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SMAC Entertainment CEO Constance Schwartz Morini On How To Avoid Groupthink

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In this edition of our Corporate Competitor Podcast, leadership speaker and storytelling expert Don Yaeger sits down with SMAC Entertainment CEO Constance Schwartz-Morini to discuss how pride and gratitude can co-exist to make you a stronger leader.

Constance Schwartz-Morini is not the person to turn your back on. Just ask the original D-O-double-G himself, Snoop Dogg.

Early in Schwartz-Morini’s career, she was part of a marketing team that was meeting its client, the famous rapper and youth football coach, only to find themselves staring at the back of his head as, resplendent in a long purple fur coat, The D-O-double-G stared out the window, much to the puzzlement of his “team.”

Although by no means the senior member of this team, Schwartz-Morini had had enough of Snoop’s behavior. She looked at him and said, “Hey, we’re all here for you. And if you don’t want to hear what we have to say, we can leave and go back to our office and work with people who do want to hear us. We’re cool.”

Two days later, Snoop called her and asked her to be his talent manager. Snoop signed on with her at The Firm, where she elevated his prominence as a multi-platinum selling creative, and then again after she co-founded her own company, SMAC Entertainment, a talent management firm, business incubator, and Emmy-nominated production company she co-founded with Michael Strahan in 2011.

Today at SMAC Entertainment, Schwartz-Morini and her team manage Wiz Khalifa, Erin Andrews, and Pro Football Hall of Famers: Strahan, Tony Gonzalez, and one of the biggest names in college football today, Deion Sanders.

And while it’s pretty safe to say that she and Snoop are tight, she used the experience as a metaphoric frame of reference for future situations where she felt that her voice wasn’t being heard. “My motto is if there’s no room at the table for you where you want to be invited to sit, go and build your own table,” she said in the podcast. Sometimes, the best course of action is to avoid “getting all caught up in the rooms you aren’t in, and being grateful for the rooms you are in and can create.”

Listeners to the podcast learn how, and when, to avoid going with the flow and avoiding “group think,” as well as using complex and even ambiguous situations as opportunities to grow. Lessons include:

• Why fixating on job titles is an inaccurate way to predict quality and skill.

• Choosing mentors who have done something very close to what you want to do.

• Developing enough confidence to be able to ask, “Am I missing something here?”

Schwartz-Morini shared that several important early lessons in leadership were learned through her own sporting experiences. A 95-pound softball player in high school who didn’t see a lot of at bats, Schwartz-Morini says she was proud to be a backup and “bench cheerleader.” She and Strahan still are and want their team to be as well. “It doesn’t matter how great I play my position if the team loses,” Schwartz-Morini said. “And that’s what Michael and I instill in our team.”

This leader isn’t afraid to be a backup. Just don’t turn your back on her.


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