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How Many Of Your Power Players Sit On The Board?

The March, 2013 edition of Chicago Magazine features an article titled “100 Most Powerful Chicagoans” and my first thought was “I wonder how many from the list serve on local performing arts boards?” Imagine how pleasing it was to see that one of the related featurettes, “It’s Cozy at the Top,” connected those very dots in a convenient infographic.

http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/March-2013/Cozy-at-the-Top/

http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/March-2013/Cozy-at-the-Top/

Out of the five high profile arts orgs in Chicago included in the magazine’s criteria:

  • Chicago Symphony Orchestra: Fifth Place with 3/12 members; Nos. 18, 44, & 58
  • Lyric Opera of Chicago: Third Place with 5/12 members; Nos. 4, 12, 69, 76, & 87

If your city doesn’t have a handy reference like the list from Chicago Magazine, it is always worth your while to begin compiling one then setting about the task of making connections.

Sure, it’s one thing to have a firm sense of who’s who but I have yet to encounter an instance in all my years of consulting where charting these sorts of connections out doesn’t produce some meaningful realization. From a board development perspective, it can be particularly useful on a host of different levels.

I’ve worked with charting projects that sparked a healthy competitive spirit in some board members which, in turn, was converted to positive results for the organization. The most gratifying scenarios are those that help board members move away from zero sum perspectives about resources and potential and move toward something capable of realizing something more than sum of its parts.

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