Right people, right results: Why project team talent, traits & trust matter

The event you run is only as good as the people behind it.

That may sound simplistic, but building a team with the right blend of skills and characteristics needed to ensure success is often overlooked in the clamour to ‘just get the job done’

Remember, though, that your team effectively becomes the product you’re selling. Their expertise ensures the best outcomes, whether the task at hand is a pure dry-hire enquiry or a multi-track global project.

Of course, team selection doesn’t happen by chance. There’s a clear process to choosing the right people for the job.

Kate Connell Event Concept
Kate Connell, Project Director, Event Concept

Originally published in M&IT. Read the original article here.

Quality in, quality out

This process begins as far back as ensuring we are recruiting the right talent during our interview process.

Anyone can show off skills on their CV; however, for us, what must shine through is an intangible quality that means they are right for our organisation and makes them an ideal teammate and partner for our clients.

In our case, this involves mirroring our core values, especially:

  • Creative ingenuity – Finding unexpected, groundbreaking, and innovative ways to solve client problems – even ones the client might not yet have identified.
  • Talk– Open communication with our clients, which is key to building a trusting and effective relationship. And this doesn’t mean being a person who always says ‘yes’.
  • What’s next – As the saying doesn’t go, curiosity didn’t kill the cat. It’s integral to our approach that any dedicated team member should leave no stone unturned in the quest for new, cutting-edge solutions.

Core values of course differ, but I’d argue the ones above are worth prioritising, whether you are an events business recruiting or a brand looking to select the right partner. The early stages of assembling a team are unavoidably demanding – but it’s worth taking the time to ensure you get the balance right.

How to choose your project team

Team selection is all about bringing together the people who have the right skills to deliver a brilliant event, married with the ability to work together and pull in the same direction.

Broadly speaking there are four pillars on which to build the foundations of memorable event delivery. It’s a ‘skills first, people second’ approach:

  • Respond to in-house skills and needs – Striking a balance between pairing up like-minded people from client and agency sides of the relationship, who can challenge each other from both ends of the telescope, while also adding supplementary skills to fill resourcing and experience gaps for the in-house team.
  • Recognise background and aptitude – Which roles are required in the team to successfully develop and deliver the event? How do those roles dovetail with each other to ensure there’s no overlap and to maximise efficiency?
  • Observe personality and behaviours – A well-performing team should have a balance of personality types, behavioural traits, and communication styles. If you have a strong client lead and a flamboyant creative, for instance, the last thing you need is a whirling dervish of a producer; a level-headed driver would be a better choice in that situation.
  • Double down on diversity – A wider variety of viewpoints means all angles are covered, and a more varied and creative response is plugged into getting the right end result. Mix all the minds you can to allow you to approach the project from all sides.

No easy task, and for sure there will be times when new competencies are needed, or personalities don’t fit. You can usually tell early in the process whether a team member is right or not. If they aren’t, it could be time to switch in someone else to strengthen team harmony and momentum.

Mutual benefits to harmonious team

Getting the balance of personnel right creates a powerful mix of skills, experience, communication, and knowhow, bringing multiple positive outcomes.

These include clear roles and reporting lines; a team that knows exactly who does what and communicates with clarity and purpose – saving time and confusion.

It also enables synchronisation, with your people working smoothly as individuals and as parts of a whole. This builds in efficiency, cuts time spent on the project, and delivers savings.

What’s more, a diverse, balanced team creates space for everyone to be heard and bring their expertise, ideas, and opinions to the table. Ultimately, this leads to a more considered, multi-faceted product.

And this isn’t just limited to inter-agency teams – this includes our approach to partnering with client teams, too. If we can build a trusting partnership through carefully crafted team dynamics, it is more likely we will gain in-depth insight not just from the implementation team, but also from senior stakeholders on a more strategic level.

Getting that direct insight into their hopes, fears and aspirations increases our chances of delivering on KPIs as well as leaving both sides better placed for success on future events.

In our opinion, the power of aligning – even combining – external and internal event teams can’t be overstated. They can never be too closely integrated. Avoid silos as much as you can and get that all-important balance right – via a project team of complementary personalities and skills that will work as one to deliver events that leave everyone wanting more.

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