FLASHBACK ARTICLE FROM OCTOBER 2007
I haven’t read as many self-help / motivational / organize your life / be a better you type books as some people. When I read it’s usually as an escape or for pleasure. I read a lot of whodunit novels that start with a dead guy on the first page and end with another dead guy on the last page. I also read a lot of biographies. Interesting lives fascinate me, even the evil ones. (I just picked up “The Looming Towers” but I’m afraid to read it because I have a vacation coming up – who wants to read a book about Al-Qaeda on a plane?)
But I have read a few classic business books and just recently I picked up my original copy of “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey and thumbed through it. I often read with a highlighter as a book mark. I highlight the sections I like, take notes in the margins and generally destroy a book for anyone else who might want to read it down the road. The advantage of this are two-fold. If I want to find a certain section I liked to quote it or write about it, it’s much easier to locate. Plus, it’s always interesting to re-read a book after a few years and see what sections strike me now that I didn’t highlight originally (sometimes I get a new copy of a book, mark it up and then go back and compare to two.)
One of the sections I came across that was a bright orange in “Seven Habits” was Covey’s discussion on “Principals.” “The situation may change and the practice may no longer apply,” Covey writes, “but the principal will remain constant. (The Principal) will always apply.”
When I broke into Mobile DJing in the late 80’s in north Jersey, I was trained by the late great Star DJs. Our style back then was highly interactive. Put it this way: their list of “must have” items for their new DJs included, not only a complete sound system and music library but a sequined jacket and limbo pole. We used to make our own limbo poles by wrapping bright yellow tape around a black broom stick. We jumped up on speakers, did 5 minute introductions to songs and generally tried to be the “Chippendales” of Mobile DJing. This was the late 80s in New Jersey. Bon Jovi and Poison were ruling the airwaves, our Brides had big high hair and they wanted their DJs with mullets and tight pants. Everyone at Star was happy to oblige.
The “situation” was our clients expectations, the “practice” was our specific style but the Principle was simple: give the client what they wanted and show them a fun time.
But time changes everything and we find today that our Brides ask for a different approach now. They want less interaction and certainly less of “us.” The situation has change and so too has our practice. When I train my DJs now, our over all philosophy is to provide a fun atmosphere without taking over the wedding. My sequined jacket has been collecting dust at the back of my closet for years now and my limbo pole has gone back to just being a broom stick (albeit one that you can find in the dark)
But the “Principal” has not changed. Mobile DJing remains for us about two main things: giving the client what they want, and providing a fun and enthusiastic atmosphere at every event. Just because I’m not jumping on speakers and bumping and grinding with the hottest Bridesmaid doesn’t mean I’m a wallflower. I still get out on the dance floor for much of the fast dancing, lead any line dancing that they might want (yes the “Electric Slide and its offspring are still popular “dance-floor-fillers” in these parts) and keep a smile plastered on my face all night long. I don’t wear a mullet anymore (I tried to resurrect it a few years ago but I found out Bon Jovi was wrong, sometimes you can’t go home) but I do still try to stay fashionable. We are in an ascetic business and I think it’s important to maintain a certain level of fashion and fitness.
Stephen Covey reminded me of all that with his discussion of Principals. I will be conscious of it in my own events and also when I talk to my staff. The practice of how we DJ has changed over time and it will continue to change (who knows maybe that sequined jacket will be back in vogue again someday) but the Principals of Mobile DJing will never change.
Mike Walter is the owner of Elite Entertainment of New Jersey and a nationally recognized expert in the area of multisystem company development and staff training. You can contact Mike at email@example.com.
FLASHBACK ARTICLE FROM OCTOBER 2007