Sunday, January 29, 2012

Merchandising and the Arts

Good morning.
"And the beat goes on............................."

Merchandising the arts:
Long before Napster and the file sharing platforms and iTunes changed the revenue stream model of the music industry - moving away from record sales as the primary source of income for recording artists to touring taking that role - merchandising of branded products established itself as the third leg in the income stool.  Rock and roll early discovered that there was a market (and huge profits) for merchandise associated with popular artists - from tee shirts, tour jackets and baseball hats to posters and programs, from coffee mugs to backstage passes, from musical instruments to keychains.  And the merchandising segment of the industry has grown so large as to actually often surpass income from both the sales of recorded music and even touring income.  Product endorsement soon joined the lucrative income source as music was sold to hype and sell other brands (e.g., Bob Seeger's "Like A Rock" being used for years by GM as its theme song to sell GM trucks).

The music industry learned early on how to aggressively market its merchandise - first as a point of purchase thread at live concerts, then by mail and now online, in retail outlets and at trade shows.  Taking a cue from the music business, the film industry quickly followed suit marketing film studio products (e.g., the Warner Bros. and Disney retail outlets across the country) and, much more significantly, marketing specific movie products (from Star Wars to Transformers to Toy Story) - including apparel, action figures and other toys, and beyond.  The film industry also used branded products as commercial ties to promote a given film itself (e.g., the McDonalds action figure Happy Meals etc.), a relationship that worked well for both partners and not only yielded additional income to the film companies but became part of their overall marketing strategy to sell tickets.

Sports also learned from the music and film industries, and NFL, NBA, major league baseball and other sports now derive substantial income from their own merchandising efforts.  Lesser sports also jumped on the bandwagon - e.g., Golf - which not only merchandises product, but provides endorsement income to the players.

All of this activity comes under the heading of merchandising and it is big business - not just in America but now on a global basis.  Rock and Roll and movie tee shirts are ubiquitous across the planet worn by rich and poor alike.

While piracy and counterfeiting are a problem for merchandising efforts as they are for copyrighted music and film, legitimate merchandising for which income is gained continues to grow.

There are some efforts in the nonprofit arts to merchandise, but for the most part those efforts are ancillary and not thought of as significant.  We have given little thought to expansion of a product line, how to aggressively market "merchandise", how we might better cooperate in sales and distribution, and how such strategies might augment weak bottom lines.

Museums do the best within our sector.  Not only blockbuster exhibitions of Picasso, King Tut, Van Gogh or the like, but even lesser exhibitions are now routinely merchandised with coffee table catalog books, posters,  baseball caps and even mugs, keychains, mouse pads and so on.  Museums have an advantage in that they have permanent physical plants in which almost all include a Gift Shop.  To a lesser extent they market their merchandise online, and a few even venture into holiday (Christmas) marketing.

Performing arts groups more often than not share facilities and those facilities do not have a permanent gift shop on site.   A large percentage of those organizations market merchandise at their performances - again clothing and books, but also DVDs, calendars and other items.  Of the performing arts, dance seems at least slightly ahead of music and theater in merchandising - but all of the performing arts lag far behind what the potential of the market might be.  Most performing arts merchandising efforts are sort of "afterthoughts" and not really seen or treated as even potentially lucrative enough to qualify as a funding stream.

I think we are missing out on the development of a meaningful revenue source by our failure to develop the potential for merchandising within the arts.  There is really no reason why we should not be able to expand the market to significant levels.  We need to think more about how we might successfully first make our brands more marketable and then merchandise our brands and offerings more successfully.

More than likely, of course, we cannot simply try to replicate what the music, film or sports industries have done.  Those sectors trade on "celebrity" to an extent that may not be available to us.  We're not likely to soon sell Opera star action figures or Symphony Conductor bobble head dolls (though I would love to see that happen some day), nor are we likely to soon negotiate Burger King tie-ins (though perhaps that is not as far-fetched as some might imagine), but we can do some things to begin the process of making merchandising a meaningful source of income across the sector:

First, we ought to think broader in terms of marketing standard merchandise items - i.e., tee shirts should be branded as "fashion items" and seen as 'hip' for certain target demographics.  More thought should be put into at least the basic clothing items we might successfully brand and market.  We are simply operating on a primitive level in terms of the way we approach the limited merchandising we do.

