Episode 3: Removing The "Us vs. Them" Mentality

In this week's episode join our host, Angela Alea, as she explores the Code of the West, a set of unwritten rules from cowboy culture that just might hold some of the answers we're looking for.


Angela Alea: [00:00:00] Welcome to Corralling The Chaos Podcast, where we talk publicly about the things you're worried about privately. My name is Angela Alea, and I'm your host. This is the event industry podcast for companies and crew, where we're gonna dive deep into things like what does our industry need? That it just doesn't have?

What are the things you wanna know? But you're just too afraid to ask. And what are the biggest opportunities ahead for our industry? We're gonna go deep and nothing is off limits

Today I wanna talk about a topic that's going to require us all to have a bit of humility and even a little bit of introspection, something that is gonna require work on our parts for the sake of something that has the potential to allow us all to make more money. Have better careers and run better production companies.

So let's talk about some rules of engagement and how we can begin to have real respect for each other at event sites and how to stop that us [00:01:00] versus them mentality. We are better than that as an industry. And I know we all hope for that. So companies typically are complaining, my crews I'm reliable, it's too expensive.

They're overrated, they're arrogant. Then the crew ends up complaining that companies don't value their skillset or their time. And sometimes even them as human beings, neither one of those sentiments is something good and something we wanna foster. So I really wanna talk more about that today. And why is that resentment there?

Why is there this us versus them mentality? I think it's maybe because there's nothing that really binds us all together. There's nothing that creates a sense of loyalty between crew and the production companies. Often they only come together for a show, maybe a couple shows a year, but because there isn't any consistency in working together.

No true investment in each other. No true loyalty to one another. That's where things begin to break. [00:02:00] As a freelancer, I'm sure you're hustling to find your next gig. You're trying to provide for your family, trying to get on company's call list, trying to improve your skills and production companies are just trying to deliver for their client, but with fewer resources and smaller budgets.

So the stakes are high for everyone, someone who kind of sits in the middle of the companies and the crew. We see a lot of things. And so these are a few of the observations I've had. Number one - I do think people want stronger relationships. They want to belong and they wanna feel a part of something they don't wanna always feel like when they show up that they're the outsider.

Everyone wants to have a better experience at the show site. They also believe loyalty's a two way street. So is respect. That is absolutely a two-way street, but there's a heavy reliance on each other. So when that begins to break down, That's what leaves us with an us versus them mentality. But at the end of the day, everyone recognizes the [00:03:00] dependency that both crew and companies have on each other.

You need each other. So let's all agree on some standard rules of engagement. As we begin to unpack this, I wanna take a moment and go back and tap into LASSO's Western roots with something called the code of the west, which some of you may have heard of before. But this code that we're gonna talk about was an unwritten, but socially agreed upon set of informal laws that shaped the cowboy culture of the old west.

And there's a lot of good nuggets in there that I think we can apply to today. But back then, when things were less PC than they are today, There was actually an absolute right and an absolute wrong way to do things and people weren't afraid to talk about it. So a line was drawn in the sand. There was the right way to do things.

There was a right way to treat people and a wrong way. There was no entitlement. There was none of that trying to be PC. So it was a set of expectations that [00:04:00] everyone lived by. And I think that's the opportunity we have right now for us all, to agree on how we're gonna act, how we're gonna treat each. For those of you not familiar with it.

I highly recommend adopting this code because I haven't come across anything else. That's more relevant to the jobs that you or I do than this. And I think each one of these facets that we're gonna talk about, it embodies the characteristics of professionalism that our industry so badly needs more of from both the crew and the production companies.

So let's talk about what these 10 codes of the west. The first one is take pride in your work. What does this mean for crew? It means show up on time, dressed appropriately with the right tools, the right attitude, and do a good job because it's the right thing to do. And you care about your work. What does it mean for the production companies?

Be organized for your crew. Don't send your gear and shambles to the show site and just expect [00:05:00] everybody else to deal with it. Minimize the chaos for your team because you care about their experience and you wanna be proud of the work that you're doing. The second one is nowhere to draw the line crew.

