In my introduction of Mike Dungan (Universal Music Group CEO) in Episode 1 of my INSIDE NASHVILLE podcast, I mention the respect Mike has for everyone in the company and how that has significantly contributed to the winning culture at UMG. If you take anything away from this episode, I hope it is the importance of that quality.
There are many things that can distract you from that basic respect for those around you as you execute your career plan. Politics, ego, stress/pressure, personality conflicts, or insecurity can get in the way of demonstrating respect for those within your company, as well as those you do business with on the other side of the desk. Get in the habit of forcing yourself to slow down and let the people around you know that you think they and the job they do are important. A simple compliment can lift a person up and is never forgotten.
What people say about you is key to your industry reputation. The “I don’t care what people think of me” approach to a career is for fools. It might work for you in a business where you work alone…like a novelist (and you’d better be really good) but it won’t work in either the music or radio businesses where a team’s performance is essential to success.
I recently got a call from an old friend and GM of a few radio stations. He was asking about a job applicant that he knew I had dealings with over many years. This applicant never showed me any respect. I tried everything to establish a working relationship but got nothing from him. This was true during my time with both major companies with superstar acts as well as smaller independent companies. It’s not uncommon in our business for programmers to disrespect representatives from small indie companies…but not major labels.
I told my friend the story of my experience with this applicant and added that I thought he was an asshole. Now, I’m not powerful enough to kill anyone’s career (but he didn’t get the job), but you don’t want anyone talking about you like that if you can help it.
Of course, there will always be a situation where personality differences will not allow a close relationship to form. We all have a few of those…but be sure to be a professional and show basic respect.
Of course, there are no guarantees that you will be the CEO of UMG by doing so….but we are fools if we don’t study successful people and take something from them and apply it to how we handle our own careers.