Second, we need to figure out ways to expand the distribution of our merchandising catalogs at all purchase points - including at performances, online, via normal retail outlets etc.  As part of such expansion, we need to talk with each other as to how we might cooperatively market our merchandise so that we might benefit from the economy of scale.  There is no reason every city that has a Disney store ought not to also have an "Arts" store merchandising a range of items from a wide variety of organizations.   We ought to be able to develop at least a limited line of high end fashion apparel brands that might be created in conjunction with major designers and then carried by high end retailers from Macy's to Nordstrom's to Neiman Marcus etc.

Third, we need to think about how to more aggressively market standard and new merchandise.  We need to learn how to sell the idea that a branded arts product is essential to own - in the same way products are marketed not only by the music, film and sports industries, but by mainstream companies from fashion designers to Proctor & Gamble.

Fourth, we need to do some specific demographic target marketing.  Thus, for example, while tee shirts may be a hard sell to an older Opera demographic, fashion tee shirts aimed at the kids of that group might do very well with their parents.  In fact, we ought to have a whole segment of our merchandising industry directed at kids - from toddlers to teens to college kids.  Certainly fashion clothing and accessories, but also beyond that to such things as arts mobiles for baby cribs  We ought to also target niche markets - including multicultural groups and the LGBT community.  This approach ought to be a natural for us.

Fifth, we need to zero in on specific holiday marketing - from Valentine's Day to the Fourth of July, from Christmas to New Year's - including certain multicultural holiday niche markets.

Sixth, we need to put more thought into how to "celebritize" our major artists - particularly performing artists such as dancers, musicians, and playwrights - as part of a wider effort to brand the arts as 'hip' and 'cool'.  We need to target multicultural niche groups here too.  There is no reason African American, Latino, and Asian dancers, composers, musicians, actors, playwrights and visual artists should not be seen as 'heroes' in their (and the larger) communities.  Doing so will open opportunities for greater merchandising.

Finally, we need to begin the process of thinking about tie-ins for our merchandising efforts.

Of course this kind of thinking will be anathema to the purists.  God forbid, we sully the image with such pedestrian marketing - even if it helps us to survive.  To those I say "Get real already."

The point is that there are a lot of discretionary merchandising dollars out there that ought to be flowing into our coffers that are not.  At a time when everyone is talking about new revenue models and how difficult our income generation has become, we are missing out by our failure to take a more sophisticated, aggressive look at the potential for merchandising within our own field.  Moreover, merchandising is not only potentially profitable, it helps establish our brands and that ultimately helps garner increased audiences and more support.

Again, as in other suggestions I have made, this is something that will best be addressed (at least in part) by the sector as a whole and not just by each organization acting individually.

Have a good week.

Don't Quit.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Wanted: Warm body with big checkbook

Good morning.
"And the beat goes on........................."

Board Recruitment:
While we do an increasingly fair job at trying to find the right person to fill our empty Executive Director and other senior management slots, the same cannot be said about our attempts to recruit new Board members.

Ideally, of course, we seek board members who are passionately committed to the goals and missions of our organizations.  Smart, involved people with deep ties to various segments of the community who will be active in helping to increase the capacity of our organizations, improve their sustainability, and be responsible stewards in the discharge of their fiduciary duties.  We want high profile people, solid business contacts, diverse representation and people eager to right our financial ships.  From the perspective of most staff, the goal is people who will get involved but not micromanage; partners in community outreach, fundraising and as advocates and boosters.  We seek people who have some knowledge of the arts and in particular the ecosystem of the given organization, who understand their role, and who bring something to the table as it were.

But the reality is that there are really two principal criteria that invariably govern our decision to invite someone to join our boards:  1) without meaning to sound specious, the main qualification we look for is really just a warm body - someone who will actually show up at meetings and contribute in some way, someone who will accept the position; and 2) people willing to write a check - the bigger the better.  Less important, but an added bonus is if the candidate has a high profile that we believe will somehow inure to the benefit of our organization.

We don't, for the most part, vet potential candidates much more than that.  There are no search firms to do sophisticated board recruitment, and the typical arts organization has no developed policy, protocol or procedure that governs the selection of new Board members.  New potential board members often meet with someone from the Board nomination committee charged with finding good board members in some very informal way and the recommendation to the full Board is invariably to approve the applicant - which the Board almost always does in some rubber stamp procedure with little to no discussion.  Nominating committee members seek out like minded people more often than not from some similar background or network from which the committee member comes, and while there may be some attempts to cast a wide net, that simply does not happen that often.  Bottom line:  almost never does an arts organization reject a potential board candidate.  We can't afford to - the pool is too small, the competition too fierce and the options too few.  And, we have so little time to devote to this enterprise.  We take what we can get and give the whole process precious little thought or energy.

