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  • benjaminnewman01

Mod. 2 Reflection - Sharing Leadership, Power, and Decision Making

Updated: Jul 28, 2023

How does power currently flow in your organization? What’s the process you and your team and organization use to make decisions of consequence? What works, what doesn’t? Where can your colleagues in this course help you as you iterate this work in your organization? Thinking back to the list of high performing team traits that I shared during Module 1, how might you positively influence those through what we’ve explored this week? As you think about the Culture Deck from Module 1, does any of this help move levers for aspects you feel are important?

The purpose of this week’s group reflection is to share both where your team and/or organization currently are and what might help you experiment – or experiment more – with sharing leadership, power, and decision making. I’d like for you to return to the “outside consultant” prompt we used at the start of the course as well as the Language, Policy, Practice, Program/Initiative framework. What is (1) a “low hanging fruit” way you can experiment with sharing leadership, power, and decision making in your organization, and (2) what would be quite challenging but would fundamentally shift this work in your organization? And, what support can those in this group offer in service towards this goal?

 

I’m in an interesting place with a major project I’m currently working on. I’m producing a Concert Preview of a new opera in development that combines sound healing ceremonies, neuroscience, indigenous ritual practices, all wrapped up in a transcultural sound world. In comparison to other operas I’ve ever participated in producing, or seen produced, the way in which this one came together is far from the status quo.


In looking for ways within this project to apply the Language, Policy, Practice, and Program/Initiative framework, I’ve engaged in a few examples of each. First, in creating the contact list I request and add everyone’s pronouns so the entire team can be aware when they arrive on the first day. The project was also conceived by a nonbinary artist who uses they/them pronouns so it’s provided an excellent opportunity for me to practice incorporating their use in meetings and also creating space for others to practice without judgment if/when they make a mistake.


I was added into this project about 9 months into its development and some inequitable fees had already been established with some of the musicians contracted for the concert. While we were given carte blanche to use our supporter’s funding, my producer mind had to look at alternative ways to create a more equitable fee structure without compromising ongoing expenses and potential unknown expenses that might arise. The opportunity for higher performance fees arose when the artist proposed recording the music separately from the performance in a recording studio. This allowed for me to initiate separate contracts with an equitable and higher fee structure for everyone involved.


Had I been involved in this project from its inception, I would have collaborated with the artist to build out a set of community values and vision for how those values would be put into practice in the course of the project’s development. Where I will have an opportunity to refocus the team and try to align the team with a shared set of values is during our collective post-mortem following concert and recording project.


Whenever possible, I introduce a metaphor one of my mentor’s in college shared with me during a particularly frustrating musical coaching session on interpretation. He said “Ben, I just want you to do 3 things, pay attention to the beginning, the middle, and the end of every single note. His attempt to relieve my stress failed completely, but also created a framework that I would apply to every project in which I engage. In the context of the performing arts, I view this metaphor as pre-production (the time leading up to the performance), production (the performance run) and post-production (the work that immediately follows after performances end). In my experience, many companies do very well with production, and decently with pre-production, but very few focus on post-production, which I would argue is the most important of the three phases because it allows for feedback while memories are still fresh and creates a framework for where the organization is in that moment so we can shape where it’s going.


Most companies in my experience repeat the same process of pre-production and production over and over again without ever giving a second thought to consider the value of post-production. In the few examples of work experiences I have had where companies do prioritize post-production, their audience has greater engagement, understands the company’s story, and tracks the company’s development and growth in a way that allows their ticket buyers to feel boat invested and involved in the journey and story that is unfolding. I plan on having a post-production meeting with my project's creative team within three days of the project's completion so we can talk about what worked, what didn't, and what we want to do before the next staging.


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