Learning during "Burn Out" LO22466

Philip Pogson (ppogson@uts.edu.au)
Thu, 19 Aug 1999 13:51:01 +1000

Replying to LO22459


Thanks for your post. I too am part of a small consultancy firm and
struggle with the same problems and challenges that you outlined.

I find that time off is essential, as is reading, exercise and reflection
time. Also important are the Firm's values. Our values include
accountability to clients, society, and the natural environment, and

I cannot deliver on the above values unless time is scheduled for
learning, reflection, debreifing, family, and other responsibilities such
as taking part in school and other activities that build community in a
sustainable way. We don't want to be rich consultants, with no ties to
community and no families!

As to your comment on chamber ensembles-

>Thinking about Bill's question caused me to ponder how other small groups
>such as string quartets, string trios even, cope with long tours with
>performances 5 nights out of 7 for a number of weeks. How do touring
>theatrical and dance companies cope with extreme fatigue and early burn
>out? Little is written by quartets; less by theatrical producers about
>this aspect of their work. And what is available seems to be highly
>polished stuff. But interviews on tv and PSB arts programs have given
>valuable insights into how the members of a small intense group do manage
>to relax and actively manage around burn-out. I must talk to a friend who
>is a producer for music programmes with BBC TV in the UK!!

- my wife is a chamber musician who does up to 200 concerts per year, over
120 of which are with the same touring ensemble. Often they do not cope
well with this pressure, as the set of skills and training that makes them
good musicians, does not necessarily help them to get on with each other,
resolve conflict, look insightfully into themselves and their feelings,
and learn together (other than learning to perform better). Artists
generally resist "management" and structure, and like to be dealt with as
autonomous professionals. They are also often stubbornly "conservative"
(value judgement I know) in matters outside their field of expertise.
They are at high risk of burnout, and often survive on the adrenelin of
performance, driven by the need to communicate their art. I did hear an
interview with one famous UK quartet that took 2 full months off every
year, however, and their are other orchestras such as Franz Bruggen's
Dutch-based Orchestra of the 18th Century which only gets together a few
times per year to try ot avoid artistic burnout.

The result for her (and she is pretty good at the things I described
above), and others I know, is often quite a deal of stress. Ask any
artistic agent how much time s/he spends smoothing over perceived insults,
repairing damaged egos, convincing someone they can "still do it" etc

So, I am not sure how much performers can teach us about dealing with
burnout...but others may know more.


Philip Pogson
Leadership Development Strategy Consultant
Staff Development Branch
University of Technology Sydney NSW 2007

ph: +61 2 9514 2934(w)
fax: +61 2 9514 2930(w)
ph/fax: +61 2 9809 5185 (h)
mobile: +61 0412 459156

"Until one is committed there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always
ineffectiveness...Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now."



Philip Pogson <ppogson@uts.EDU.AU>

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