Of course, it is difficult to find a slate of candidates clamoring to join the typical arts organization board.  And that is particularly true for those candidates every organization wants - the well heeled, people of color, business and civic leaders, people with cache.  Large euro-centric stalwart organizations make little attempt to recruit those with small bank accounts (for many the board is a key source of annual revenue and that need trumps the need for board members to be otherwise qualified and bring more than money to the table).  Neither the big cultural institution, nor the average sized arts organization, seriously tries to place younger generation members on their board.  The truth is that the profiles of many board memberships are self-perpetuating - including the questionable practice of re-electing board members to multiple terms.  Unlike the private sector and Fortune 500 companies, too few Executive Directors of our arts organizations serve on other arts organization boards - no time I suspect.  Most board members have little to no understanding of how nonprofits function - or what the challenges they face entail.

Theoretically, board members are responsible for the financial soundness of the organization and for providing expertise and support to the managers of the organization.  The Board sets policy and hires the executive in charge of running the organization.  The Carver principle suggests those are the sole functions of a good board, and that boards really ought not to get involved in day to day operational decisions, program management, or much more.  In reality, boards often ignore those suggested guidelines and see their job as making all kinds of decisions.  That invariably leads to conflicts, poor staff / board working relationships and suspect decision-making.  Many an organization gets into serious trouble because the board and staff are at odds.

Boards vary widely in their number, composition and the way they conduct their business and there is little development of any guidelines (other than theoretical) as to how they might best function.  We are, sadly, all over the map as it were in regards to everything about our boards.  Some boards are great, others pathetic.  It takes the typical arts organization some time to get in place a board that seems to work for it - at least in the short run.  Over the long haul, many arts organizations experience cycles of good and bad boards - depending in large part who is calling the shots.  And on the average board, some members are very active and others very passive; some are supportive, others almost combative.  Our board training is pretty much confined to some brief, and more often than not, meaningless orientation session, the proverbial board handbook with sections on the bylaws, finances and a roster of phone numbers, and the once ubiquitous annual Board Retreat - which seems to have fallen out of favor.

In such a climate, one would think that putting more thought into the recruitment (and then training) of board members would be accepted thinking for every organization.  Yet it seems to me we have been moving away from paying more attention to our  boards; less emphasis on who we want and how we get those people, let alone what professional development we provide them not only at the beginning of their tenure, but during that tenure as well (and the problem there, of course, is that most board members do not want to make that kind of time commitment, and though we want them to, there is no making such involvement mandatory for fear the potential member will simply bolt.  In that regard, we have paid little attention to why people join boards in the first place - perhaps because we intuitively know many, if not most of them, do so for the wrong reasons).   Everything from the number of members on any given board to the frequency of meetings is often an arbitrary and random decision with little thought into it.  Alas, too many decisions about our boards are given short shift.

No, there are few boards who would ever turn down someone willing to accept the invitation and write a check -- no matter how unqualified they may be in every other respect.

We really ought to pay more attention to what a board ought to be, how it ought to function, who we want on our boards v. who we will accept, and what we expect of them once they agree to serve - beyond showing up with their checkbook.   - not as a sector, but as individual organizations. We have moved too far away from understanding their role and maximizing their effectiveness.

Have a good week.

Don't Quit.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Workplace Autonomy

Good morning.
"And the beat goes on......................"

Autonomy / Creativity / Efficiency and Productivity:
Got an email from Daniel Pink with a piece from the toolkit in his new book "Drive" -- the excerpted piece entitled: "Nine Ways to Improve Your Company, Office or Group" - dealing largely with the question of workplace motivation.  One interesting toolkit suggestion was to conduct a Workplace Autonomy Audit to help get an idea of how much autonomy the people in your organization really have.

Here's the excerpt:
"Ask everyone in your department or on your team to respond to these four questions with a numerical ranking (using a scale of  0 to 10, with 0 meaning"almost none" and 10 meaning a "huge amount".) 
1.  How much autonomy do you have over your tasks at work------your main responsibilities and what you do in a given day?
2.  How much autonomy do you have over your time at work------for instance, when you arrive, when you leave, and how you allocate your hours each day?
3.  How much autonomy do you have over your team at work ----- that is, to what extent are you able to choose the people with whom you typically collaborate?
4.  How much autonomy do you have over your technique at work ----- how you actually perform the main responsibilities of your job?

