Not Candy Colorblind
You would only have seen this demand if you’d read to page 40 of rock band Van Halen’s 53-page rider. A rider is a contract between the band and the venue and lays out everything from how to set up the stage to what snacks to put backstage.
Most bands in the 80’s, Roth said, would have riders the size of pamphlets, about six pages long. Not Van Halen.
Van Halen’s showmanship, along with great music, combined to make them one of the most popular bands of the 80’s and 90’s.
A lot went into making their show stand out, and it was important that all the details from load bearing capacity of the stage to how electrical was set up to physical space around the entire show, was set up just so.
Detail after detail filled the pages of their rider. When it got to the “Munchies” section of the rider, the band wrote specifics about which meals would be served to them on which days.
And oh yes, M&M’s, of course. But clearly stated in the rider was when it came to the candy-coated chocolate, they were to have ABSOLUTELY NO BROWN M&M’s.
Roth laughed when he recalled this years later, saying that people assumed they were messing with people and being that picky because they could be. The band let people think it was all part of the mystique.
The real reason no brown M&M’s
Roth explained that because their band was doing things in their show that other bands weren’t, they had a higher need for attention to detail so that the stage and light fixtures could carry the load.
Inattention to detail in setting up the stage, electrical and lighting could mean a collapse that could have tragic consequences.
Without checking every single tiny detail once the band was on site, how would they know right away that the venue had paid attention to every single tiny detail in their rider?
You’ve got that right. They would go backstage and check the M&M bowl. Was it free of brown M&M’s? Great, all was well, and the band knew their rider had been followed to the letter.
Van Halen knew
How you do anything is pretty much how you do everything.
If you’d like to protest this, and say, “No, not really. Sometimes I’m a certain way, sometimes not so much.” Fair enough. But remember, most people who interact with you at work don’t know you as well as your closest friends who have known you for years in a variety of situations.
You meet someone, you need to make quick decisions on their reliability and whether you can trust them. You don’t have the time to ask how they would behave differently in different situations.
You just go with what you know.
And, that’s what they’re doing with you.
Be you at your best
When I teach seminars on Emotional Intelligence, one of the pieces participants find most interesting is our discussion on how others might be perceiving you.
What public image would you like to project?
Are you coming across the way you intend with your behaviors supporting that? People do make quick judgments based on brief snapshots of information and interactions with you.
Be mindful that your behavior is in harmony with who you are at your best.
Crystal Jonas is an eight-time published author and the “Employee Optimizer,” helping leaders fully engage their team’s time, talent and energy so they can be more productive, and drama-free.