A manager that attended my seminar
at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut asked how to get
a group of surgeons that “Have egos so big that there’s no room for anyone
else” to work together.
Surgeons sometimes have what
psychologists call the “God Complex”, but that doesn’t mean that
people with big egos can’t work together as a team.
In 1985, Harry Belafonte
wanted to create a recording project to raise money for famine
victims in Ethiopia. Legendary producer Quincy Jones had the
unenviable task of gathering 21 of the most popular stars of the
time into one room and getting them to work together.
He sent each one a tape ahead of
time, with a note that read “Check your ego at the door”.
He had Billy Joel, Bob Dylan,
Bruce Springsteen, Diana Ross, Dionne Warwick, Huey Lewis, Kenny
Loggins, Kenny Rogers, Lionel Richie, Michael Jackson, Paul
Simon, Ray Charles, Steve Perry, Stevie Wonder, Tina Turner, and
Willie Nelson in one room at the A & M Records studio in
The session went off without a
hitch, and “We are the World” sold 800,000 copies its first
week. It was the highest debuting single since John Lennon’s
“Imagine”, the fastest rising since Elton John's "Island Girl",
and won Grammy Awards for Song of the Year and Record of the
Several of those stars were known for
having egos bigger than Texas and being impossible to
What made the event go so well was
that each knew the night was about something bigger than
themselves. They knew when to step out of the spotlight, and
become part of a team.
Whether you’re managing prima
donna rock stars
that make millions; or 16 year old prima
donnas that make minimum wage and post what they had for dinner
on Facebook because they think people actually care, the
solution is the same.
You have to occasionally remind
people of two basic facts:
1. They’re a team, and everyone on
a team is expendable.
2. They’re being paid to serve the
customer, not themselves.
To Your Success,
Last week my beautiful bride and I attended the annual donor
appreciation event at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in
Memphis, where we met some of the world’s leading cancer doctors
and researchers. They’ve helped increase the survival rate for
the most common form of childhood cancer from 4% to 94%, yet
they’re the most humble and service-oriented team of professionals you’ll ever meet.
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