Make sure all responses are anonymous. Then tabulate the results. What's the employee average?  The figure will fall somewhereon a 40-point autonomy scale  (with 0 being a North Korean prison and 40 being Woodstock).  Compare that number to people's perceptions. Perhaps the boss thought everyone had plenty of freedom - but the audit showed an average autonomy rating of only 15. Also calculate separate results for task, time, team,and technique.  A healthy overall average can sometimes mask a problem in a particular area."

This, of course, presupposes that more autonomy is good - an increasingly embraced proposition in the matrix of organizational dynamic thinking.  From Google to our own creative sector --- new idea generation, the vaulted out-of-the-box thinking, happy, motivated employees and even increased productivity ---are all seen as directly linked to workplace autonomy.  So we obviously want to foster more autonomy and knowing how much our people really enjoy is a necessary precondition.

Having been an employee, the head of organizations both large and small and a "start-up" entrepreneur - I would generally come down on the side of more autonomy is good - too much structure, too much hierarchy, too much regulation and too much micromanagement stifle new ideas and cutting edge competitive awareness.  Moreover, more freedom, more autonomy, more encouragement of risk taking all help attract the best talent in the marketplace, and foster an ecosystem that nurtures idea generation.  And that environment increases loyalty and commitment to the organization and arguably both efficiency and productivity.

That said, I wonder if we are too blindly loyal to such concepts.  Is there not a danger in taking concepts such as workplace autonomy and applying them in blanket terms to all situations in any given sector?  Is not workplace autonomy both a plus and a minus given certain particular circumstances?  Should it not be applied differently in different situations?  What do we know of how it should be applied in those situations?  Is it more valuable in its outcome for those with more workplace experience, or is it more valuable to those not yet jaded by such experience?  Or does the level of workplace experience have any impact at all?  Even at Google must there not be some form to the governing autonomy?  Must it not exist within some constraints so as to give it form and make it meaningful?  After reading the Steven Jobs biography, it would seem Apple was a company wherein autonomy was cherished and promoted, but within very narrow perimeters of the vision enunciated by Jobs himself.  Autonomy was the tool, but not necessarily itself the driver.

I wonder where autonomy fits into the overall best practices for the nonprofit arts sector.  We are of course small businesses like many others, but we are also unique as are all those others.  In terms of applying organizational theories designed to improve our workplace environments, make our employees and our bosses happier and more productive, and help us address the challenges we face - we need to expend some efforts in tailoring and adapting valuable theories to our own sets of circumstances.

Thus if autonomy is seen as a value that is important to the organization, we need to understand how it best works for our organizations within our sector.  If autonomy is embraced, then the first implication is that we need to hire people who are comfortable being given more workplace autonomy.  Not all people are so comfortable, and thus giving those in that profile more freedom does not necessarily yield the desired outcomes.  Do we zero in on candidates for various open positions and seek out those who want and benefit from more autonomy?  Is it even on our radar screens in terms of job searches?

I suspect autonomy is such a powerful factor, that it works better if implemented in stages customized to employee needs and desires.  Autonomy being designated as a positive value doesn't necessarily mean that all structure is a negative.  (Reminds me of the line in Camus' The Rebel:  That "everything is permitted does not necessarily mean that nothing is forbidden." or words to that effect.)

We don't have to invent our own litany of organizational theories that will improve our workplaces; we can adapt those that others have designed.  But we do need to put some thought into those adaptations and individual applications so that they work for us.  However much (or little) autonomy you may want your organization to embrace, it may be of value to you to know how much actually exists right now.  And more importantly it may be something to talk about - as an organization.

Have a great week.

Don't Quit

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Less is More

Good morning.
"And the beat goes on.................................."

Meetings with Outcomes or "Let's Actually Do Something Already":
A couple of weeks ago I suggested that we really ought to convene several national summit meetings to address specific issues - from getting every state to launch a political action committee to establishment of a coherent national research agenda to cooperatively creating the framework for collaborative leveraging of our numbers to achieve the benefits of economy of scale.

I've been thinking about that and what we do (or don't do) when we gather.  A recent entry from Thomas Cott's blog -You've Cott Mail - on arts conferences echoed some of what I have been feeling for a long time.  (BTW - if you aren't familiar with his You've Cott Mail blog - he curates - on a DAILY basis - thematic entries on a given subject.  The amount of work it takes to do what he does is mind boggling.  Perhaps only Doug McLennan's Arts Journal is more ambitious.  I've been meaning to plug him for a long time.  You really should subscribe to Clott's blog.  I am a huge fan.  While every posting may not interest you, I guarantee you that you will find much to stimulate your thinking over the course of a month.  This is one of my favorite blogs.)

