Rick Rubin and Malcolm Gladwell have teamed up to launch a new podcast called "Broken Record". The dynamic duo will be co-hosting episodes about various artists, songs, and music--with the first episode featuring Eminem, who released his Rick Rubin-produced song "Walk on Water" featuring Beyonce yesterday.
Listen to the full episode below.
This article was originally published on November 9, 2017 on our Business Insights page.
Skipping past the judgment of the scandal tied to Harvey Weinstein and the negative attention (and implications) for Mr. Weinstein, his family, his company, and his brand–let’s instead focus and look at the management lessons that other executives, business owners, managers, and employees can learn from this scandal. If we don’t learn from it we’re bound to repeat it.
Let’s look at a few things that we can learn and apply as it pertains to business and our leadership roles within it:
Anyone can start a company.
A small percentage of those who do, build those companies to be strong and profitable.
An even smaller percentage of those people seek out counsel and support to help them in the areas where they are weakest–both professionally and personally.
A tiny percentage of those people actually follow through with accepting the help and embedding the practices into their every day walk in life.
A fraction of those people succeed at consistently and passionately practicing what they preach and they place high standards on everyone that they have relationships with. They are self-accountable and expect others to hold them accountable, just as they strive to hold other people accountable. They are seen and known as honorable, respectful, and trustworthy, not only in their speech, but through their actions.
This is what makes an exceptional, dynamic leader.
There are numerous lessons that we can learn from the Weinstein scandal and others that have unfolded before and since then. Let’s focus on a few…
Do Not Surround Yourself With “Yes People”
We’ve heard this saying and we’ve said it ourselves, but truly what does this mean? Whether you’re just getting your start professionally, or you have been working hard in a 40-plus-year career, the fact stands that the worst group of people that you can have around you are “Yes People”.
These are the individuals who never challenge you, hold you accountable, call you out on your foolishness and reckless behavior. They turn a blind-eye when you do something unethical, immoral, and sometimes even illegal. They don’t want to rock-the-boat. They don’t want to upset you or hurt your feelings. They don’t want to be punished. They don’t want to lose their job or their relationship with you. These individuals refuse to tell the Emperor that he doesn’t have on a shred of clothes.
Believe it or not “Yes People” are just as toxic to your career, your business, and your personal life as people who blatantly set out to sabotage you. They feed your ego knowing that one day everything may come crashing down, and they will swear that their hands are “clean” because they didn’t do anything to cause your crash. But guess what? They didn’t do anything to prevent it.
It is imperative to your success (both professionally and personally) that you build a team of people who:
That is what we all desperately need. Don’t convince yourself that “it could never happen to me” because sadly, that is the exact same thing that others, accused and convicted, also used to say. Protect yourself!
CEOs and Other Leaders Need Training and Accountability
Call it coaching, call it training, call it whatever you want. At the beginning and end of each day the culture of an organization is formed on the values and beliefs of the founder or CEO of the company.
He or she creates and molds the internal work environment based on their views, values, and beliefs. How they see the world is how they will try to mold their employees to see the world. The things that are most important to them will slowly creep into the minds of those who work for them, and sooner than later many of those same things will become important to those who follow the leader. A cutthroat work environment was not created by the worker bees at the bottom of the corporate ladder. No, that was created by the senior leader and leaders at the top.
The amazing thing is that will all of the training and policies tied to ethics, diversity, harassment, whistleblowing, and the like—there is a small percentage of senior leaders within these organizations who actually actively participate in this same training, and align to the policies that have been implemented to dictate to the rest of the company. Some C-suite leaders will make the excuse that they are “too busy” to take part in the training sessions. Really? As though their workforce has plenty of time on their hands to stop serving your customers so they can go through that same training. We make time for what’s most important to us.
So it should not surprise us when the leaders who govern organizations, or serve in high offices fail miserably at complying to the same policies and laws that govern the people that they lead.
Imagine if politicians had to actually invest the time in attending mandatory annual training on ethics, diversity, harassment, etc.
Imagine if your CEO had mandatory training that he or she must take part in every year.
Top leaders in the public and private sector are successful for many reasons, one being, their ability to zoom in on what’s most important and delegate the rest. Unfortunately, they fail to realize the stupidity of ignoring or delegating valuable training on the very things that can land them in jail, prison, and/or facing huge financial sanctions.
