Saturday, February 7, 2009

Does a career in the arts void business sense?

This week’s “Business Question of The Week” comes from Naila Chauncey,Columbus, OH:

Question - Why do you think that those with careers in the arts are not given credibility as business people?

Omar Tyree Answers:

To make a long story short here, people who have careers in the arts have a blessing and a curse dilemma. Even though the business salesman, marketers, company men, and investment people can’t sell anything without creative products to sell, they typically don’t want the artistic opinions or emotions in the way when they’re trying to push the dollars and cents game. And artists typically have more of an invested interest in what they’re trying to create than just pure dollars and cents. Artists typically have quality control goals, just like salespeople have numbers goals. But typically, many business people have learned to disrespect the artists who create and innovate the product because they are not driven by the utilitarian purpose of a buck for the sake of a buck. Artists want to earn that money with their quality control in check.

But do you really want your innovative artists spending time calling up Tom, Dick, and Harry to sell the product instead of creating the product anyway? Then they’ll have the valid excuse that they didn’t have enough time to create or perform well to make the product valuable enough to sell. So you have to look at the priorities of the business model and say, “Look, we need folks to be able to focus on creating the best product that we can get.” And that is their JOB, and that is BUSINESS whether the rest of us understand that or not! But if you start having every artist or innovator or athlete for that matter, trying to do everything, and their premiere product begins to suffer because of it, then we ALL suffer.

And the artists and athletes who do tend to get too involved in the business side, can generally come off as unfocused, greedy, selfish, and money-driven which ends up hurting their business when people can’t connect to the Love of the art. Nevertheless, both of these departments of innovation (Art) and sales (Support) are needed to make economic gain. And the Business people have to understand that. It’s ALL A PART OF THE BUSINESS!

So no matter how many times you hear the creative Art people complaining about the sales and Support people, and vice versa, they both need each other to survive. Humans who are never inspired by the Love of entertainment, performance, or new innovation will not have the daily energy to work. PERIOD! So the companies who are able to better balance those two entities of innovation and sales, are usually the ones that are more successful. Because if you disrespect your creative artists, and they start leaving your company to join someone else, and your team can no longer win because of it, then your business model has failed. And if you have artists who don’t understand the importance of the business model and sales force, then you need to sit them down and explain it to them, or give them The Equation to read (smile).

And The Equation to this answer is this; IT’S A TEAMWORK GAME, SO LEARN TO RESPECT EVERY PART OF THE TEAM! Just ask the Pittsburgh Steelers! It’s offense AND defense that wins the game! But when you do find those artists who can also do the Support that is needed for the Business, or a salesperson who can comprehend the excellence an execution of the Art, the synergy becomes a beautiful thing to witness.

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