Why We Owe Our Success to Our Support Crew

“Now the seats are all empty
Let the roadies take the stage, pack it up and tear it down
They’re the first to come and last to leave” — Jackson Browne

We don’t need to be a famous artist to make the crowd roar. Regardless if you are a writer, an entrepreneur, a successful leader or a curious mind like me, we all know how it feels to take center stage. We are good at what we do. That’s why I like to take the time to celebrate after every show. To acknowledge those “champs” who set everything up. Let’s celebrate the roadies, always working backstage, so that we can perform like a rock star.

Our Lives Are Full of Roadies

“For today’s roadies, sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll are out; efficiency, tech skills, and professionalism are in, as musicians take to the road more often” — Wall Street Journal

I remember all the great things that happened to me during 2016. My most successful piece here at Medium, I moved to a new house, I facilitated many change leadership workshops, I started writing a book, I experimented a lot at my job with new ways of working, I advised many cool startups, won new clients, I finally launched my food recipe blog. I can go on and on. Do your own list.

As I go through my list, I can’t help thinking of everyone that contributed to those achievements. I remember especially those who worked behind the scene. Our professional lives are full of roadies and they are not just support. It’s their efficiency, skills and professionalism that can turn our show into a whole success or failure.

To succeed, I cannot just rely on my talent, I need to be surrounded by awesome people. Life is a team sport. Like show business, it requires a diverse pool of skills and talent. Good leaders hire great leaders. Some tasks might look more trivial than others but, as they say, the devil is in the details. If I don’t want to keep the crowd waiting, I ought to have someone testing the sound beforehand.

The media loves to promote the heroic side of successful people. I purposefully avoid being fooled by this mirage. Unlike The Beatles, the secret behind The Rolling Stones’ longtime success is that they behaved more like a team than a band. They always put their mutual passion for music over ego. I always keep this lesson in mind. No matter how successful we are in what we do, be generous and humble.

Never forget to be a team player, value the importance of the roadies in your life. It’s easier to jump on the stage and play when someone we trust tuned our guitar.

I wouldn’t be where I am, I wouldn’t make it to the next level if it weren’t for the awesome team that works with me.

Celebrate Those Who Set Up Our Stage

“The Bands make it rock, but the Roadies make it roll.”

As we reflect on this year’s achievements, let’s not forget to thank all those who work hard behind the scenes to make us rock on the stage. Here are some simple ways to help them succeed too.

Acknowledge them: Yes, a thank you note always works. But we can do better. Send them a gift. Or, better indeed, share the gift of feedback. Take time to thank them in person. Acknowledge them in front of the crowd. There’s nothing more generous that to put our fifteen minutes of fame aside to acknowledge our roadies in public.

Prepare them to be a rock star: Some people choose to be a roadie as a career. But don’t assume that everyone is the same. Other might wish for their chance to perform too. Let’s coach them. Share our best advice. Use our connections or influence to give them a chance. Don’t treat them like a roadie, treat them like a potential rock star.

Give them the stage: The first opportunity to play live can be game-changer. Some people behave too selfishly when they are successful. They worked hard to build a following and don’t want to share the stage out of fear. Please, don’t stand in front of people’s dreams, share the microphone.

Never undermine the backstage: We didn’t get where we are on our own. Our future successes will also depend on all the people that surround us. Act accordingly. Never underestimate the importance of your entourage. When things go well, make them part of the celebration. When things don’t go well, don’t blame it on them. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Make the roadies count.

Let’s go and celebrate our “roadies” now.

Personal Thanks to The Roadies of My 2016 Tour

Moira, my wife. She has always been present at every live performance throughout my career. From packing up a house to move to a new city to pursue my professional dreams to finding that weird ingredient for me to cook another experimental meal or being at my side before, during and after each show. Especially the ones that went wrong.

Julie Ptasinski who, on top of superbly running our agency’s operations, has generously been editing my Medium pieces.

My readers and followers in Medium who inspire me to show up regularly with new thoughts.

My entire family and friends, no matter the geographic distance, who always keep the flame alive.

My entire team who constantly challenges me.

My mentors, clients and colleagues who trust me to help them stretch beyond their zone of comfort.

The list is so long that it’ll take a whole post… Happy 2017!

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