Comment – The art of working with a team.

‘And cut. Everybody happy? Then that’s a wrap,’ said the director as we completed a three day shoot for a training video for next year’s INSOL conference. And I realised I had just been part of an excellent example of team working. So what were the elements that made it work.

It has to start with the vision thing. We had put many weeks of work into coming to an agreement about what the video was to achieve and how we would tell our story, our script: a clarity that is often missing in many businesses. We held casting sessions to find the appropriate actors.

The director chose the cameraman, and other specialists in sound, lighting, props and makeup from those he knew had the experience and ability, as well as younger people who were learning their trades and doing more menial tasks meanwhile. Do we pay enough attention to putting the right team together in our businesses?

But there was still more work to be done on the detail. What the actors were to wear, where the crew would be accommodated, what time they were needed, how they would get there, and the order in which we would shoot the scenes etc. All of this was decided before the full team met. No question of making it up as we went along – ‘building the plane while flying it’, as is often quoted in business circles. Seventy five per cent of the work was done before we began the shoot.

The team came together. A number of us had never met before, but we explained our roles. Then there were rehearsals – practising what was to be done, whether that was camera moves or where to hide the microphone, or the actors trying out their lines and reactions. No expectation that everything would be right the first time. Yet throughout we kept on course, because we had the script in front of us. We all knew what we were trying to create.

Every member of the team whether director, producer, writer, actor camera, sound or lighting had the right to speak up if they weren’t happy with any piece of work. Is that a freedom of responsibility we give our business colleagues?

Of course, not everything went perfectly all the time. We met unexpected problems. But the only difficult or tense moments were when any of us changed something without communicating it to the others, when we failed to act as part of the team.

When the call came from the director: ‘Camera rolling … and action,’ everyone was absolutely focused on doing their job to the very best of their ability. Great team work.

– Ann Baldwin FCA is a business speaker and scriptwriter.

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