By Tracey Mendrek, Senior Consultant

When approaching a new client engagement it is important to look at all the players around the table and determine what the winning strategy will be.  You talk and you think and you create messages around the crisis, but do you ever look at who your team members are?  One could argue that identifying the team and the roles they will play is as important as the message.  At a minimum, one is not as effective without the other.

So what makes a good team? 

The client – Well of course, you wouldn’t have the engagement without them – and quite frankly they can play whatever role they want.

The 20,000 foot person – This is the person who always thinks big picture, who drives you crazy with ideas and usually is right on the mark, after you get used to the idea.

The detail person – Yes, you know who you are, always writing copious notes, creating the to-do-list and driving everyone crazy with deadlines.

The deep thinker – This is the person you turn to when your email is backed up and you haven’t even read the latest messaging document.  They will have read it and committed it to memory and they can save your butt during the next meeting.

The doer –They say they will do it and almost before you get back to your desk they are reporting in that they have completed the task.  Drives you crazy, right?

The writer – No team would be successful or complete without that one person who can write it the first time and nail it.  They are in high demand.

The editor –The one person who finds the typo or comma placement mistake, even after four people have read the document.   

The low person on the totem pole – It sucks to be them.  We’ve all been them and are perfectly happy to never be them again.  But who else would run for coffee or just runs – for whatever – period?

The comedian – Not every team has one, but every team should.  They are worth their laughs in gold, because comic relief may be the only relief for hours at a time.

So for a different approach to your next engagement, identify the role of each team member.  Find the thinker, the editor or the comedian and make sure you use them to the best of their ability and yours.  It makes the engagement successful and a lot more fun.