One of our readings in “Strategic Communications” is about Blue Man Group.
The Business of Blue Man, by Rob Walker, is a fascinating look at the transformation of the group from 3 guys in a studio to a multimillion-dollar business.
Since our class deals with organizational change, we discussed the many transitions that Blue Man Group went through over the years, and how they managed to stay true to their vision throughout the process.
Originally, the 3 founders staged their own performances in New York. They performed 6 days a week for 3 years without a break. The “Ah Hah” moment came when they realized that they didn’t have to be the only performers – that they could have other people perform the skits, which left them free to franchise the show.
That moment really resonated with me because my work style is more hands-on, you might even say micromanaging…I have a certain vision for the way things should be done, and by being in control of the whole process, I ensure that vision is carried out.
How did Blue Man Group manage to maintain their vision, even with 38 performers around the country? They wrote a “Why To” manual. Not a “How To” manual, which tells you how do things, but a “Why To” manual, which tells you why to do things – it explains the vision, so that the performers are free to carry it out in different ways while ensuring that the vision is the same. This lets the artists be artists, and helps them improvise when things don’t go according to plan.
From this example, I learned how I could be more inspirational than supervisory in my management style. Great take-away!