One of the most disappointing experiences I had early in my life as an arts admin was the time I let the financial expectations of a show get blown way out of wack.
You know how it goes . . . you have an artistic event coming up. The event is going to be expensive. The donors have given as much as they plan on giving, so now all the pressure is on earned income to make the show viable.
So I made the fatal mistake, I allowed pressure from the artistic staff and the Board to raise expectations around the show beyond all reason.
Then the show happened . . . and you know what, it was a good show. It was well produced, the audience liked it, etc.
Internally, however, we called the show a failure because it didn't hit it's financial goal.
To be honest, I let that particular show down.
That was many years ago but it still bothers me.
Running an arts organization is, in many ways, a guessing game.
There is so much information you don't know, or can't really accurately project . . . so you make your best guess at the beginning and adjust along the way.
But the question is, what is driving your best guest?
Is it the ego of the artistic staff?
Is it the facts?
Is it something else entirely?
Think about it.
Because in this line of work nothing is more important then setting proper expectations.
If you don't you can ruin a good thing before it starts.