Yes a rather dramatic statement, one that is a bit of a shifting sand type of issue, however this month we are compelled to address an issue that is beginning to impact negatively on Australian industry including entertainment technology. Whilst it will elicit indifference, debate, even denial, it will however resonate with many, we are talking about ‘leadership’ the innate core quality that defines and drives an industry. Based on feedback, observation and experience, we present the hypothesis; our entertainment technology industry is confronting a changing of the guard. We are moving from a first generation leadership to one that needs to be ready, willing and able to take care of business and meet the challenges of a constantly changing landscape. So the question is, are we now ready as an industry for leadership transition, we suggest the answer is an emphatic no.
We have been served for thousands of years by entertainment technology, look at the way the old world designed amphitheatres and the staging in a Shakespearian period theatre. But the first quantum leap came with the discovery of electricity, facilitating a multitude of possibilities, including storage and distribution of aural and visual information. Australia was there from the beginning creating technology, manufacturing it, using it and producing entertainment content. We know that much progress was made throughout the first half of the twentieth century, led by sound and colour for moving picture. As we entered the 1950s more sophisticated recording techniques and technology were developed and higher quality recording of music was possible, oh and television arrived for us in 1956. The period also gave birth to Rock and Roll that would inevitably help facilitate another quantum leap, the music and pop culture explosion of the 1960s, the sheer magnitude and diversity of which, had never been seen before. The explosion of music recording and performance during the period impacted positively on all aspects of entertainment technology, bigger, louder, deeper was the order of the day, creating opportunity for all sectors including audio, lighting, staging and vision.
Many of the entertainment technology enterprises we know today were born in, or of the 1960’s, which enabled the passion, the impetus and reason for being.
As we entered the 1970’s consumption of entertainment technology increased, new import companies were born, accompanied by new position descriptions and careers. On the service side, the equipment rental business developed into a substantial sector, deploying a burgeoning array of equipment and employing numerous individuals.
In general terms we are not well prepared for a leadership transition, there is little evidence of planning or training, and we are not attracting appropriate skill from outside. There is no suggestion we populate our industry with ‘empty suits’ or those hell-bent on gouging a quick buck, invariably they do not succeed. The wise among us know it is not an industry where fortunes are made overnight, an abiding passion and affinity are the traits that have and will underpin the drive and sustainability required, but we must produce the qualities that define leadership, and part of the answer lies in starting from within, enter ACETA.
It is foolish to deny and prudent to plan, confronting the issue is clearly a shared responsibility and ACETA will lead, however we do not yet have a strategy. Industry leadership challenges including mentoring will be addressed at the next board of management meeting based on what we know and what you contribute, so we need your feedback to arrive before we can develop a strategy. In the interim we are looking at running a pilot leadership training program, which will be convened in Melbourne, if an ACETA member wishes to participate (at no charge) and send a suitable candidate(s) please advise your interest by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or telephoning ACETA HQ on (03) 9254 1033. Let’s hear your thoughts. We can help, if you take the time to communicate, so come on and make contact.
All the best