By Alex Lancial
Over the past couple of years I’ve been a part of my fair share of teams. Usually, these teams are working toward producing visual stories and documentaries. I’ve learned a lot about teams since my first documentary, the main thing that I have learned is that passion guides teams to success.
I firmly believe that passion drives journalists. At least for me, if I don’t care about a story, it doesn’t come out the best that it can be. The same is true for teams: if nobody in the group cares about the story, it will show. Once you all find the passion for the goal, that’s when the real magic happens.
With passion, everyone is focusing on how to get the best finished product possible, not about individual goals. In fact, in my experience it’s usually individuals’ skills that propel the group toward achieving that end result.
For example, the very first documentary I worked on we all had very different skill sets, which allowed us to work on separate, smaller assignments in order to finish the documentary. One person was a reporter: very good at scheduling and interviewing, and deciding how the story would flow. Another person was a creative: always brainstorming new ideas and figuring out new angles to take with both camera work and editing. I was the techie: whenever the other two had ideas, I’d make them happen. That documentary picked up an award at a national festival and is nominated for another award.
I give this example because we all had passion to make that the best documentary we could, and our individual skill sets allowed us to do it. If you’re wondering whether I would want to work in a team where all members had similar skills, the answer is no. I think when team members have similar skills, there’s always a competitive tension that arises, and sooner or later, your team would be competing against each other rather than working together.
One last thing I’d like to bring up is that with passion and commitment, teams can create huge impact in the world. Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”