You cannot risk leading with the mindset of “do as I say not as I do“. We see how that works with children, and let’s stop kidding ourselves, adults are nothing but oversized kids still trying to find a way to bend or break the rules.
For those of you who have already started your own business or built a strong brand, and for those of you who aspire to, don’t wait until you’re the Big Boss to get prepared. By then your mind may already be tainted and you may think that you already know all that you need to know, and “whatever I don’t know my assistant can handle“.
Entities Equipped With Knowledge and Resources
The biggest issue within the entertainment industry is that there is no governing body to hold businesses, executives, and employees in check. They delegate that to the respective State Labor Departments, but interesting enough, if an actor or singer is not actually designated as an “employee” then what are the steps for filing a complaint? That is why those who are violated are forced to go straight to lawyers, and for that they are publicly shamed for “being in it for the money”, but what are their options?
There are of course unions and associations for workers in this and other industries, but they are limited in the scope and reach. Nothing has been put into place to actually protect and fight for the actors, directors, singers, musicians, writers, and producers who face harassment and assaults from others within their respective industry.
If you are a lawyer or work for one you can go to the Bar Association with your claim against another lawyer. The Association will not only investigate the claims but will present these claims to the District Attorney’s Office, and also move forward on disbarment proceedings against the perpetrator.
There are no entities in place empowered to do this within the music, TV, and film industries.
It is no longer good enough to turn a blind eye. It is no longer acceptable to say, “I saw this coming” yet you did nothing to prevent it.
All organizations no matter how big or how small need to be held accountable. There are internal and external stakeholders who are impacted by the decisions made by the leaders of these organizations.
If right now you are a “team of one”, consider how your views, beliefs, and values will shape your team as it grows from one to two or more. How will you positively or negatively impact the lives of others based on your biases, habits, and actions? Who can you trust to join your accountability board that will save you from yourself?
If you have a team of more than one person then you need to look at yourself and be honest, what culture have you formed and reinforced within your team and organization? Would you want the things that you said, say, do and did to others–professionally and personally, published on social media and on the front cover of every magazine and newspaper?
We all must self-reflect and hold ourselves accountable for what we do and say, not just publicly, but in private. With social media being the major driver of our communication, it is amazing how much of our public and private lives have blended–how much of our personal and professional have intertwined. Can you really risk it?
From reading the first three parts of this series, you have been provided with basic insight on the use of business cards, social media, and creation of your own website. So what's next?
The First Steps
By creating a professional yet unique image through your business cards, social media profiles, and website you control a larger portion of people's perception of you. As you introduce yourself to more people and as word-of-mouth spreads about you and your talents, you want to ensure that the odds are in your favor. You want to think and act like the CEO of your company, especially if you want to get paid like one. As the saying goes, "first impressions are lasting impressions" and in business, especially the entertainment business, it is extremely hard to get a second chance to change a first impression.
You don't have the time or the money to place your bet against the guy in the jeans, button-up shirt, driving the Toyota Prius. Maybe he is just a studio runner. Or maybe he's the well-connected executive who can open or close the doors to your career. You don't have the time or the money to waste on a bet against the woman you think is only in the room to serve as eye candy. She may very well be the label or radio executive who gets your song played, album sold, and bank account balance out of the negative. The senior citizen that you're mocking and making fun of could very well be the CEO of the company you're trying to do business with. We never know who we are connecting with when our eyes meet across the room. We never know who is sitting around the table or within ear's shot of our conversation. We never know who is standing beside us in the elevator or behind us in the grocery store.
You just don't know.
Nowadays it seems as though everyone is an lyricist, writer, producer, DJ, and "next big superstar" so what are you going to do to give yourself a competitive advantage so that you positively stand out above the rest?
Get yourself together. Reach out to individuals and companies that can help you. Get started today. Your future is waiting.
Foreman & Associates
So far we've discussed the importance of professional business cards and social media presence. What other tools can be beneficial to you?
Some people believe that all they need is their social media profile or music-sharing account to build their brand and form lasting relationships. They would be incorrect. You need more. What happens if the social media company or music-sharing company goes out of business, becomes yesterday's news, or somehow their site was hacked and compromised, and your content is lost? You need to have multiple contact points for people to connect with you. You need to have one over-arching source that allows you to build and curate your image, your brand, your journey, and your dreams and goals.
