The YCMsquared team hard at work, on a Sunday
Going it alone leads to a drawn out, painful career, where you spend more time trying to figure it out, rather than building a solid experience for fans. Ending my four-part series dedicated to getting you to think about your music career as an entrepreneur and a business, I mentioned that finding a partner in your success is crucial. Taking it a step further, creating a solid team with various, yet important, skillsets will accelerate the progress of your strategy.
However, building good teams can be difficult. Working with varying personalities and interests can prove to be challenging. Consider the following three factors when you’re building your team.
Yes, it’s your career, I know, but it is not only about you. Whether you’re a solo singer/songwriter, or you are part of a full band, you must make your team feel like they have ownership in the success of the team. For bands in particular, you must start with each individual band member. Does each individual feel like they have ownership in the success of the band? Next, consider other stakeholders, like a manager, promoter, your street team, producers, and marketers. Have they bought into your music and the business you’re building? Everyone on the team has to feel like they are making an impact on the success of the endeavor, otherwise, don’t expect them to stick around very long.
There is no such thing as over-communication. For individuals to feel that they have ownership, leaders in the team must be transparent with everyone on the team. In addition, every voice must be heard. Opinions need to be voiced and discussed. You put together a team because you understand that you don’t know everything and you bring people in to provide different perspectives, as well as provide alternative solutions. There must be comfort in communication; everyone on the team must be comfortable with voicing their thoughts, feelings, ideas, and opinions. The purpose of the team will dissipate if communication breaks down. It is up to the leader to listen and be aware of the state of communication in the team.
Why isn’t leadership at the top of this list? Well, without a sense of ownership from the team and impactful communication, leadership can’t fix a team. As a matter of fact, the leader has failed. Leadership is the hardest job on the team –it’s not glamorous, and if you think it is, being the leader is not the role for you. The leader puts in the most hours, must communicate effectively with everyone, and drive the team towards the vision, while keeping everyone motivated. The leader is the punching bag for everyone on the team and must be ready to fall on the sword for any team member. The leader is accountable for the sense of ownership and communication on the team.
Best friends and teammates – Charley & Yuriy
As a last note, take some time to establish a leader on the team. Typically, someone steps up and naturally becomes a leader, but that doesn’t always work out in a band. My recommendation is to have someone outside of the band be the leader. Why? Egos –musicians have big egos. A more effective leader is agnostic and will listen to all of the egos and catalyze discussions in order to make decisions. Think of the leader as a mediator, a coach, a teacher, and a cheerleader. Musicians must focus on pouring their energy into music, while leaders pour their energy into building effective teams.