It used to be said that people have three careers in them. Those who are particularly successful have many more. It’s all about evolving. What we start out as is different from what we progress into, both for companies and individuals.
Have you ever had reunion business relationships? It’s amazing how the circumstances change things the next time around. The people who denied your friend requests on Linkedin are now pursuing you as a celebrity on Facebook. As they know and trust you, they want to associate with you. It’s all perspective and the building of a multi-tiered Body of Work, stellar reputation and track record.
One of the great music figures was Burt Bacharach. His role model was George Gershwin. Bacharach started his music writing career by taking ‘work for hire,’ tailoring songs to particular performers. He wrote a lot of flip sides to hit records and was recognized as a consistent hit maker. The Bacharach repertoire expanded, and he developed his signature musical style, along with lyricists such as Hal David.
That is the way that I am with business wisdom. I continually dust off old chestnuts and reapply them for clients, in my books, through my speeches and in sharing with mentees. The case studies become the substance of what we provide future clients. We benefit from going back and learning from our own early Body of Work, assuming that we stratregized our career to be a long-term thing, as Burt Bacharach did.
One of my favorite movies of all-time is “Laura.” It starred Dana Andrews and Gene Tierney. It was a stylized 1940’s film noir mystery, the epitome of style and glamour. Their reunion movie was ”Iron Curtain,” a gritty documentary-style portrait of Cold War Europe. They played spouses in the come-back drama of an unsettled post-war European world. The two movies could not have been so different. They included two A-list Hollywood actors, appearing against type and image.
Some of the most creative professionals work behind the scenes and then later get accorded star status. Many character actors who subsequently became stars included Humphrey Bogart, Edmond O’Brien, Anne Bancroft, Anthony Hopkins, Angela Lansbury, Jack Elam, Ruth Gordon, Wallace Beery, Christopher Walken, Cloris Leachman, Karl Malden, William Conrad, Madeline Kahn, Jack Klugman, Ward Bond, William Frawley, Shelley Duvall, Edward Everett Horton, Thelma Ritter, Tilda Swinton, Thomas Mitchell, Eddie Albert and James Woods. They worked continuously and played every kind of role. Well-trained and experienced actors carried the plays and films.
In the music world, singers front the bands. Talented people write the songs, design the arrangements and conduct the bands. One of the great men of music was Nelson Riddle. His expertise became the signature recording styles of Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra and others. Sometimes, Riddle had hit records with his own band, including 1956’s “Lisbon Antigua” (#1 on the charts) and the theme songs to TV’s “Route 66” and “The Untouchables.” In 1979, I emceed a music symposium with Riddle as the guest. I produced a documentary of his music. While it was playing for the audience, I noticed Riddle’s hand behind the skirted table, conducting my documentary in time to the music.
Another favorite of mine is Perry Botkin Jr. The public does not recognize his name, but you liked his recordings over the years. His father (Perry Botkin Sr.) was a guitar player and bandleader who worked with Bing Crosby and other greats of the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s. Botkin Sr. played the guitar cues for the “Beverly Hillbillies” TV show in the 1960’s.
Enter Perry Jr. into music. He was a masterful arranger and orchestral conductor. He was to 1960’s and 70’s music what Nelson Riddle was in the 1940’s and 50’s. Botkin Jr. provided lush arrangements for easy listening singers such as Ed Ames, Carly Simon, Sammy Davis Jr., Vikki Carr and The Lettermen. He conducted the Capitol house orchestra, the Hollyridge Strings. One of the most popular Christmas records is “Feliz Navidad” by Jose Feliciano, and that’s Botkin’s arrangement.
My other favorite Perry Botkin Jr. productions were “Cast Your Fate to the Wind” by Shelby Flint, “Love or Let Me Be Lonely” by the Friends of Distinction, “Black Pearl” by Sonny Charles, “Flim Flam Man” by Barbra Streisand, “Nadia’s Theme/The Young and the Restless” by Barry DeVorzon, “Rhythm of the Rain” by the Cascades and “Day Break” by Bette Midler. He scored many films and the “Mork and Mindy” TV series.
Then, there are the second bananas. The greatest art in building successful companies is to select, nurture and support good #2 people and beyond. I call that strategy “the Ed McMahon syndrome.”
Everything we are in business stems from what we’ve been taught or not taught to date. A career is all about devoting resources to amplifying talents and abilities, with relevancy toward a viable end result. Failure to prepare for the future spells certain death for businesses and industries in which they function.
These are the marks of building upon early business activity and moving forward to the next plateaus:
- Personal abilities, talents and working style.
- Resources being developed.
- Relationships and interaction with other people
- Ability to rise above circumstances beyond your control.
- Timing. Things that were not achievable in early careers are now yours to master.
A rich and sustaining Body of Work results from a greater business commitment and heightened self-awareness. None of us can escape those pervasive influences that have affected our lives, including music and the messages contained in songs. Like sponges, we absorbed the information, giving us views of life that have helped mold our business and personal relationships.
About the Author
Power Stars to Light the Business Flame, by Hank Moore, encompasses a full-scope business perspective, invaluable for the corporate and small business markets. It is a compendium book, containing quotes and extrapolations into business culture, arranged in 76 business categories.
Hank’s latest book functions as a ‘PDR of business,’ a view of Big Picture strategies, methodologies and recommendations. This is a creative way of re-treading old knowledge to enable executives to master change rather than feel as they’re victims of it.