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Friday 28 July 2017

This is how a collaborative person works: 26. plan before and around committed time to personally engage with supporters and potential supporters

(This post draws heavily upon the experiences of Paul Macalindin as described in his book Upbeat, which chronicles his inspiring work with the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq. To read more posts in this series go to the March to August 2017 Blog Archive on your right.)

'In the couple of hours before the concert, I met the Music Director of the British Council, Cathy Graham, and Dr Al Shaikhly, Chair of the British Iraqi Friendship Society. They had come over from London to hear us and see how to take next year's UK visit forward. I then went to a hotel foyer round the corner, where I met Pierre Barrois, Director of the Orchestre Francais des Jeunes and Dominique Bluzet, Director of the Grand Theatre de Provence. They were checking us out for an invitation in 2013, when Marseilles-Provence became Cultural Capital of Europe.'

From Upbeat: the Story of the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq by Paul Macalindin

A couple of hours before a high profile concert, Paul is busy meeting with important supporters and potential supporters of the NYOI.

To make this happen, Paul had to do the following:
  • Identify the opportunity in advance.
  • Adopt a medium to long-term view, thinking years rather than weeks or months ahead.
  • Make use of the time immediately before and around a big chunk of committed time, in this case a concert, when many supporters and potential supporters were likely to be present and available for meetings.  

Even though Paul was going to be conducting an NYOI concert in a mere few hours, he made the effort to meet with people. If he had (perhaps understandably) dedicated the last few hours before the concert to his personal preparation, the meetings would have been covered by a deputy or not have happened.

The latter outcome would have resulted in important relationships not being maintained and developed. The former outcome would have had even worse consequences.

The implicit default message that accompanies the sending of a deputy to a meeting with supporters and potential supporters is as follows: 

'I have better and more important things to do than meet with you.' 

In many cases, the probable effect of the above message is likely to be far from advantageous. In the above example, Paul and the NYOI would have not only failed to maintain and develop key relationships but also succeeded in planting seeds of resentment within the minds of previously enthusiastic supporters and seeds of doubt within the thoughts of potential supporters.   

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