5 Counterintuitive Steps to Becoming A Resilient Organization

Kenneth J. Foster headshot

Kenneth J. Foster

Kenneth J. Foster, current Director of the USC Thornton School of Music Arts Leadership Program, former executive director of the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts for nearly ten years, former Chair of the Board of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, and all-around arts presenting superstar, led the plenary session at this year’s combined Wisconsin Presenters Network/Minnesota Presenters Network conference in La Crosse, Wisconsin. The topic of the plenary was “Thriving in an Uncertain World: Arts Presenting and the New Realities”—an important topic of discussion given the changing ecology of the arts presenting field—so, having used Ken’s report by the same name as a primary source document in my own research report, I was more than a little excited to hear Ken talk, in person, about this topic.

Of course, there were many golden nuggets of wisdom contained in Ken’s talk, but one topic really stuck out to me, and so I’d like to share it with you here. What you’re about to read was taken directly from Ken’s presentation slides, so all credit goes to him for the ideas and most of the words. I claim no ownership of these ideas.

If you’re as interested in this topic as I am, you can a lot read a lot more about these ideas in Ken’s Thriving In An Uncertain World report.

5 Counterintuitive Steps To Becoming A Resilient Organization

  1. Deconstruct the organizational chart. Minimize infrastructure and stay flexible to stay energized.
  2. Resist the urge to streamline; build strength through diversity, redundancies, and shared responsibility to the vision.
  3. Give up the strategic plan in favor of strategic thinking.
  4. Rather than setting goals, drive to the unrealized vision and let the benchmarks emerge.
  5. Put your evaluative faith in qualitative, not quantitative, assessments.
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