Anyway, the first entry in Cott's Friday, January 6th blog was a comment from Eleanor Turney in the UK Guardian:  She writes:
"A group of like-minded people gathered in one place could put serious weight behind something and make a practical difference. However, many of the recent [arts conferences] I've attended have not taken advantage of this fact. These events have, at best, been a showcase of great work without much other content and, at worst, been mutual commiserating or back-scratching. I know big conversations happen, around the country, daily. Arts organisations are innovating, taking risks, finding new methods and partners for collaboration. So why doesn't this creative, intelligent, forward-thinking attitude translate into organising good conferences?"
For the most part, I enjoy the national arts conferences.  I attend several each year, and have had the pleasure to blog on many of them.  For me, as for many of those who have been doing this as long, or longer than I have, the chief benefit of these gathering is to network; to connect with old colleagues I haven't seen for awhile, and to meet new people.  I think there is great value in this even though I lament that more people cannot attend, that the days are mercilessly crammed with way too many sessions and activities, and that most of the content of these gatherings is not very useful.  The exchange of ideas that goes on between sessions and at the social events is really the most valuable part.  That is where the real ideas are happening.

Virtually all our conferences follow that same tired agenda formula:  One or more "keynote" speakers with great resumes who often inspire us with their rhetoric, but more often than not don't offer anything of practical use or value.  (And increasingly - to me anyway - too many of these keynoters have little to no understanding of who we are, what we do, and the problems we face and so they try to simply model their "stump" speech to fit the arts).   Then there are countless sessions often organized around generic themes - from marketing to advocacy, from communications to the 'state' of things in a given area - philanthropy for example.  To be fair, every conference will have a few gems -- where the content is above the 'bar'.  The Holly Sidford presentation on cultural equity and the James Irvine presentation on 'engagement' - both  at GIA this year are examples of sessions that raised important questions and sparked true and meaningful dialogue after the event.  Factual presentations on data at other conferences are always helpful, but for the most part, our national gatherings are not designed nor geared to 'outcomes' that tackle specific issues.

That's what bothers me.  Even the national and regional policy convenings that take place from time to time do not center around a specific challenge wherein the entire purpose of the gathering is to come up with some sort of specific response to whatever the challenge might be.  We ought to convene a wide representative sample of who we are and sit down for a two or three days with the intent to arrive at a concrete plan to deal with a given issue.  Not a general discussion full of platitudes and lofty aspirations, but a gathering that is charged with coming up with a specific outcome to address the issue at hand.  If we need a national policy on what our research agenda ought to be, then why can't we have a national meeting to do just that?  No keynoters, no panel sessions, no trips to the local museum -- just hard work for days to come up with that agenda.  That would be a most valuable contribution.  Yes, it would take a lot of work to organize and structure, but the value would clearly justify the effort.

Our national conferences are principally about 'branding' for the organization that organizes each one. They are about positioning.   I have no quarrel with that.  For some, but probably not most, a secondary objective may actually be to make a small profit.  They are an enormous amount of work to pull off, and increasingly expensive to attend (and I think we would all be stunned to know the bottom line figure for the cost of the aggregate of our national conferences), and while I firmly believe, as previously stated, that there is great value to them - they do not ever really address issues in any but the most perfunctory way.  They are largely 'talking heads' preaching to the choir and churning information already widely available elsewhere.  For the neophyte and the newbies, they obviously have great value.  To the more senior and seasoned veterans who make appearances not much new is learned, and almost nothing accomplished.  

I have great faith in the thinking power of the arts sector leadership.  Unquestionably there is a vast reservoir of keen insight and creative problem solving capacity within our ranks.  Why are we not tapping into it to come up with real plans to deal with real problems - as a sector.  Why can't we get those people together and over several days come up with ways to address the more serious, pressing issues that we face - one at a time?  Easy - no.  Hard work - yes.  But I believe that the tens of thousands of arts managers around the country would applaud presentation of such specific plans to them for their discussion.  We need to develop a national response to some of these issues.  The challenges we face - together and as individual organizations - have national implications and can't really be meaningfully addressed except from a national perspective.  

Maybe a national council of all the heads of the national organizations (a temporary, if not permanent creation) ought to have a summit meeting to talk about how to work together to design, develop and deploy some national approach to at least three or four priority issues.   Rocco - maybe you could make this happen!  Surely we can meet together and at least create the framework for actually dealing with some of these national issues.

