Have you ever been faced with a task that you just couldn’t manage on your own? Perhaps it was simply because of the volume of work involved. Or maybe you were faced with an extremely tight deadline. Or, the task may have called for some skills you haven’t yet acquired. Whatever the reason, you realized you needed help to get it done. You needed a team.
A couple of weeks ago I had a school assignment that emphasized for me yet again the power and importance of teamwork.
I am working on a certificate in Digital Strategy and Communications Management at the University of Toronto. In my current course, we were required to work in groups of four to six people to conceive, write, shoot, edit and produce a short video. We were given just 90 minutes in class to do the shooting, editing and production part of the assignment. Talk about pressure!
As visual storytelling is a key tactic for building and engaging online communities, the assignment was intended to expand our skills in video creation. But it also turned out to be an excellent reminder of the benefits of working together as a team.
Virtually no one in my group of seven, myself included, had experience in end-to-end video production. Still, we found that each of us had unique gifts, skills and expertise to bring to the assignment. It was wonderful to brainstorm, building on each other’s suggestions until we arrived at a concept and plan we all liked. We were willing to learn from each other.
However, we quickly realized that individually we did not have the capacity to do all of the work required. The task was too large and the timeline too tight to manage on our own. There was only one approach that would get us across the finish line: teamwork!
Our concept was to create a video that provided some Do’s and Don’ts related to taking selfies. We wanted it to be informative and funny. It’s rough, but have a look:
There are (at least) two important things to remember about teamwork. First, the end product might not be exactly what you envisioned. Looking at our video, there are definitely things each group member would go back and change. But keep in mind that the process of getting to the finish line is also important. Besides, without teamwork, you might not have a product at all!
Second, teamwork can be messy. Team members all bring different approaches to an assignment. Disagreements will sometimes occur. Feathers may ruffle. Staying on track requires mutual respect and a good dose of humility.
Now that our video assignment is behind us, we’ve all breathed a sigh of relief. But hopefully the lessons we’ve learned will stay with us for a long time!