Mastering the Art of Getting Things Done

Posted by Mr. Drew McManus, Oct 24, 2015 0 comments

Strategic planning is a key component of building a sustainable, effective arts organization. I believe that to the core of my professional soul and when the arts field began moving in that direction about 10 years ago, it was a relief.

As a consultant, I’ve worked with numerous groups over the past twenty years on transitioning from annual to strategic planning and for a number of years those projects produced terrific results; but somewhere along the way, the field became awash in a sea of theory and visioning to a point where a critical skills gap began to emerge.

To be clear, this isn’t a denunciation of strategic planning efforts, rather, it’s a reminder that the adage “too much of a good thing” exists for a reason.

This skills gap became exacerbated thanks to not only a rapid increase in the quantity of new tools available but a sharp uptick in the development rate and feature sets for existing desktop business applications.

Taking A Cue From The Medical Field

Fortunately, this syndrome isn’t unique to the field of arts administration and we could benefit by adopting some of the tenets from medical board certification standards by focusing on continuous development of individual skill sets, especially those that enable us to bridge the gulf between 30,000 foot view strategy and boots on the ground implementation.

Simply put, we need to ease up a bit on the conceptual stuff and focus more on how to get things done.

For instance, it isn’t uncommon to see a metrics and analysis component as part of a marketing department’s strategic plan. Within that section you’ll find plenty of copy about how the organization will use metrics data to evaluate the plan’s effectiveness, make necessary adjustments, etc.

But what happens if no one in the marketing department knows how to use Google Analytics beyond looking at the default page dashboard to see if average pageviews are going up or down?*

You just purchased a $30k shelf decoration of a strategic plan, that’s what.

In order to help arts professionals sidestep this bear trap, I founded in December, 2014. It’s designed to fill this void by providing high quality nuts-and-bolts oriented content from a broad cross-section of contributors drawn from a variety of arts disciplines; each with unique skills sets, experience, and areas of expertise. Since its launch, it’s been an unmitigated hit and reinforces the demand for this type of content.

ArtsHacker also serves as the inspiration for developing NAMPC’s CLICK. CLICK. DONE. Developing Your Google Analytics Skills session, think of it as a real-time step toward not only helping you get your money’s worth out that strategic plan, but becoming a more efficient and confident arts professional.

In the end, the #ClickClickDone session, along with the ongoing series of resource posts at, will help you implement your very own personal certification standards program and we can all begin to learn more from each other about specific skills and tools we use in our day-to-day tasks. To that end, if you have specific questions about goals, skills, or individual tools you can develop in order to begin mastering the arts of getting things done, just ask for help at ArtsHacker, we have a form you can use for that purpose.

Otherwise, I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at the CLICK. CLICK. DONE. session Sunday, November 8, 9:00 am - 10:15 am.

*Spoiler Alert: it’s not really all that helpful of a metric anyway.


Drew is speaking on the CLICK. CLICK. DONE. panel and will be providing one-to-one coaching on Inking The Right Deal: demystifying web, CRM, ticketing, and email marketing RFPs during the National Arts Marketing Project Conference 2015. Register on-site!


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