The Postman just knocked on my door four times. (Sorry, no door bell in this post for irony.) My book order came in. I’ve got Michael Kaiser’s THE ART OF THE TURNAROUND cracked open right now. The subtitle of the book explains it all — “Creating and Maintaining Health Arts Organizations.”

In the first 3 pages I see my experiences with cultural, non-profit, and arts organizations flashing before my eyes.

Here’s a deja vu quote:
“Rarely have I seen a new computer system produce a turnaround….”

Here’s the reality check quote:
“Someone must be selected to run the turnaround. This person must have a single unified vision for the organization, have the courage to make difficult decisions in the face of controversy, possess strong negotiating skills, respect all parties including artists, work incredibly hard and have an obsessive focus on solving the problem. This person must also understand marketing, fund-raising and financial management. It is a hard job description to meet but the job cannot be divided among many people.”

Whoa. Can anyone out there speak to that?

I wrote an earlier post about Kaiser’s new non-profit crisis hotline (online) to help struggling arts organizations through this current economic spiral.

Though his book was written in 2008 — before the Madoff ponzi scheme and the Wall Street meltdown — it does outline basic wisdom for keeping an organization and the people who run it healthy. Because in up and down times, it’s easy to fall back on the familiar bad habits…and then some.