brown mmsI recently read an article about one of my favorite bands from the 80’s Van Halen, and it made me think about a few methods I’ve put in place in my agency and the questions I receive about them.

First, if you are too young to know who Val Halen is, I’m very sorry, go straight to YouTube and come back to this post in a few months. If you know who and what I’m talking about you have probably heard the stories about their extensive and crazy concert contract rider. One of thenfunny things you hear about is the fact they had to have a bowl of M&M’s backstage but the caveat was no brown ones were allowed. If the band found any brown ones they could walk, contractually.

Now at first you are probably thinking, what prima donna’s, I mean really and their contract wasn’t a two page document, it was like the NYC phone book and this clause was buried somewhere in the middle. The genius portion of this comes once you hear the real reason they did it. It was to protect the band.

Apparently they were one of the first groups to tour the smaller venues, these venues often didn’t have the safety measures in place or have a stage that could handle the set. The band figured if the promoter didn’t read the contact all the way through and comply with something so small, they probably had bigger problems and most often they did. This saved the band countless PR nightmares,probably saved lives and the PR they did get just gave them more street cred as a crazy rock and roll band that would do what they wanted.

Ok, funny story, Russ, now what does it mean to me since Michael McLean is the only agent I know who has a list of demands like this?

Well, I’ve used this for years in my hiring process to weed out potential bad apples. While my list isn’t 500 pages long I do tell potential employees to do specific things like send your resume to a different email than my main one, don’t bring one by my office, answer these three questions in a different order than listed, mail in your resume on blue paper. You get the drift. I figure if someone can’t jump through a few easy hurdles when I’m hiring them, what level of attention to detail will they have when they get the job? My E/O is at stake with every new hire and every key stroke of an employee.

Now the Million Dollar question is, how can you insert brown M&M’s into your daily processes to make sure your staff are looking out for the details?

Checklists are great, so are tasks or automated follow up’s. Let’s hear how you are using this now, and the ideas you might get after reading this blog.

By the way, here is a link to the actual contact containing the M&M rider.