Submitted by admin on Mon, 06/05/2017 - 13:07

Vishal Jacob, National Director – Digital, Maxus India draws parallels between corporate teams and a band of musicians and comes up with ways of unlocking the potential of teams comprising individuals with diverse skillsets


By Vishal Jacob
National Director - Digital, Maxus India

One of the key challenges in managing a Digital team is working with individuals who have diverse skillsets. How do you unlock this functional potential of your team? I like to think of a team as a band of musicians. I’d say something like Thaikudam Bridge, where each individual who plays for that band is so unique, yet they come together to play music that could range from heavy metal to Sufi classics. I believe there is really a stronger kinship between building a corporate team and a band than that established by the fact that both groups collaborate to achieve common goals.

Leading right: As in a band, so in a team, there is the need for a leader who can help hold it all together. Think of a band where the bassist is playing in what s/he understands to be the right scale while the lead vocalist is an octave apart! In the same way, while the team works on a Digital solution for the client, they need to have one another’s perspectives or else the situation can get quite awkward. That is when the leader should step in to ensure that individual efforts are aligned to larger goals.

On a role: Every member comes with his or her own instrument, skillsets and abilities and each one has a role to play. It does not take more than one member of the band to be off-key for the whole performance to collapse into a disastrous cacophony. In the same way, if anyone fails to play their part in our teams, the whole campaign can crash. In other words, every team/band member needs to know when to step in and when to step back. This is where we need to go beyond setting KRAs and ensure role clarity. After all, adding a little method to madness does lead to magic!

In a spot: When it comes to some band performances, the battle for the spotlight often becomes very apparent. The need to be recognized is a universal one and tends to serve as a very strong motivator. In a band, it is most common to find the drummer or the base guitarist hidden somewhere at the back or shunted towards the side wings while the singers and the lead guitarist take (and often refuse to let go of!) centre-stage. Similarly, in a work-team, there are those who often get sidelined while some have a hard time sharing the limelight.

Going with the flow: Every musician who plays music for a living would love to be a great performer. While there are those who are exceptionally methodical and perform with calculated precision, some of the best performers in my view would be the blues and jazz musicians who can just pick up their instrument and jam with any team. Similarly, in corporate teams, be it great copy, or some fantastic art or even while writing a great presentation, being able to connect with the work you do, surely takes it up a notch or two. 

The team that you work with is thus not very different from a band of gifted musicians. We might tend to forget that they are all ‘rockstars’ in their own right, but the perfect balance is of the right-brained divergently creative thinker and the left-brained analysers. That’s when you, as a team, hit the right notes and together achieve more. Much more.


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