September 4, 2016

Is Your Team Playing From The Same Sheet Of Music?

Having played in many bands, I can tell you that when you start a band everyone has similar goals. We want to be rock stars.  We want our music to change the world. We want to be on the cover of Rolling Stone. What’s not so easy is getting all the band members to agree and more importantly, “buy in” to how those goals are going to be accomplished. The clichéd sex and drugs part of rock & roll often leads to juicy headlines and former band members, but not playing from the same sheet of music (misalignment) is what ultimately puts the musical nail in a lot of bands’ coffins.


Collaboration and Cooperation Are Not The Same Thing
So what does it mean to get everyone playing from the same sheet of music? More importantly, how do we get there? It is important to understand that alignment is the lynchpin when it comes to working together in an effective, productive and efficient manner. In fact, in our True Collaboration methodology and framework we teach that if a group or team is working together and everyone isn’t aligned the group is cooperating NOT collaborating.  It’s the lack of alignment that makes a team swirl and feel like they are in quicksand.  We all know what it feels like to be aligned and in harmony with other human beings.  If it doesn’t feel good.  It probably isn’t.  It’s not rocket science.

Concept image of a lost and confused signpost against a blue cloudy sky.

What Kind of Album Are You Making?
It is amazing how quickly we get misaligned. Lots of things contribute such as lack of information, personal agendas, differences in approach and misperceptions of why the work is being done in the first place. If you send a band into a studio and there isn’t a clear vision of what kind of record is being made, guess what you get? You get chaos, arguments that go nowhere, a project that goes way over budget and takes too long, and ultimately a record that sucks. If everyone on your team or project doesn’t have the same understanding of the what, why, how and when you are on track to be another VH1 Behind The Music casualty.  You might be cooperating but you certainly aren’t collaborating.

To get your band playing from the same sheet of music consider the following questions:

  1. Have you ever gotten the band together to collectively define the creative and/or decision-making process? You might be lacking the foundation that enables the passionate conversations that are necessary to get aligned.
  2. If asked individually, would everyone in your band describe the record your making in the same way? We’ve all experienced the telephone game.  Most people suck at listening these days to confusion and extra clarity should be factored into the collaborative mix.
  3. Do all of your band members clearly understand how their efforts support the larger vision?  This is where the real magic happens and the magic dust that ultimately yields a different kind of result.

Rock On,


September 4, 2016

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