Teamwork Not Me Work
I’ve recently been involved in the creation of a product (I am being deliberately vague here). Not my usual ‘bag’ of content writing or business support, something altogether different.
The quality of the final product mattered, a lot. The client had employed a Project Manager who had been working on it for ten months. Every facet had been planned meticulously leading up to the actual product creation over the course of five days.
The day arrived. A team of specialists had been recruited, each individual briefed, and highly skilled at what they do. Stakeholders had come to observe the process, flown in from across the globe. As production was due to commence the first meeting was called where the Project Manager passionately voiced how much this project meant and that they would be picky throughout the process (alarm bells).
Photo by Campaign Creators
And So It Begins, To Go Downhill
From this point, it may have been sensible to allow the professionals to step in and do their job, but that isn’t what happened. The Project Manager felt compelled to step in at every stage to analyse, dissect and re-invent, showing their authority, and worth. Throughout the numerous discussions time for production of the product ebbed away, along with its potential.
Days of frustration as each professional was compelled to justify their actions and wait as unnecessary changes were made. Observers shifted to ‘inputters’, decision became indecision and the big picture became a pixellated, distorted mass of disjointed fragments.
Almost everybody involved remained polite. They listened and responded to each new view, doing their best to please. Many changes were made, often ill-informed and illogical, rarely working towards achieving the goal. Time spent actually creating the product fell from around 80% to around 20% leaving no time for critical appraisal and fine-tuning at the end. I dare say the Project Manager walked away with a huge payment feeling they had worked hard. They may not even realise the detrimental effect of their interference throughout, and they certainly will never realise the difference in quality, had they simply allowed the professionals involved to do what they do best.
Understand your role, play to your strengths, and allow others to play to their strengths too. Ultimately, a team can be greater than the sum of their parts if they work well together. Above all, know when to step back!