Each of us has a greater or lesser need to be part of a team. Sometimes the level of connection we have with others is driven by our own internal needs. Sometimes there are external factors which affect the contact levels we have. But for most of use there will come a time (or many times) when we cannot achieve our objectives without the help of others.
In this blog I share my thoughts on identifying who you need in your team. These are ideas I’ve developed over years of working with communications teams so I’ll talk mostly about those teams. But I believe you can apply the lessons to any group working on a collective endeavour.
Who should form your team?
I’m currently working with a client on a project to communicate complex messages across a diverse range of audiences. We are looking at who needs and wants to know what, when and why. We are building a robust strategy that will provide consistency and flexibility.
When you have many movable parts like this, you also need to think about who should be responsible for which aspects of communication. To be successful, you need the right team in place, with everyone clear about the role they play and the expectations of how and when they get involved.
Who you decide to involve will depend very much on your overall aims. Points to consider include:
- There will be actions that should be carried out by your dedicated comms teams.
- Project and programme managers will be communicating every day in some way to ensure practical activities take place.
- Leaders and managers have a broader role and power dynamic that draws them in as communicators too – their teams will want to know what they have to say.
All the players need to be brought together and co-ordinated through a shared plan.
Who does what?
As well as having the right people in your team, it makes sense that they should play to their strengths.
I’m reading Michelle Obama’s book ‘Becoming’ at the moment. One of the many things that has struck a chord with me is where she talks about having so many things to do she needed to think about the things that only she could do (“No-one could fill in at Sasha and Malia’s bedtime”) and which could be done by someone else. (This struck me so much that I turned down the page corner, I never turn down corners in books!)
What you need to achieve may vary at different points in time. Last year I worked with two separate clients to write communication strategies for them. Of course, once the strategies were written, they needed to start delivering them.
My skills lie in reviewing complex information and priorities and pulling them together in a way that delivers high-level objectives. They do not lie in the brilliance of day-to-day social media management or hashtag research. So it was time to change the team.
One client chose to recruit a new full-time person with a communications remit and I helped the other to find a freelancer with the skills they needed. There is no single answer to how you fulfil your requirements, the key is to be clear on what your team needs to be successful.
When thinking about who to involve, consider these questions:
- What outcomes do we need to achieve?
- What skills will bring about these outcomes?
- Which of these skills do I already have and am I the best choice to apply them?
- Who do we know who has these skills and can apply them well?
- Who is already communicating with our target audiences and achieving results?
The answers to these questions will show you where to start in bringing people into your group.
Team Time for Kindness
More recently I’ve been applying principles of team building as I develop Time for Kindness, my mission to tell stories of the kindness that exists in the world. A particular thanks and shout out goes to Deborah Henry-Pollard, Alexis Bushnell and Paul Headwall for being part of my team so far, as well as to everyone who has shared their kindness story with me.
Who’s in your team and who do you need to involve to achieve results? Get in touch to let me know, I love hearing stories of teamwork.
Until next time
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