I had lunch with a colleague the other day – John Bourdeaux, the Director of Development at Hartford Stage. We had a lovely time getting to know one another. (I had his job years ago – and the organization is still close to my heart.)
He had many interesting things to say, but one really stuck with me. I think you’ll find it enlightening, too.
(John graciously agreed to help me put his idea in writing. So from this point on, I can only claim partial credit as the author. The funny parts are totally John’s.)
John explained that in development, there are two kinds of people: there are magicians, and there are farmers.
Magicians arrive in a flash of light. They have people oohing and ahing. They claim to perform miracles. There’s misdirection, fun, and tricks. Everyone loves a magic show.
Then there are farmers. It’s pretty boring to watch them work. Lots of the same thing, over and over. It’s kind of hard to tell on a day-to-day basis if they are making any progress. Worse, they may even ask people to jump in and help from time to time.
Magicians disappear in a poof of smoke. There’s nothing left but glitter and an orphaned bunny.
After a lot of hard work, the farmer serves up a bounty – a cornucopia, a thanksgiving dinner. And the well-tended fields will yield again.
So which are you?
PS: John points out that if we development folks are going to use our own terminology – “cultivate,” “steward,” etc. – we must acknowledge that these come from farming/animal husbandry backgrounds.