Extraordinary Team Blog

“Gimme More” Teamwork

Posted by Kristin Arnold on September 18, 2007

My 16 year old daughter, Marina, typically listens to the radio as she gets ready for school. On September 13th, I overheard the DJ’s catty account of Britney Spears’ pathetic performance at the MTV Awards. As I was listening, I thought, “What a waste of talent.”

CNN called her a “train wreck“; I just feel pity. Yes, Britney Spears has been hugely successful in the past. Although she has been through massive upheaval in her personal and professional life, she has not built a solid team around her to support and nurture her continuing success. She wants to strike out on her own, and be “independent”. Unfortunately, to be a mega-star (or even a little star!), you have to have a solid team working with you.

Check out the litany of poor team skills and bad decisions around her key advisers:
1) Three years ago, she fired her longtime [and hugely successful] manager.
2) She repeatedly expressed a desire to run [or ruin?] her career.
3) When MTV asked her to perform at their annual awards show, her principal advisers at Jive [her record label] were rather cool to the idea, but her entertainment lawyer, Gary Stiffelman pressed her to sign on.
4) Britney hired a new manager, Jeff Kwatinetz, about a month ago.
5) Then, she fired Stiffelman.
6) An hour before showtime, Britney insisted on a series of changes:

  • She clashed with Ken Paves, the high-end hairstylist chosen to do her hair extensions.
  • She decided not to wear the agreed-upon, custom-fitted corset designed especially for the MTV Show, opting for a skimpy, black bikini-style costume. (Bad, bad idea, post-partum Britney!)

The survivors of Britney’s management team are now engaged in massive damage control. According to the NY Times, they are “eager to release a music video to counter the impressions left by the MTV debacle. But that may prove tricky, too: Ms. Spears oversaw her production of a gritty, stripper-themed clip for “Gimme More” that may jolt fans who are more accustomed to the slick, tightly choreographed videos that made her an MTV staple. The video is being tweaked with input from her advisers.”

Sigh. It’s going to take more than a slick video to rescue Britney’s career. She needs to build a solid team around her – and that requires careful selection of the right people, trust among all of her team members,
and the ability to make smart decisions collaboratively.

Given Britney’s current independent streak, I don’t give her much chance.

Question: What are you doing to sabotage your team’s work?