Entrepreneurs that are successful as sole proprietors are rare. Most often, success is the product of collaboration.

Recently, I caught myself reading a New York Post article, as I very infrequently do, about the rise and fall of Lady Gaga, who received a tepid welcome to her most recent album. The lack of “hits” produced from this endeavour has led to fears of layoffs and cuts at Interscope, her record label. I was struck by the similarities between her decline and the frustrations of several entrepreneurs I’ve known who have experienced similar challenges in rebounding from radical success.

Radical success, you say? What’s to rebound from?

Often, plenty.

A music executive quoted in the article states: “Artists have a lot of help on their first albums, and they’re open to a lot of help, and they are very smart collaborators and make great work.”  In other words: early in her arc, Gaga was collaborative as she learned the ropes, largely trusting the judgment of others as she solicited their input.

Top performers need to be heard. This includes top performers who aren’t necessarily the boss

Read: 5 Steps to Becoming a Better Collaborator

The Post article discusses how the Lady Gaga that many of us know is really the product of a collaboration between visual artists, producers, engineers, fashion designers and stylists, managers, marketing strategists and a host of others—a crew that includes and is largely led by Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, the woman we plebes refer to as Lady Gaga. Packaged in the veneer of the meat dress, the 11-inch heels and the costumes crafted from Post-It-Notes, that Lady Gaga product is no different from a company. Germanotta is the CEO of Startup Gaga.

As entrepreneurs, we too are often Germanottas portrayed as the focal point of what is otherwise a collaborative effort among inspired and hard-working peers. When we’re successful, as often transpires, some leaders forget whose efforts propelled them there. And to some extent, this makes sense—we’ve learned a lot, watched specialists do their thing exceptionally well and taken lessons from the challenges encountered. In every empirical sense, we are better entrepreneurs and leaders than we were when we began.

Artists and entrepreneurs who can’t repeat successes are generally those who become convinced of their own greatness, losing sight of the team that helped them along. In the case of Lady Gaga, she recently tried to go it alone—losing her designer, ignoring her producers and generally trying to prove to others (and perhaps herself) that had she called the shots all along, and that her early success could have been even bigger.

Read: The Dangerous Transition from CEO to Founder

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