I have a client who is going to be a country music star. I’m working with her on interview skills so when her time comes she’ll be ready for the bright lights, big hair and big city. One day while we were working together and I looked at her CD cover. I asked her who the other people on the CD were since they were not back up singers and I knew they didn’t write her songs. She told me how she learned some very hard lessons by being so young, innocent and trusting in Nashville. She said, “Deb, don’t you know the phrase: add a word – get a third?”
I asked, “What does that mean?” She explained that in the music business everyone wants a piece of success – so if someone can “add a word” to a song, they can then claim some sort of ownership and be paid for life. “Really?” I said, “That is ridiculous.” I say brilliant things all the time to help others and I don’t get paid anymore than my coaching or speaking fee.
Add a word – get a third. Isn’t that interesting? And the more I thought about it, the more it really ticked me off. Then I realized I see that happening in business all the time; someone adds just a little something to a project and then takes full credit. Someone changes a color on a brochure and then tells the world they are the art director-Someone adds or deletes a few words on a paper and then claims ownership-and who is there to stop them? Except you should hear the words of your mother ringing in your ears to stop taking credit for others work. It is wrong and if you’re doing that, stop before it catches up with you.