I’ve lately been  considering putting the second half of my general job description in quotes.  As in Arts “Management”.  It’s not that the verb “manage” feels like an overstatement, it just never seems to begin to describe this amazing dance that we do.

I was pleased to read this recent post on Bob Sutton’s Work Matters blog: From Chaos Comes Creativity, from Order Comes Profit. The key phrase: “…the messiness and failure required to generate a new idea needs to be shut off as you move into the implementation phase, where more control and order are required.” Somehow, viewing “management” as the act of defining this transition point – and giving the activities on either side of it the room they need to flourish – well, that brought new clarity.

On the “chaos” side of the hill, we must strive to keep the conversation loose, to facilitate a huge quantity of crazy ideas so that the truly great ones can emerge, to see the exhausting and challenging aspects of the artistic personality as completely bound up with the creativity that we so desperately seek.

On the “order” side, we must seek to endorse chosen ideas while not completely invalidating others, to nurture the spirit of creativity while finding that place where it can truly flourish, and to sustain hours and days of spreadsheets, emails and reports.

All of this soul-searching took me, as many good things often do, to Merriam-Webster.  Italics mine.

Main Entry: manage
Function: verb

1 : to handle or direct with a degree of skill: as a : to make and keep compliant [good luck with that… let me know how compliance works for you…] b : to treat with care [this I can do] c : to exercise executive, administrative, and supervisory direction of [really? a string of 3 adjectives that make me laugh]
2 : to work upon or try to alter for a purpose [once the purpose is properly defined, I’m all about this one]
3 : to succeed in accomplishing [from your mouth to God’s ears]

Now back to translating Zaide.  Nur mutig, mein Herze, versuche dein Glück!

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