In too many ways it seems to me that we are stuck in doing things they way we have always done them.  In too many ways we are squandering our assets while we 'talk' to each other about the same old stuff we have talked to each other about for a long time now.  And most of that talk is talking 'around' the pressing issues.  We need to convene to address the issues head on.  

If nothing else, perhaps the national arts organizations might consider focusing on just one central issue at their next conference and center all the sessions around coming up with some concrete proposal (with specificity) to address that issue.  No?  Well about just being less ambitious in trying to touch on every single topic even remotely germane to what we do and simplifying things.  More free time would mean more networking at least.

Have a good week.

Don't Quit

Sunday, January 1, 2012

When Ignorance Begets Confidence

Good morning.
"And the beat goes on....................."

2012 - another year, new beginnings.

If you ask any group of automobile owners to rate their driving skills, 80% will say:  "Above average."  We tend to have an exaggerated idea of our own skills levels, believing - erroneously - that we know more than we do; that we are better at something than we likely are.

"The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which unskilled people make poor decisions and reach erroneous conclusions, but their incompetence denies them the metacognitive ability to recognize their mistakes.  The unskilled therefore suffer from illusory superiority, rating their ability as above average, much higher than it actually is, while the highly skilled underrate their own abilities, suffering from illusory inferiority.

Actual competence may weaken self-confidence, as competent individuals may falsely assume that others have an equivalent understanding. As Kruger and Dunning conclude, "the miscalibration of the incompetent stems from an error about the self, whereas the miscalibration of the highly competent stems from an error about others".  In both cases, the perception is wrong and that clouds our ability to both perform and to improve. 
The worse we are at any specific skill set, the harder it is for us to evaluate our own competency at it.  By definition, 80% of the automobile drivers cannot be above average, but it is common for us to mistakenly see ourselves as more competent than we are (or for the few mega-competent, to see ourselves as less competent).  This isn't to say we are all incompetent and lack skill sets; rather it recognizes that we tend to often believe we are - particularly in relationship to other people - more adept and skillful than is the case.  
Doubtless this is true in the arts management profession (assuming for the moment it is a profession - but that's a topic for another blog) and we see ourselves as more skillful than we actually might be in a host of areas - from research and marketing, to advocacy and policy formulation, from program design and implementation to financial management, from interpersonal relationships to the essential skills of communication in all its forms - including listening and understanding.  In truth, the Dunning-Kruger effect suggests we are not nearly as good as what we do as we perceive ourselves to be.  And this false over-confidence likely impacts the level of our performance and the outcomes we achieve.  
Moreover, the "effect" may apply not only to us as individual managers, but it may apply to the whole of the nonprofit arts sector.  
Perhaps the New Year is a good time to think about these kinds of things.  How then does one deal with this "effect"?  
I would think the first step would be to take a long hard look at ourselves - both as individual managers and a 'sector".  Can we recognize and identify where we are subject to thinking we are more competent than we really are?  Can we admit it?  It is only surface mis-perception of our skill levels, or does it run deep into systemic self-deception?  Is it more applicable to certain strata of our leadership or is it widely pervasive?  Are certain areas of our management protocols such as to make us more susceptible to the "effect" than we might be in other areas?   
If we can dig deep enough within the dynamics of our organizational management framework, then the next step would be to consider how we might improve the skill sets where we are most vulnerable to self-exaggeration in terms of our competency.  And that, of course, leads to consideration of what kind of job we are doing in terms of providing all of our managers sophisticated and meaningful support in learning how to become a better manager and administrator (a subject of which I have previously indicated our field as seriously lacking).  In this sense, addressing the Dunning-Kruger effect, or any other identifiable phenomena that impacts our competitive capacity and ultimate success, is smart and intelligent professional development - not only deserving of attention, but demanding it.  IF we are indeed a profession - or want to become one - we need not only minimum standards of competency but both a higher bar and a comprehensive approach to developing our management skill sets to reach that higher bar.
Perhaps as you make important decisions in the beginning of the new year - decisions that will impact how well your organization fares this year - you might consider that you know less than you think - or in the case of you very rare highly skilled leaders - more than you think.  I suppose the danger is exactly what the Dunning-Kruger effect recognizes - the less skilled think they are more skilled; the highly skilled think they are less skilled.  Over confidence breeds poor decision making and less satisfactory results.  Under confidence likely produces much the same situation.  
Oh my.
Have a good week.
Don't Quit