Mark Gillett

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Building a Team

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I look at building a team in much the same way as I approach any assignment. Or even something as simple as photographing a subject.

When I build a team I look at the task that needs to be completed, assess my own skill sets, look at what I can feasibly do alone and then look for those to help get the job done and equipment needed. I look for people I trust, have greater knowledge in their field with relevant skill sets, can accomplish tasks and importantly, I like and respect. But I also look around me.  I search for the best possible and I do not stop at the first right answer as there maybe a better one for me.

It is also important that team members work together well and this is often the unknown and where my role would plays its part.

When I am on assignment I will look at the subject from many different angles.  I will not stop at the first good shot but keep going, looking for the shot that is extraordinary.  In the same way as I want the extraordinary team, not just a team.  I will also look around me to make sure I am not missing anything.  If I need other skill sets like lighting or set design I will look elsewhere as my skills are not best spent on this.

In some situations I  believe that team roles evolve rather than being set from the beginning and this is from experience.  A good example was on one of my youth expeditions and I approached an ex Marine who I knew had great qualities and skills, however I have not got a role in mind. I needed more support and he was truly solid. His first question to me was (typically ex military) “what is my role?” My reply was “I am sorry, I don’t know yet.” Which surprised him.  I then said that he would find his role in the next few weeks which I was confident of but he was still uncomfortable.  We continued to work together on stuff and the question came up again followed by “I really need a role.” My reply was the same and I encouraged his involvement in everything from the outset but assured him he would find a role.  Finally we established that we needed the youths to undergo a fair amount of training and suddenly here was his role. One he created, took ownership of and had has executed with excellence ever since. I had much the same experience with a psychologist who I asked to join the same expedition. I knew why I wanted one there but she did not.  I gave her a brief but really wanted her to find her place on the expedition. Again she did and was invaluable.  She had complete ownership of her role on the team.

Once my team is complete this leaves me to do to what I do best and get the job accomplished.

Written by markgillett

March 24, 2010 at 12:29 pm

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