In 1994 I first heard Player’s Ball from Outkast. It would be the first of many songs to grace my ears from the now legendary producer trio know as Organized Noize. Recently I watched the documentary The art of Organized Noize, a tale of beginnings, success, struggles and rebirth. A tale which is similar to the tale any company or team.
Like any company their tale started with an idea/dream. A dream of better days, a dream of being successful! Within the team of 3, each had their own flavour, specialty and role, which they combined to create sonic landscapes that would shape the sound of Southern HipHop. They played on each other’s strengths and created something unique. But what made this team of producers so successful. Let us have a look at Organized Noize using the 7 core components of the psychology of teamwork
1 Team Identity
Organized Noize’s (and the Dungeon Family) desire to work together was so great that there was a period they all basically resided in the parental home of Rico Wade. Within that home they all worked together from the studio in the basement. Here they crafted their sound and most importantly their team identity The Dungeon Family. An identity which they nurtured by, sharing, giving, and letting everyone grow in their own way.
Within the basement they each had their own role, set their goals and kept being persistent. Motivating each other to reaching their goals. It is clear that everyone knew the aspirations of others and provided the space needed to fulfil these aspiration. Even if in some instances these aspirations were not directly in line with what the rest of the group were working on.
3 Emotional Awareness
The documentary shows how important emotional awareness is for a team. In the beginning of their journey Organized Noize were always together and aware of each other’s emotions. At the height of their stardom, the lack of proper communication brought about a loss of emotional awareness and with it internal struggles. But the bond formed in the past ensured that it was at a high enough level for Rico to drop what he was doing, to assist and re-join Ray Murray when he was emotionally overburdened. This is an example of how their emotional awareness kept the trio together and ensured that there was a good support system.
Under “Emotional Awareness” the importance of good communication is also highlighted. The courage to communicate when things aren’t going good is very important within a team. Ray could have kept his feelings and emotions to himself but he chose to share them. What is most important to note is the reaction from the others. They acted upon this cry for help ensuring that it was not only heard but that steps were taken to resolve the issue.
5 Stress Tolerance
Within the documentary there were several periods highlighted that showed the stress tolerance of Organized Noize and those surrounding them. Examples of these stress moments are the loss of their first studio and moving it to the basement of Rico Wade’s parental home. A decision which also affected his mother and sisters.
One could say that best showcase of stress tolerance by Organized Noize was at the moment they were not considered relevant anymore. Going from being the most requested producers to labels not accepting their calls or reaching out anymore. Also having to adapt to current musical tools and mixing it with their way of creating music.
6 Conflict Resolution
The team dealt with different sources of conflict, conflict originating from outside factors and conflict within the team.
The conflict of making what labels wanted versus creating their own new sound. Which resulted in the loss of a USD 20mil deal. Such conflict also happens in business, for example creating or doing a service purely because it was requested by a customer or even management. The inner conflict during a period where Rico Wade and Sleepy Brown where barely on speaking terms. For a 2 members of a trio to have a conflict could cripple and destroy many a team. However they pulled through and tackled the challenges that were to come.
7 Positive Mood
Maintaining a positive mood is easy when things are going your way but the true test of a team is maintaining this mood and outlook when the chips are down. As the documentary reaches its end you see the positive outlook that the Organized Noize uses to tackle the future. You see the courage they have by staying true to their sound. Their positive outlook and feel for humour is prevalent within the whole documentary with smiles to be seen even when talking about the challenges they faced.
Whether it be music, sports or business all teams need a balance of the 7 core components. Take the time and have a look at your team and how you maintain these 7 components.
For any of you who might be interested in the story of this trio, The Art of Organized Noize can be seen on Netflix. I would to love hear if you enjoyed it and had any takeaways I might have missed.
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