Tuesday, July 30

Conspirare and Spirit

I have had the privilege over the last two years of working with Conspirare, a creative, cutting edge choral group based in Austin that is redefining choral music. One of the guiding principles of my work is that Order should always follow Spirit.  The purpose of strategic planning and implementation is to align organizational culture, structures, and processes (Order) with the organization’s Spirit, so its purpose can be realized.  Order should never inhibit Spirit; it should exist to allow Spirit to soar.
Conspirare had achieved musical and organizational success through organic growth that occurred over two decades. After maturing into a globally-acclaimed leader in choral music, its board and staff leaders decided to engage in a strategic planning initiative that defined where they want to go, how they want to get there, and what they’ll need to succeed.  They courageously redefined their mission, vision, and core beliefs as well as agreed upon their strategic goals.  This month, they hired a new Managing Director who shares their vision and adds his considerable experience to the endeavor of realizing it.  Because they had done their “homework” through their strategic planning initiative, they were clear about what they were looking for in a Managing Director that would help advance their artistic and organizational goals.
Conspirare’s recent transformation through strategic planning is a great reminder for all of us personally and in our work; we need to know what we want to achieve, and then be sure that the processes we create to realize it are actually the best to do so—and that they don’t instead replace the goal itself.  Congratulations to Conspirare’s board; its Artistic Director, Craig Hella Johnson; and the staff and volunteers who supported it while fundamental assumptions were questioned, principles were defined, and goals were mapped.

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