let’s look at our alternatives. We prefer to present this artist this season because …. Let’s set our priorities together. Let’s create an effective presentation to persuade the Board. We are choosing to set limits, but will actively meet our fundraising goals. We can look at any situation or personal interaction with a reactive or proactive outlook. Highly effective arts organizations are proactive. All the challenges that they face fall into three areas where they have direct control of their own actions, indirect control over the behavior of others, or no control over what has already happened to them. Covey looks at the Circle of Influence (things that we can do something about) and the Circle of Concern (world events, problems at work, our health, etc.) in addressing these matters. Organizations can determine their level of proactivity by how much time and energy they spend in each of these concentric “circles.” The larger the Circle of Influence, the smaller the Circle of Concern and visa versa. With that said, think about and listen to your own language and those of your colleagues around you. Does your organizational cultural sound proactive or reactive? How can you and your organization create a greater Circle of Influence by being more proactive?

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