Boston Lyric Opera

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1. BLO’s eight customer objectives

The first objective is to gain generous contributions. The amount per donator, ration between new donators and new contacts (collection rate) and the total amount of the donators and contributions are ways to measure how this aspect is doing. Incentives for the staff should also be incorporated into these objectives, especially ones that steer the process towards multi-year support programs.

To measure the board involvement and recruitment, it is important that the reputation of the new board member is blameless and since operating in Boston, a local person with strong ties to the community would be better. To measure involvement the easiest way is to look the member’s activity, how many times they’ve been in meetings and how they’ve acted to build strategy. For example number of new initiatives. Also hours spent educating the board members about strategy and vision could be one measurement.

Building an artistic reputation is hard and so is measuring it. Reviews on papers give a sight how the opera is doing, but the best way to know is to make a consumer survey for example once a month. Also comparing the growth in visitors between BLO and other operas gives an idea. Rating different aspects is another way to measure the artistic view. Giving value for example to the lead singer or the orchestra will help to understand how the opera is doing on its main field. These measures aren’t very proactive though, but helpful anyway. One objective is to launch a residency program. Its success can be measured by the amount of acceptances to invites and by comparing the audience amounts to normal.

Like when measuring artistic reputation, the best way to measure how exciting and diverse opera’s repertories are is to see reviews and audience amounts. The grading system works when the given grades are compared to the rivals’ same grades and the shows are compared. These are of course not proactive measures.

BLO wants to collaborate with other major artistic institutions like museums and theatres. Also other operas and specially talents working in them are important. One way to measure collaboration is the amount of tickets to opera that our associates sell. How many per cent of the total amount of sold tickets is it and have these collaborations brought new visitors to BLO. Community support and focus on community programs can be measured with the amount of local donators and specially the amount of new supporters. Has the PR-campaign been affective? Have local companies supported the opera? This can be measured with the amount of companies.

Measurements that measure processes in line with the strategy are not always easy to find and it usually takes a lot of time to find the right ways to use them. Often they need to be adjusted or reset to fit the strategy. The main challenge is to find measures that are pro-active and directive instead of controlling. 2. Boston Lyric Opera had not really measured their organizational performance before. This had ultimately caused lack of focus and limited accountability. Boston Lyric Opera was mainly led by qualitative values as quantitative measures and financials were not the topmost factors in decision making. The new general director Janice Del Sesto and BLO’s board acknowledged that there was a history of expensive opera productions and large losses in Boston’s opera scene and they had to adapt a new business philosophy in order to operate fiscally. Non-profit organizations often have a lack of focus and their strategy concentrates to too many things at the same time. Ken Freed, a BLO board member, acknowledged that a more formal strategic planning process was essential for BLO in order to avoid mistakes that several arts organizations had made in the past. They decided to adapt the Balanced Scorecard to focus their strategic planning process. Using the Balanced Scorecard, BLO and its employees could see their day-to-day activities within...
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