Building the Perfect Mix of Strategy, Humanity and Energy

Whether you’re a musician fresh on the scene or a business owner looking to take your venture to new heights, assembling the right team is the most distinguishing factor between success and failure. As a person who has made the transition from corporate executive to recording artist, I know first-hand that a sound team is greater than the sum of its parts.

After all, without a melody to sing to, I’m just a voice in a sea of voices. Upon arriving in LA, I made it my mission to find the best in the business to help bring my musical vision to life. Luckily, I was able to connect with industry veterans like Phil Quartararo, former CEO of Virgin Records, Warner Bros and EMI, and multiple Grammy award-winning Robert Cutarella, who helped shape my sound and business acumen in an industry that was new to me. I also formed Believe Management in partnership with my sister Jennifer Cullen and worked hand-in-hand with creative agency Pink Honey, which is owned by my best friend Anne Kavanaugh.

Not all people are as fortunate as I am to have experience building a team. They’re the perfect mix of strategy and humanity that can only be described as an “energetic vibe”. For those who may be at this crucial team building stage, here are some tips on how you can turn “me” into “we”.

1. Open Your Eyes and Look Around

Before you go out and explore the neighborhood, try looking in your backyard. I find the best teammates often come from those closest to you. There’s nothing like a bond that goes beyond business formed by love and shared experiences. When it came time to decide who was going to manage my career, it was a no brainer. I wanted the person who has pretty much helped manage my life since we were small, my sister Jennifer. It also helps that she’s a wildly successful businesswoman. Her experience with the business world and myself has made my life much easier.

2. The Next Best Thing to Who’s Around You…

…is discovering who’s around them. Referrals are the next best thing to having a sister as a business mastermind and a best friend as a creative genius. If you’re having a hard time fulfilling specific roles on your team, try asking people you trust to recommend people they trust. I’ve had countless people become great business associates and friends just from a timely introduction.

3. “Network” Like Your Career Depends on It

If there’s one thing people know about me, it’s that I LOVE meeting new people. The only difference between others and myself is that I meet people with intent and purpose. I don’t know when “networking” became this evil word. I think it’s because people started creating events with networking as the primary purpose, rather than just getting interesting people in a room and letting them do their thing. I don’t go to events to network, because I’m never NOT networking. And, to be honest, I actually don’t network, I connect with people. Connecting with people happens at the coffee shop, in the lobby of your building and even while washing your hands in a public bathroom. You won’t believe how many great connections are made through a random comment or compliment. Your “isn’t the weather just lovely outside” can easily turn into a connection that can help steer you where you need to go.

4. Values, Morals and Principals

There are compromises I’m willing to make. Compromise is the key to any healthy business relationship. However, what simply I cannot budge on are my values, morals and principals. When building a team, make sure you’re taking a person’s character into consideration. Now, this get tricky, especially in the entertainment business. Some behavior toes the line between good and bad. However, you should know the sum of any person’s character before inviting them to join your team. Ask around and do your homework to make sure your team reflects not only your vision but your values.

Personally, I’m looking to build a team of that mixes experts that know my industry and outsiders who bring a creative energy far removed from the status quo. I think that’s the right formula to help me achieve my goals. Now, your formula? That’s completely up to you.

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