A friend of mine in the seminar business phoned me yesterday, looking for a little advice. My friend, it seems, is up to his eyeballs in egos.
“Tamara, you work with the Hollywood elite, Super Bowl winning coaches and quarterbacks, heads of state, rock stars, and superstars… HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH THE EGOS?”
I feel for my friend, but the truth of the matter is that at the highest levels, I haven’t really encountered a lot of super-egos. In twenty-plus years of working with the biggest stars in the world, I’ve only met a handful of truly obnoxious prima donnas.
I told my friend, “The biggest egos are never the A-Listers, but what I’d call the B+ Speakers– and the Superstar Salesmen. The Superstar Salesmen are the worst. They can be overconfident and cocky… but they produce. Then it’s just a trade off. Is what you get worth what you put up with? If it is, I tend to give them some slack; but if it demoralizes the rest of the team, I usually put them out to pasture.”
The worst of the super-egos I’ve seen was the motivational mogul who arrived with a snooty entourage of suck-ups. The moment he arrived he took over. He insisted that the carpet in his holding room be replaced because it was “too dark.” He also wanted the black table draping replaced with white. And a juicer. And carrots. Organic carrots. And a full length mirror…
“So what did you do?” my friend asked.
“You can’t reform guys like that. It’s too big of a job. I’ll tell you what I did: I had my staff scurry around and cater to his every whim. We got him anything and everything he wanted… And I never booked him again.”
The tragic thing is that the motivational maniac was, in fact, a very charismatic speaker. He’s great on stage but is a pain in the backstage to work with. Conversely, the A-Listers tend to be very gracious, accommodating, low-key, and a genuine pleasure to work with.
EGO is an acronym for Edging God Out. That’s why those who possess it in epic proportions tend to act almighty. They seat themselves on the throne and regard others as serfs sent to serve them. But if you want to get booked again, check it (and the snooty entourage) at the door.
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