The Stage Manager Test

By Michael Roderick  -  On 23 Sep, 2013 -  0 comments

When I used to direct theatre productions I always made it a point to find a really good stage manager. This was the person who would help me execute on all of the things I needed to do in order to take care of the show and who would be documenting all of the blocking and other decisions made in rehearsals, so they had to be someone I could trust. One job that was especially important was to do something I called the “Stage Manager Test.”

Now, you may think that this was a test to assess the performance of the stage manager but it was actually the opposite. The Stage Manager Test was a way of helping me decide which actors I wanted to work with. I would make the stage manager the first person that any actor auditioning for me had to converse with and then I would ask my stage manager how they were treated.

This was usually very telling.

If someone is very nice to you but awful to someone working for you it tells you a lot about them and a lot about whether you want to work with them or not.

I apply the same test now in business. Whenever I am connected or introduced to someone, they are looped in on an email with someone who helps schedule a meeting or phone call. The way they treat that person tells me everything I don’t see in the meeting. I’ve actually been amazed at how many people have been incredibly rude to the people who are helping to schedule our meeting and facilitate our connection. This tells me so much and makes me think twice about who I would introduce them to.

So, today I’d encourage you to institute your own stage manager test for those interviewing for a job, looking for an introduction, or looking for help and advice.

You might be surprised at what you discover but it’s better to discover it with someone who works for you rather than a valued and trusted contact.