Strategy

3rd March 2016

And the Oscar goes to….

Love them or hate them the Oscar ceremony is an annual event that fetes the famous and the not yet so famous in the world of film. As award ceremonies go it is the daddy of them all, but if you look beyond the glitz and the glamour the hype and the egos the thing that it celebrates is a remarkable phenomenon. In business, teamwork and the multiplying power of teamwork is often played down or totally missed. Some companies have found out how to harness the power of a team and do so remarkably well, while others make a lamentable job of doing so.

It is also true to say that there will be some businesses for whom the ability to work together so that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts is either not appropriate or not worth the effort.But think of the Oscars, and think for a moment, about film making. A team will come together in order to turn a story into two and a half hours of cinematographic experience that may well be excellent enough to win an Oscar.

They manage to do this on a strict budget and to tight timescales, bringing together a team of individuals and sub contracted companies to work together, in a common way towards a common goal. The outcome depends as much upon the individual skills and talents of the many individuals as it does upon their ability to work together. When it is done well the whole is definitely greater than the sum of its parts and the results may well be enough to win an award and even to change lives and to form a thread in the fabric of the planet’s cultural and artistic history.

There is a lot to play for.One of the starting points is to recruit the very best individuals; actors, directors, makeup artists, lighting folk, cinematographers wardrobe artists; the list goes on, and then helping them to work together in an extremely cohesive fashion, often across different time zones and continents to produce something worthwhile.

Business has a lot to learn from the world of the performing arts.In business we often do the exact opposite by recruiting barely warm bodies, rather than the very cream of the crop, having loose budgets, vague goals and timescales, a hazy vision and then wonder why we get lukewarm results.

I would argue that the very best organisations have learned how to leverage the best and most amazing talent available towards a clear and compelling vision, while demanding the highest individual performance in a collaborative framework of team work to produce something that is capable of creating a difference in the world. It is like the difference between ‘Star Wars’ and a home video taken on a smartphone.