How to lead an army of Producers.

Yesterday I talked about how I didn’t care about how many names there were above the title of a show.  And you shouldn’t either, as long as it doesn’t get in the way of you running your show.

And that’s where I’ve seen many shows go south.

The issue isn’t the # of names above a title.  The issue is with how those names are managed.

I’m a believer in stacking my above-the-title producers with smart, passionate people, many from other industries, who have experience, knowledge, and yes, a “Producer’s Perspective” that I might not have.  Their knowledge can supplement my own, and together, we can band together to form a whole that is much stronger than its parts.  (For those of you putting boards together for non-profits, a similar theory applies.)  I also like to think that when I join other Lead Producers on their shows, I can provide similar contrarian or supporting value to them.

All that said, it’s essential that everyone on the team remember that the ship has one captain, the business has one CEO, and that the buck stops at the Lead Producer’s desk.

Too much discussion, too many committees, and not enough decisions do nothing but slow progress (our current government, anyone?) . . . and on Broadway, if you move slowly, you’ll be closed before you can even arrange your next advertising meeting.

Bob Parsons, the billionaire founder of GoDaddy, who, like him or not, certainly knows how to build and run an empire, said this . . .

Committees make the best decisions when three people are on the committee and two are out of town.  Committees rarely take risks. People thinking in groups can’t think eclectically. One clear vision beats a diluted vision, every time.

While that’s an extreme example from an admitted extremist, there is truth in this that we all can learn when assembling the hierarchy of our productions.

Bring on as many co-producers as you can/want/need to ensure that your show gets up on its feet as long . . . as long as you can still lead like you were the only one.


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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.