Our diva was just weeks away from the beginning of her residency at Hail House. After that meeting with the manager while getting her car fixed, things had been on an upward trajectory. It was a slow-going trajectory, but it was upward. She felt sure of it. Her stomach wasn’t nearly as angry with her once she started taking the acid-reducing medication her doctor had given her. Plus, she had started making baby steps on the plan she worked out with her nutritionist. That part was difficult. She had cut out alcohol from her life and she missed it terribly. But, she was still drinking coffee most days of the week. She just couldn’t give it up! Actively taking up yoga and meditation were her miniature rationalizations to combat feeling shameful about not being able to cut out the coffee.
Not only was she feeling better from the inside out, she was feeling better about her residency project as it was coming together. In fact, she had heard back from the clarinetist who had originally said that he couldn’t do it without a certain fee. He was in! He wanted to collaborate with her again. He said that he’d had time to think about it and figured that he could manage to squeeze her project into his schedule.
The Day 17 challenge on your journey is to create collaborator contracts.
She had been emailing with her clarinetist off and on for a while now. They had set up some plans about when they would get together to rehearse and she had them down in her calendar. She had sent him the music and checked-in a while ago to make sure he had received it. He had and told her that he was already hard at work practicing on it. She felt relieved. As the time marched on, two weeks out started to become one week away from the beginning of the residency. That relief started to turn into panic. She hadn’t heard back from her clarinetist friend.
They had a rehearsal scheduled for last Saturday. She had shown up and he did not. She had emailed him and received a less than conciliatory reply about quintet rehearsal running long and not having service in their rehearsal space for him to let her know. He had asked her to come over to his apartment that night. “We could have wine!” he tried to persuade her. She was miffed. She didn’t want to go over to his apartment and have wine. She wanted to do rehearsal when they had originally agreed they were going to rehearse.
Now she was worried because he wasn’t responding to her emails. She had sent the first one and no response. She had sent a second one after forty-eight hours. Still, she hadn’t heard a peep. She knew that people were busy right now. But, she saw him responding to other people on Facebook. It made her feel slighted to see that. It was hard to see him talking to other people about potential gigs on social media when she was waiting for a response from him about a real gig that was happening in almost a week! Trying to stay as professional as possible, she typed him another email.
She got a text from him after ten o’clock that night. “Hey, sorry, about not being able to get back to you.” She read on, “I’ve been really slammed. In fact, I’m not gonna be able to do this project anymore. I have a higher paying gig come up and I have to take that. #poor.” Alarm bells were going off in our diva’s mind. “Steam might actually be coming out of my ears right now,” she panted. “Hashtag poor?” she yelled. “Ugh!”
Self-Selecting Effectual Partners
Taking up her phone like a dagger she started a text back, “What? Really? Are you kidding me?” Waiting impatiently, she saw the bubble with three little dots pop up and then go away. She kept looking at her phone. The screen went black. And, nothing. She kept checking her phone all night and the next day and she never heard back from him. Our diva felt apoplectic.
She realized now that she made a costly error in trying to work with this two-faced guy. She had been blinded by his skill and her desire to have his name associated with her project. She couldn’t see that he wasn’t that invested in the first place and wouldn’t be a good choice for a partner. Without commitments, you don’t have a partner. She thought back to the research that she had done on effectual entrepreneurship. She had learned that that there’s a difference between effectual partnerships and casual partnerships. She was currently experiencing the fall out from a casual partnership. She failed to find a partner in this clarinetist who could self-select into her venture and bring something to the table. It was a short-sighted decision designed to fit her given goal rather than a true partner.
How to Make a Collaborator Contract
More than just making a better partner decision in the future, she started thinking about how she could back it up. She realized it’s situations like these that make people sticklers for contracts. Even if she didn’t have a full legal team to back it up, she realized that she wanted some sort of document that she could point to that had:
- The date of the contract
- The names of all the parties involved
- Payment amounts or specifically outlined exchange of value
- Due dates
- Contract expiration dates
- Potential penalties for breach of contract
- Clear definition of terms
- Specific expectations of each of the parties involved
- Actual signatures
She had definitely made a mistake with this one. But, she resolved that she would avoid these shapeshifting, fake collaborators in the future. Even if contracts seemed a little pretentious to her in certain cases, it would make every feel clearer on the whole process. That was enough for her.
The Golden Rule is Actually Communication
The strategies in her head all boiled down to a few key principles. First, don’t go out on a ledge without a contract. Then, watch for and attend to warning signs early! Finally, cherish the relationships with people who do the things they say they’re going to do. Communicate clearly about your budget, terms, and expectations. Don’t be afraid to pass over a potential partner if it’s not the right fit for both of you. Another opportunity will come along. She stubbornly admonished herself, “I just have to remember to communicate, communicate, communicate with collaborators.”
29 Days to Diva: The Worksheets
Want some help completing your Day 15 challenge? 29 Days to Diva is all about tackling the big issues of our careers through micro-actions. Take a moment for today’s worksheet and think about a potential stakeholder in your project. You are going to inventory your means and theirs as well as your motivations and theirs. See where you connect to see if you’ll be a good, effectual match.
Hey divas! I could really use your help. If you liked today’s post or any of the 29 Days to Diva posts so far in this series, will you please share it on your favorite social media channels? It would really help me out. Thanks! You can find me @mezzoihnen or feel free to use the hashtag #29DTD or #29DaystoDiva.