If you aren't being treated with respect, if you're not paid fairly or on time, don't have a safe working environment, move on. No amount of money's worth. and for the companies, I hate to say it, but not all shows are worth doing. Is that okay to say, are we allowed to say that? Okay. I'll say it again. Not all shows are worth doing, know the value of your services and more importantly, the value that your team brings.

Don't settle for being asked to do more with smaller budgets, nowhere to draw the line for your company. The third. Live each day with courage crew. This is your career. So you have to own it. You have to be responsible for it. Get outta your comfort zone, learn something new. Be [00:06:00] curious, challenge yourself to get better and companies don't be afraid to ask your clients for more budget.

Be courageous. If they are gonna want more, it's gonna cost more. If they want things short notice, that's more expensive. And guess what? They know that they expect that you're gonna pay for it either financially or with the chaos it brings. So have the courage and conviction to sell it for more, sell it for what you're worth.

Number four. When you make a promise, keep it. It sounds so basic, but I think in today's world, we just forget that. And so crew, if you accept a gig, keep it, even if something bigger and better comes along, it's that simple. You said you were gonna do it. So do it. And companies pay your crew. What you agree to it's the honor code honor.

This is the number one thing we can do with each other to build trust is to honor our promises. And I think we would all agree. There's a lot of [00:07:00] trust that needs to be rebuilt and it's so possible. So when you make a promise, keep it number five, ride for the brand crew. Remember you're an extension of those that hired you.

So be loyal. And represent them well, don't let that be lost on you, that they are trusting you with their brand, with their logo, with their reputation. You're an extension of that. So be respectful of it and companies, as you work to build your brand, you do so with your values and how you want people to feel when they interact with it.

Every interaction you have is building your brand for. So build it for something great. Make the interactions with your crew count for something good. The sixth one always finish what you start. So crew, that means complete the job you were hired to do. Stop looking at the clock. The job actually isn't done until the job's done.

It's that simple. [00:08:00] Companies just because you filled your roster and booked your crew doesn't mean you're done. It just doesn't stop there. Now you actually have to give them what they need to succeed and do a good job at your event. Communicate all the details. Not just some of 'em, not just the ones you can get to communicate everything they need to know to show up and do a good job for you.

Getting a crew in place just isn't enough. You have to set them up to succeed. Number seven, do what has to be done. Crew have a team mentality, even if it means longer hours or doing things you don't really prefer to do. And companies, if it requires a hotel or travel to get the best talent, put it in the budget and pay up, do what has to be done to produce a great show number.

Be tough, but be fair crew. Stop hiding behind social media. If you have a complaint, be a professional, have a conversation it's only fair [00:09:00] in companies stay within the budget, but be fair to everyone you're asking to deliver within that budget. There's only so many miracles that can be pulled off with an inappropriate budget.

Number nine, talk less and say more. Crew spend less time telling people how much, and more time showing them. There's a saying that says, people don't care how much, until they know how much you care. So stop thinking. You've seen it all in your 10 years in the industry. There are 30 year veterans who still haven't seen it all and are humble enough to admit that and to be curious, and to continue to learn and ask questions.

Companies don't make your crew read between the lines, provide them with all the details they need to succeed. So be intentional with your communications and what you're saying. Set clear expectations, clear communications, clear directions. Number ten, remember some things are just not for sale. crew you've spent [00:10:00] years building your reputation.

So nothing is worth jeopardizing that if you're asked to do something at a show site, that's not safe, don't do it companies. Be steadfast in your quality of work, don't jeopardize your team or their wellbeing or your reputation for the sake of chasing money or chasing a show. It's just not worth it. And as we wrap up with these 10 facets of the code of the west, my hope is that we can all find a way to strengthen the relationships between our crew and the production companies.

They work. That we can agree to adopt these principles as we interact with each other, in that we can all hold ourselves to a higher standard with how we act, what we say and the decisions we make, which aspects of this code do you need to work on for you, John Wayne fans out there? He once said a, man's got to have a code, a creed to live by no matter his.

That's my hope for all of us. That's all for [00:11:00] today. I always love getting your comments and feedback. So don't forget to subscribe and reach out at podcast@lasso.io.


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