Posted by Robert Half on 11 May 2015
Imagine you're stuck on 'The Island with Bear Grylls' with a dozen other people. With your lives at stake, who would you want to be there? You've got little more than the clothes on your back and some very basic tools, so it will be your collective skills, ideas and teamwork that will get you through.
Forming a cohesive unit fairly quickly is essential, otherwise there will be very serious consequences. Anyone who has watched the Channel 4 reality TV show 'The Island with Bear Grylls' will appreciate the importance of effective teamwork and collaboration. Working together, people can achieve great things - this applies in any scenario. Drawing on a variety of skills, personalities, backgrounds and mindsets can help overcome challenges and find imaginative solutions. It all comes down to teamwork and the people that make up the team, there are certain people who add value, and some that don’t.
The people you want on your team
To survive on 'The Island with Bear Grylls' or any desert island for any period of time, you need to have a strong team, with skilled and capable people who can contribute in different ways. The same rules apply in business, where the most effective teams draw strength from a range of skills. In order to make it home alive - or exceed expectations in business - the whole team must be worth more than the sum of its parts.
If you're stuck on 'The Island with Bear Grylls' or any desert island, these are the types of people you would want to have on your side:
1. The leaders
It's vital to get everyone pulling in the same direction, and this is why you need someone with effective leadership skills. They need to be people who naturally rally a team, by virtue of their knowledge, achievements and practical abilities. To lead the team, they need to have great people skills, an ability to motivate and inspire, and the strength to remain calm under pressure.
2. The collaborators
Your team will need thinkers, who can work together to find solutions to every problem. Sometimes they will need to get creative to overcome obstacles, drawing on their own expertise and vision to invent something new. They need to work together, without ego or agenda, to deliver the best possible results for the team.
3. The do-ers
Every team, whether in business or on 'The Island with Bear Grylls' or any desert island, needs ‘do-ers’. These individuals are the 'worker bees' - the people who can carry out instructions, pour their energy into getting things done, and deliver end results. They will start early and finish late in order to make a valuable contribution, without this foundation, you can expect to get nowhere.
The people you don't want on your team
If you're on 'The Island with Bear Grylls' or any desert island and fighting for your survival, you can't afford to carry any passengers. Like in business, hiring the wrong person can have serious consequences, if people aren't prepared to pull their weight, or put the team first, you're better off without them. These are the people you don't want on your team:
1. The autocrats
On a desert island, you need to have everyone working towards the same cause. Individuals who seize power and govern without consultation are likely to alienate team members and drive divisions within the group. They will not command respect, and in this scenario, will struggle to get things done only driving the team apart.
2. The slackers
Lazy individuals - those who aren't prepared to put in a hard shift - can weigh down on the success of the team. They still consume resources, but don't make a significant enough contribution to collective output. Other team members may become frustrated as a result of their half-hearted efforts, leading to arguments. There is no room on a team for underperforming people, especially when everyone is working together to get ahead .
3. The back-stabbers
There's no room for gossips, back-stabbers or any team member with their own agenda. This applies on desert islands, just as it does in business. These individuals create suspicion and ill-feeling among the group, and ultimately undermine team morale. If people are pulling in different directions, it won't be long until rival factions emerge, just like in 'Lord of the Flies'. And that didn't end well at all.
Forming an effective team
Clearly some individuals are more valuable to teams than others. There are some people who will be an asset to any group, and others who will only hamper its efforts. But even when you're dealing with people with positive attributes - namely the leaders, collaborators and do-ers - you need to find a balance. If you have a dozen decision makers and no do-ers, you might be in trouble if you were on 'The Island with Bear Grylls'. Similarly if you have a dozen do-ers, but nobody to make the decisions and manage the workforce, you may not last long on the island, or in a business scenario for that matter...
The best teams consist of different types of individual, who fit naturally into certain roles and work together as a team to achieve great results. They use their combined expertise to tackle problems and find solutions. On a desert island or in a team, you need a leader to bring everyone together, the collaborators to design the life-raft, and the do-ers to build it. Then everyone can set sail for home.