Coping with Colleagues Who Change
Learning how to adapt when other people change and develop is a key skill for everyone.
Stars and Teams
Every manager wants to surround themselves with people who are individual stars at what they do, but they also want those individuals to fuse into an effective team.
You can see it all the time in sports teams, like Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United and in entertainment like the cast of the TV comedy series Friends.
Million Dollar Quartet
It is something that Sam Phillips, the founder of Sun Records thought he had created when he brought together raw talents Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley and made them the stars of 1950’s rock’n’roll.
The breakdown of that quartet is depicted in the musical play, the Million Dollar Quartet which the Work Work Work team saw at York Theatre Royal.
The musical play Million Dollar Quartet depicts a meeting of the four musicians and the record company founder on a December night in 1956.
This is no casual just passing type of gathering, each of them has a very specific reason for visiting Sam Phillips that evening.
Even Mr Phillips, himself is considering a very attractive opportunity.
But what decisions will they make and how with those decisions affect their future careers?
Shared Experience Unites
As the different characters arrive, they use the songs they have written and performed to reminisce about their shared past, in the way that old friends do, even when they have lots of reasons not to get along.
Success Creates Clashes
There is a real story with the Million Dollar Quartet that sees each of our heroes having to face a dilemma, which are made all the more complex by their conflicting loyalties.
We get to see how the personalities and egos clash, as some see their stars rising and others start to accept that their success is not going to go on forever.
It is the love of music, and a mutual history that brings them through the conflicts so that they can share with us their stories of personal growth, moving on, letting go of the past and reaching out for the dream they always had.
Million Dollar Quartet has a well written script which displays all the emotions that each of the characters is experiencing.
Lessons to be learnt from seeing this show.
Million Dollar Quartet is as we have explained a story about a gathering of people who have had a common experience. It is also a story about the process they go through to move on to the next stage in their careers, and lives.
Reluctance to Accept People Change and Move-on
Sam Phillips wants the people who he has nurtured from ambitious wannabes into stars to stay with Sun Records.
In this he is a bit like the employer who refuses to train their employees because they will then take those skills and go and work for someone else.
Realise What Makes You Happy
The scene is set for conflict until Mr Phillips realises that he does not want to have big stars like the Million Dollar Quartet on his label.
He wants the thrill of finding the next big star and working with them so that they can achieve their potential.
Although the offer that Mr Phillips receives is very tempting, he realises that it is tempting because of what it will say about the success he has achieved, to other people. A sort of what will the neighbours think.
He knows that accepting it will not make him happy.
Looking Back Doesn’t Mean You Have to go Back
The members of the Million Dollar Quartet want to be successful.
Elvis wants to work with Mr Phillips again and enjoy making music like he did in the early days, but his success, and the ambitions that Mr Phillips has do not match.
Elvis cannot force the situation in his favour so he will not be able to have what he wants.
Communicating Change Messages
Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash know that they have outgrown Sun Records, but although they can make the decision to leave, they worry about how they are going to tell Mr Phillips and how he may react.
The comparison between the enthusiasm of Jerry Lee Lewis at the start of his career and the other more established performers in terms of their relationship with Mr Phillips and being in Sun Records is distinctly clear.
Catalyst for Discussion and Coaching
Discussing Million Dollar Quartet amongst the team at Work Work Work we realise that it has been a catalyst for discussing what we really want from working and whether we are getting it or not.
Career Development Metaphor
We can almost see the stages that we are at in our careers through the prism of the characters in the Million Dollar Quartet.
- Jerry Lee at the start of their career,
- Carl resentful of someone who has taken the credit for their work
- Johnny Cash who has family priorities away from being a musician
- Elvis who has become so successful that career has taken on an identity of its own but what he really wants in denied him because of his success.
This open discussion has helped to identify how we can redesign jobs to help make working more likely to deliver the lifestyle people aspire to.