What Makes A Great Team?

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Each Monday morning I meet with members of my team to brainstorm ideas for that week’s PR Insider. On occasion coming up with a topic is a challenge, but always it’s an interesting and fun time because each person involved brings a different perspective to the discussion as we toss around ideas that will help our readers.

This week during just such a session it occurred to me that the camaraderie, talents and life experiences that make up a great team are worth writing about themselves. This came to mind because my company recently embarked on a team-building excursion that involved a Greek lunch, a boat ride to an island off the Gulf Coast of Florida, and the retrieval of one deceased dolphin.

I know that last item may sound strange, but it was in the name of science and not originally on the agenda. The Greek restaurant and boat ride were carefully planned in the name of fun. But the whole day, deceased dolphin and all, helps illustrate the importance of a strong team, whether you hire one or build it yourself.

Our trip that day to the wonderful Greek community of Tarpon Springs was made possible by a client who sent a generous check and asked me to create a party for the team as a thank you for the work we did on their behalf. I presented the challenge to my team to decide what the outing would be. There were plenty of suggestions from this creative and adventurous group whose diverse backgrounds and experiences provided an equally diverse list of ideas to choose from.

After our wonderful lunch at a Greek restaurant (which featured flaming cheese that we shared like any good team!) we explored the town’s famous sponge docks. Then it was time to head to the boat.

We had barely boarded when our skipper announced a brief delay. We needed to wait for a biologist from the Clearwater Marine Aquarium’s rescue team. It seemed a dead dolphin had washed ashore on the island that was our destination. The biologist couldn’t rescue the animal now, but she could retrieve the body so the aquarium could study it to learn why it died.

So, not only did we wait patiently for the biologist’s arrival, but on the island some members of our team helped her ready the dolphin to be towed back to the mainland.

In all, a great trip – even if ultimately it strayed from the script, as life has a habit of doing!

Thinking back on that day, I reflected on the fact that it was the team’s unique attributes that helped make it a fun and successful time and these are some of the same attributes we use in our PR and marketing efforts for our clients.

So, other than topnotch dolphin retrievals, what are the attributes you should you look for in your own PR and marketing team? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Skills. Everyone has things they are good at, but not everyone is good at the same thing. It’s essential to have people on your team with varied skills. One person’s strength might be writing. Another’s might be creating great graphics. Someone else might excel at making use of social media. It’s important to figure out how each person’s skills fit into the overall picture.
  • Diversity of Background. Just as my team members all have different skills, we also come to the table with a variety of backgrounds and experiences that helped shape who we are. That’s great for a PR and marketing team because one person might completely miss an angle or approach that is crystal clear to someone else who brings a different perspective. Our team at EMSI ranges from millennials to baby boomers. They grew up in cities, on farms, in the mountains and on islands. They also bring with them diverse educational backgrounds and work experiences.
  • Desire to Succeed. I don’t think a team can function well unless all the team members really do care about doing the best job possible. It is important to have a team where everyone is willing to step in and help out if someone else encounters a problem or needs assistance.

Finally, I think there is a “likeability factor” with a great team, which is perhaps more important than some people might realize. The members of our team really do like each other, and I think that’s because of the way those three other pieces – our skills, our diverse backgrounds and our mutual desire to succeed – all combine to create a wonderful working relationship.

Go team!


P.S. If you’d like professional help getting coverage in the press, or being interviewed on radio and TV, give us a call. We’ve been providing this service to clients for 27 years. We also offer a comprehensive social media marketing program for select clients, where we do it all for you. If you’re interested in our help, please call us at 727-443-7115 Ext. 208. We’d love to hear from you!

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