The creative industries are full of lone wolves. They are the skilled craftsperson or technician that prefers being able to design and control each part of the creative process. Lone wolves excel at mastery of a skill but also know just enough to put together and launch an entire project on their own.
Leaders bring together talented people and inspire them to change the world. Although they may have mastery in one domain their real skill is in being able to achieve goals through others. They are the conductors, big band leaders and producers.
We each have a bias to one of these ways of working. However at different stages of our lives we may need to switch things up. The lone wolf becomes a leader to achieve a larger creative vision by giving up some control. Meanwhile the leader can find invigoration and fresh insight by pursuing a path of individual mastery.
I recently embarked on creating a new education startup, the scale of which requires me to build a sizeable team. The vision for this new startup, which we are calling Project X for now, is a big one. It scares and excites me in equal measure (usually a good sign). To make it succeed I’m having to give up some of my lone wolf ways and step up to build, lead and inspire a team of others who are equally committed to disrupting the way musicians and music professionals learn.
It has also made me rethink the kind of team and culture I want to create at Project X. Music like most creative industries is a global business. A song may be written in Nashville, recorded in New York, mixed and mastered in London, remixed in Berlin and marketed from San Francisco to fans in Beijing.
That’s why Project X will be a distributed company (e.g. studios in London, instructional designers in Chicago, software engineers in Romania, online marketers in San Diego, customer service in the Philippines and teachers worldwide).
The journey from lone wolf to leader begins…