Last week I walked past a group of students that where doing something called "Shakespeare and Shakes."
Basically they did scenes from Hamlet outdoors, but before they got started they gave out free milkshakes.
The acting was good, so were the milkshakes.
It reminded me of what's cool about the arts. You don't need permission to get started.
If you want to act, or dance, or paint it doesn't take a ton of money to get going.
After the show I had a chance to talk to few of the performers. What I noticed was that they were all very clear on why they were performing together. The purpose was to have a little fun, do a little Shakespeare and entertain some folks. Nothing permanent, nothing that requires a formal organizational structure, just some friends enjoying what they are doing.
That reminded me of how vitally important it is for everyone within the groups you run or work for to be on the same page.
When I work with troubled organization, half the trouble is caused because everybody is there for different reasons.
Half the acting ensemble wants roles that will advance their careers quickly. The other half are looking to build a home where they can perform for the next 20 years.
You get the idea.
The arts are all about working with people. And that's impossible to do long term if we are not all here for the same reasons.
So look around you. Do you know why everyone is involved with the organization?
Have you asked them directly or are you just assuming?
Do they know why you are there?
It's an important conversation to have, but it is often lost in the frenzy of doing the next show . . . and then the next show.
Avoid the frenzy. Take the time to make sure everyone has the same goals.