You need a website. Here's some things to consider:
Do an online search of your favorite producers, writers, singers, and rappers. How many of them have websites? Rate the quality of their website? What information can you find out about them on their sites?
Of the ones who don't have websites, how do they communicate with the public? How easy can you find out about their upcoming appearances and performances? How easily can you find press releases and articles written about them?
What are the distinct differences between the creatives with professional websites compared to the ones who don't have one?
Foreman & Associates, LLC
In Part 1 of Relationship Building 101 we discussed the importance of well-branded business cards. Today let's take a step into the world of social media.
Another way to connect with people is through social media. You already know this though--hopefully. But there are some important things to remember when engaging through social media:
Let's briefly dive into each of these...
We look forward to taking the next steps as we journey into Part 3 of this series.
Foreman & Associates, LLC
Since you were a child you have been playing an instrument, singing your heart out, writing lyrics, or spinning and mixing music. Your creative side has been nurtured by family, teachers, mentors, and others in your inner circle who believe in your talents. Your focus has been on mastering your craft. But how exactly will you "break into" the music industry and thrive? We no longer stack albums under our arms or lug around boxes of tapes or even CDs to shove into the hands of interested and uninterested record label executives. For the most part, times have changed and so has the music industry. Except in a few crucial areas that many creatives forget or don't fully utilize...
There's a saying that "you're only in business as long as you have customers" and this is true regardless of the type of business or where it is located. This is true for creatives. If no one is buying and playing your music, you're not in business---you're simply a hobbyist or a dabbler.
With the advancement of technology you can now upload your music to various online sites and work desperately to build a fan base who supports and possibly even purchases your music. But how do you build this base? How do you get your music into the hands of club and radio DJs? How do you get your music into films and on television programs and commercials? How do you gain the interest of record labels, publishing companies, and production companies?
The answer is in the title of this article. Relationship building.
You will need to step outside of your comfort zone and introduce yourself to every interesting person that you meet, whether they are in the entertainment industry or not. You never know who has a connection to a connection to a connection. You never know who is related to the head of A&R at a label or imprint. You never know who is affiliated with a top-level radio or television station executive. You never know if the person that you're speaking with happens to be that executive. You just never know.
This article (and the ones that follow) will provide you with the first steps of relationship building. The steps that you must take before you're formally introduced to someone and risk it all.
Let's discuss Relationship Building 101...
The Business Card
Many creatives think that business cards are just for the stuffy-suit executives who want to look and feel important. This is partly true. But for this article let's focus on the flip side of what business cards represent.
Business cards, creative eye-catching ones, can be the simple reminder that someone needs to reach out and connect you with someone who can positively change your life tomorrow. They can provide the information that someone needs to hear your music or see your interviews. Many producers and industry execs have upgraded their technology and opt out of using CD players, so handing someone your nicely (or poorly) packaged CD may serve as a disadvantage for you--because it has a greater probability of ending up in the trash, on the floor, as a coaster for their coffee cup, or stuck between a crevice in their vehicle. You could stock up on thumb drives but that can be a huge cost factor for you and the recipient may be skeptical of accepting and inserting this drive into their computer. But what about your ability to quickly share information on how to not only reach you but hear your music--by providing the details on a business card with web links and contact information--it's quick, easy, and low-cost.
Nowadays there are so many low-cost printing options available through 123Print, Vista Print, and other sources that you can purchase 100 or more cards for as low as $7.99 (excluding shipping and handling, and tax). If you play an instrument, imagine having a business card that features a photo of it (or you playing it) to catch the interest of every person who holds your card. If you are a writer or producer, imagine having a portion of the song displayed on your card. Whatever tools that you use to create your "art" can be shared through the design of your business card. You can spend a little more money and actually have your cards cut into the shape of your "tool".
On one side of your card you would list your name, contact information, and links to your social media profiles and website. On the other side of the card you need some "pop", "pizzazz", something that catches and keeps the attention of the recipient of the card. Make it count!
You can enlist the help of graphic designers, artists, and specialists who can make sure that your cards represent the best you possible.
Check in tomorrow as we cover the next steps in Relationship Building 101.
Foreman & Associates, LLC