You’re the leader now – the proverbial captain of the ship. And like every good captain, you know how important having a stellar crew is and that you simply cannot succeed without them. So let’s talk about how you can go about assembling the “A” team for your event.
Determining just what an “A” team is would probably be the best place to start this article. And as on many other occasions, perhaps it is easiest to do so by figuring out what an “A” team is not. For me, the best team is not one where all the best individuals in the world are thrown into the same place and magic is assumed to naturally ensue. If that were so, Real Madrid with their “Galactico” policy would win every football (and if you’re reading from America, football is the sport that that involves using your feet to kick a ball for most of the game) trophy every season. As a matter of fact, they don’t, and in fact this idea of simply buying the best players in the world and stuffing them in a team is by and large a resounding failure.
Try not to end up looking as sad as that. / Source
So then, for the purposes of this piece (and beyond), let’s just say that an “A” team is one that is perfectly assembled for the job it is meant to do, achieves its targets and flourishes in the spotlight.
Lay The Foundations
Of course, in order to know how to reach and surpass your targets, it is important to know what those goals actually are. Now I don’t expect you to be a regular reader of my columns (they are here, here and here), but you’ll know that more than anything I place great emphasis on an overarching idea and a big picture. Have a clear vision on what you want your event to be in terms of its story-line, its marketing strategies, its overall visual and sound aesthetic and who your guests or target audience is going to be.
Therefore, the first members recruited to your all-star lineup should be those who will be involved in making these decisions. As such, choose individuals who have a flair for big ideas and concepts and for whom creativity and a liberal imagination are second nature. You’ll need them to craft a narrative that is bold and attractive, with taglines that are catchy and memorable. This will ensure that your event now has a clear direction that all other members of the team can stick to and build on.
Another important aspect of this part of the planning is finding people who are detail-oriented. Add these types to your “A” team to make sure you never go over budget and that schedules are met. This is a crucial position so fill it with the most capable person in this respect that you can find.
As alluded to earlier in this piece, finding the best individuals in a field simply won’t cut it. This is due to two main reasons. Firstly, it fails to take into account the fact that any given profession is not monolithic and that within it there are trends and genres, not to mention stark divisions over philosophies, methodologies or just simple working styles. Secondly, it fails to consider how each individual is unique and that, especially at the top of their games, personalities come with egos and a directly proportionally increasing list of “uncompromisables”.
To circumvent this it is necessary to fall back on your pre-planning stage and the ideas that you have already set out. For instance, if your design aesthetic has been determined to be about youths in the throes of activity dashed with a generous dose of color and vitality, it’s probably not the best idea to engage a Pulitzer-prize-winning wildlife photographer who is renowned for black-and-white- themed shoots. Obviously that guy will be world-class, but it just doesn’t suit your purpose.
It ain’t wrong, but it ain’t right. / Source
With regards to the second issue, it may be harder to determine initially, but ask around various industries to see if there are personal animosities and just plain differences in working styles before asking different individuals to come on board. What might seem like a dream combination can degenerate very quickly over what might seem like the most innocuous of details. To further expand on this point, make sure that YOU or your management team is able to work with whomever you sign on and that the person is a good fit not just professionally but also personally. This is crucial for morale and efficiency as you approach your event date.
It’s a point that runs inherently throughout what I’ve written so far so let’s just sum that up – do your homework about the people you have shortlisted and targeted. Be familiar with their portfolios, their styles, philosophies, personalities and professional histories and decide if these would fit into your team.
Picture: guy possibly doing homework. Not me. / Source
Finally, you’ve taken all of the above into consideration and now you’ve settled on your lineup. Now you’ve got to trust the choices you’ve made and believe in your decision-making process. Presumably you have engaged the service of some of the best you could find or afford and these folks will have an extensive expertise at their craft. Let them get on with it. They are the experts, not you. Tell them what you want and let them conjure the magic. Micro-management would be counter-productive, frustrating and inefficient for every concern. We’ve all heard stories of how great ideas have been ruined by corporate meddling under the strange assumption that they “know better”. Well, that is not true. If it was, you’d be doing the job yourself.
It’s not easy finding a collection of brilliant people who gel well and achieve all your targets. Following these tips, though, will help get you somewhere close to that. After which, you can take great pride and boast about how you pieced together an “A” team for your event.