“One ring to rule them all, One ring to find them, One ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.”
–Verse of the Ring, quoted by Gandalf
Have you ever felt like you were part of something much bigger than yourself? Maybe you heavily campaigned for a particular candidate in the 2008 Presidential Election; maybe it was being a part your high school basketball team. Maybe you were are part of an award-winning cause marketing team or you donate yogurt lids to Save Lids to Save Lives. Whatever it may be, I’ll bet that one reason it felt so big and important was because you weren’t doing it alone.
For me, it was the time I worked with a small boutique PR firm in Memphis called Obsidian Public Relations. It wasn’t that we solved the world’s problems or righted every wrong in Memphis, but gosh-darn it, we were a team and I liked that. There were only 7 of us and at least once a week we would gather around the large table in the center of the office and brainstorm ideas for each other’s campaigns. You can sometimes accomplish great things if you just ask for a little help (creative segue).
Frodo couldn’t destroy the ring of power alone (I know, I’m a nerd because I love me some Tolkien and I don’t care what you think). Hell, he couldn’t destroy it with his three best Hobbit pals. J. R. R. knew that in order for Frodo Baggins’ journey to be a success, he needed the help of lots of people with lots of different skill sets.
Every team needs diversity. The fellowship of the ring consisted of Hobbits (Frodo, Sam, Pippen and Merry), Gimli the dwarf, Legolas the Elf, Gandalf the wizard and a few men (Boromir and Aragorn). And yes I did that from memory.
When you are building your team it is very important that they work well together and that each character is playing the right role. It doesn’t matter if you are hiring a new employee to join your work team or assembling a team for a project, make sure the following three criteria are met:
1. Right Person – This is the first task and a very important one. Make sure each person on the team is the right type of person for that specific team. For example, if I were putting together a team that would be leading outside promotions for an event, I wouldn’t put introverted Annie on the team, however capable a worker Annie might be.
2. Right Role – After selecting the people that work best for your campaign or project, make sure they are playing the correct roles within the team setting. Don’t give the heavy shields to the Hobbits or expect the Dwarves to fire bows and arrows on horseback (that’s an Elf’s job, if you didn’t know).
3. Right Fit – This might be the most important of all. You can have the right person doing the right task but if they don’t work within the team, they don’t work. Boromir was a soldier by nature. He was brave and a great warrior, but he could not be a part of the team protecting the ring because of his desire for power. Don’t let personal attributes overshadow your Boromir’s faults.
The Lord of the Rings is one of my favorite movie trilogies of all time. Each time I watch the movies or read through the books I envy Frodo and his fellowship. I think to myself, “Why can’t we build teams like that?” The truth is that we can. It might take some searching and some patience, but your perfect fellowship is out there and even if you don’t have the fate of Middle Earth resting on your shoulders, I’ll bet you can accomplish great things too.