Many people will cross your path. Some will want to work with you. Others will offer you valuable opportunities. What do you do when you’re confronted with a new possibility? Do you jump on the chance and hope it works out? Do you weigh your options carefully before moving forward with it?

In this episode of The New Music Industry Podcast, I share some thoughts on who to align yourself with.

Podcast Highlights:

  • 00:14 – Choosing who to work with
  • 00:42 – Thinking like an entrepreneur
  • 00:55 – Who to align yourself with
  • 01:40 – #1: Working with people because it will make you look good
  • 02:45 – #2: Working with people who share the same values
  • 04:06 – #3: Working with people you’ve worked with before
  • 05:08 – #4: Working with people you trust
  • 06:05 – There’s no perfect way to choose who to align yourself with

Transcription:

As your career or business advances, you’re going to have the opportunity to partner, collaborate and work with a variety of people.

What’s surprising to me is how some people make decisions. I’ve seen some artists turn down offers from well-intentioned, well-meaning people who would have fairly compensated them for their work. But because of some underlying emotional baggage or stress in their daily lives, they made the rather unlikely choice of staying put instead of moving forward with their creativity and passion.

Now, I’m an entrepreneur. So, if I was in their position, I would have jumped at the opportunity. But not everyone thinks like an entrepreneur, and not everyone is comfortable taking a chance upfront and problem solving along the way.

This is what got me thinking about this topic of who to align yourself with. Sometimes, no matter how influential or highly regarded someone is, associating with them can bring you down. At other times, you might be surprised by how the most unlikely people come to your aid or rescue at just the right time.

Regardless, you become like those you spend time with, so as you continue to build your career or business, it’s going to become increasingly important to be more selective in who you associate with. You’re going to want to build your support group or inner circle, because you’re going to come to depend on those people, especially when the going gets tough.

Who you align yourself with is critical to your success. Here are several methods people use to decide who to work with, and the upsides and downsides of each.

1. I Choose Who to Work with Based on How I’ll Look

This is one of the worst criteria for choosing who to align yourself with.

Now, given, there may be some people you don’t want to be associated with, such as extremists, controversial figures, criminals and so on.

I’m not saying there aren’t reasons why you might associate with people like that anyway, but you must consider your reputation as well as the long-term consequences of associating with someone, no matter who you’re choosing to be involved with.

So, to make all decisions based on how you’ll look is the most superficial way to decide who to work with. If this is how you make decisions, more than likely, you’ll make some poor choices and miss opportunities to work with some great people.

We as people are much too concerned with appearances. Just look at all the ways people look for validation on social media. My coach, James Schramko, once described seeking validation on social media as a mental disorder, and I don’t think he’s too far off.

If you’re only concerned with looking good, then you’re not making a balanced decision. And, odds are you aren’t living authentically either.

2. I Work with People with Whom My Values are Aligned

The best way to decide who to work with is to choose people with whom you have shared values.

The best way to decide who to work with is to choose people with whom you have shared values. Click To Tweet

Honestly, virtually every relationship works better when the people involved have shared values. This goes just as much for romantic relationships as it does for business relationships.

In a romantic relationship, your intense feelings of attraction can subside after a few years. But if you have shared interests and values, the relationship can continue to flourish long after those emotions have started waning.

This isn’t to say there aren’t ways of stoking those fires again. But generally, the relationship has a much better chance at surviving if both people involved value the same things.

In a business arrangement, if the people you’re working with are convicted about the same things you are, they are less likely to make decisions that go against your conscience. So, they are more likely to make decisions that are congruent with your big picture objectives.

In a business partnership, if one values money and the other values adding value to people, priorities can quickly get out of order. If they can find a way to complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses, they still have a chance at success. But if both people keep pushing for what they want, the partnership will not last.

This is a rather crude example, but I think you get the point.

So, if you think there’s long-term potential, you should work with people that stand for the same things you do.

If you think there’s long-term potential, you should work with people that stand for the same things you do. Click To Tweet

3. I Work with People with Whom I Have an Established Track Record

Now, there can be both good and bad track records.

But if you have a good track record with someone, you should certainly consider working with them again.

Let’s say you once collaborated on an EP with a friend of yours, and your fans ended up loving it. Why wouldn’t you try that again? If you’ve uncovered a winning formula, you should keep using it.

There are certain people I continue to work with because I’ve been able to achieve more with their help. We work well together, and because they bring valuable resources to the table, it makes it easier for me to do the work I need to do to develop the project.

This doesn’t mean that bad partnerships can’t turn into good ones, and good partnerships can’t turn sour either.

But for the most part, I’ve found that if I have an established track record with someone, I can expect the same level of support and interest in a new undertaking.

This isn’t the only signal to keep an eye out for, as shared values are just as important, but evaluating another’s track record can certainly give you an idea as to whether you can trust them.

That brings us to…

4. I Work with People I Trust

I find it’s generally a good idea to work with people you trust. But trust must be earned. So, you still need to ask yourself what others have done to earn your trust. Trust is not easily quantifiable and not always reliable.

This is because it’s easy to demonstrate commitment when everything is going well. But will those same people come through for you when the poop hits the fan?

As I shared in episode 99 of the podcast with Jason Davis, you often don’t know who your friends are until you get into business.

That might sound negative, but the reality is that not everyone is going to support you. If you’re just getting started in your business or career and everything seems to be going great, be forewarned – many people who said they would buy your product won’t when you finally launch it.

Again, it’s a good idea to work with people you trust. But this isn’t a foolproof method for choosing who to align yourself with. There are plenty of charismatic people who might charm you upfront but do you a disservice on the backend.

Final Thoughts

There’s no perfect way to choose who to align yourself with.

But as you continue to develop a relationship with those around you, you’ll get a better sense of who you can count on, who you can trust and whose values you resonate with.

Apart from that, we tend to make decisions superficially, which often doesn’t work out. Either that, or we end up relying on pure instinct, which can work out, but we can just as easily make an emotional decision and justify it with logic later. Then, we end up missing important signs that it’s not going to work out.

So long as you’re on this path, you’re going to be working with others. So, it’s a good idea to determine how you’re going to decide who to work with. Early on, the consequences of failure may be minimal. But as the steaks get higher, it becomes increasingly important that you make good decisions. Choosing badly could mean risking your reputation, your livelihood, your business, or – not to be dramatic – but even your life.

So, in closing, I’d like to ask you a few questions:

  • Who are you aligning yourself with right now?
  • What values do you share with them?
  • Do you have an established track record with them?
  • Do you trust them?
  • Have you noticed any flaws in your decision-making process?
  • What have been the consequences of aligning yourself with who you’ve chosen to associate with?
  • How are you going to decide who to align yourself with moving forward?

I look forward to seeing your comments in the show notes.

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David Andrew Wiebe

David Andrew Wiebe

Founder & CEO at The Music Entrepreneur HQ
David Andrew Wiebe has built an extensive career in songwriting, live performance, recording, session playing, production work, investing, and music instruction. In addition to helping musicians unlock their full potential, he also continues to maintain a performance schedule with Long Jon Lev and Adrenalize. If you'd like to be notified whenever the blog is updated, click here to subscribe.
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