Author Topic: Books: General Management Books  (Read 14660 times)

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Books: General Management Books
« on: Jul 15, 2005, 11:11 pm »
One of the main aspects of stage management that I feel is not covered enough in education, and even less so outside of the education world, is the "management" portion of the job.  Too often focus is put on the some of the more simple parts of our jobs, and the big white elephant in the room is how we management people.

As I am about to take on two new interns for this season, I am putting together a list of "projects" for them to do outside of their normal work load to help agument the job (some are as simple of putting together a list of what they want out of the internship, or go observe another Stage Manager do their job, some are a little more complex, like a rather length quiz on the LORT rule book.)  One of the projects I want to do is have them read an outside management book - nothing that is particular to stage management.  For example, my favoirte book is "The Heart of Coaching" which never mentions theatre, but as far as a "general management" book, has helped me develope my personal style.

Does anyone else have a "favorite" management book they could recommend?
« Last Edit: Feb 11, 2008, 12:20 pm by PSMKay »
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As a matter of fact...
« Reply #1 on: Jul 16, 2005, 02:21 am »
I actually took a class last semester at school called group processes, and my final paper was an analyzation of two different models of leadership/management/etc in organizations, and how they relate specifically to my experiences in stage management and managing in a group setting.
An interesting book I looked at was titled (ironically enough) The Drama of Leadership, by Patricia Pitcher.  As opposed to a more traditional leader vs. manager framework, she discusses three different kinds of personalities involved in a company's higherups, which she titles Artists, Craftspeople, and Technocrats. She also talks about how they work with each other and where each category's weakenesses and strengths are, and also provides a measuring scale to sort of evaluate where you fall on the spectrum. Though it's stuff a stage manager might ascertain over a few years of work, I think reading her book really articulates and gives you a great perception of these concepts that we see in our work every day, and good things to keep in mind as you analyze and best try to manage the projects and people you're working with.
Just my two cents.
And thanks for this post Matt! At some point I was actually writing this paper while watching a bunch of BFA students take apart a set and thinking how much more valuable their experiences were than my own of writing a paper... but it appears that here my BA is proving just as worthy as a BFA!


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General Management Books
« Reply #2 on: Jul 16, 2005, 11:51 am »
I've also been interested in this topic for a long time, and other than a few articles (Ben Cameron's essay in American Theatre Feb 2003 being the top-notch holy grail of what I'm looking for here) I haven't known where to look among the millions of books out there.

Having said that, I think every stage manager should read "Critical Chain" by Eliyahu M. Goldratt.  It explains a strong project management theory in an engaging fictional novel.  It gives you the tools to understand how we get shows done on time, and how a network of people create something out of nothing.  Since I read Stern's book on my first show, nothing else has helped me as much as reading Goldratt's.  

But I bet there's something else out there that would more closely align with what you're looking for, Matt.  "Getting To Yes" has been on my bookshelf for a couple of years now, and I'm going to get to read it soon - no, really...

"Becoming a Manager: Mastering a New Identity" by Linda A. Hill is a doctoral research on first-year managers and the common skills and problems that they have; I'd put that on a must-read list for first-time stage managers, especially if they have a ton of tech and ASM experience.
Heath Belden

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General Management Books
« Reply #3 on: Jul 16, 2005, 10:49 pm »
Not a specifically stage management book but: "Servant Leadership" by Greenleaf.  Was brought to my attention by a mentor who read it as part of her MFA program at Yale so...