Collaboration and Control

30 Jul

Our beautiful Composer of Art for Music was on her daily morning stroll with Deuce the Spaniel, the gentle canine muse, when it occurred to her that she will not be able to achieve her goals alone.  Deuce gently tugs her, or tries to tug her, each morning in a slightly different direction.  Deuce says “I accept your concept, your conception, in general terms – but consider this variation, this refinement, this adjustment”  And our Lady of Notes, on better mornings, heeds Deuce’s musings – evaluates the efficacy of her current creative thinking.

On this particular morning, prompted by such canine wisdom, our Lady was particularly struck by the importance of bringing creative partners into her process.  Her goal is to create a viral art and music website, with aggressively, yet tastefully placed advertising, which will yield six-figure income and ultimate liberation from her day job.  As Deuce brings in, every morning, new partners – new blades of grass to sniff, new rabbits and squirrels and cats to harass, new dogs to mount and hump, so our Girl finally understood this morning how critical it will be for her to engage similarly in her creative process.

She needs to create interest, build value in the concept of pairing audio and visual works for presentation – and then she needs to create the technical environment on her website which allows artists and composers to collaborate independently, or at least more independently or her.  She needs to facilitate some level of duplication of her own creative process for others.

Seems like a no-brainer, she says to Deuce.  Why is it taking so long for me to get off the can with this basic truth? she inquires.  It’s simple, Deuce replies.  You are a control freak.  You are afraid somebody will steal your thunder, or take a new direction which you did not anticipate and might not be comfortable with, or will have a different aesthetic sense than you which you won’t be able to accept.  Sprinkled on top of this, Deuce suggests, is a basic “fear of flying”, a “fear of success”.

Not all of us have this mission-critical aspect of collaboration in our work.  But for those of us that do – it might be helpful to spend some time thinking about psychological roadblocks we might need to overcome to allow for the collaborative dynamic.  Perhaps we need to frame collaboration requests differently to make the projects more inviting to others.  Perhaps we are creating too many prerequisites, for example, which might stifle the partner’s sense of creative contribution.

You understand that the great managers are smart enough to know how to engage the expertise of others.  And your natural humility allows you to share the limelight, share the profits, enjoy the sense of being part of something larger than yourself, by building community around your work, your creative concept, and facilitating the partnering of others in your groundbreaking creative process.

spark on!


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Posted by on July 30, 2012 in creative collaboration


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