“In 1972 a crack commando unit was sent to prison for a crime they didn’t commit, they promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade and today still wanted by the government they survive as soldiers of fortune… if you have a problem and no one else can help and you can find them, maybe you can hire The A Team…”
Readers of a certain age may still recall with a smile the legendary 1980s TV show who, using their unique individual skills become an unbeatable team rising to the challenge and fighting to win.
The real A Team
Hannibal Smith: An experienced planner, never panicked, always in control. A lateral thinker, decisively prepared to take risks when absolutely required. A motivator of men with a strong moral compass. The glue that holds them together.
Templeton Peck ‘Face’: A smooth, confident, outgoing professional salesman, charming, quick witted. He engenders trust and reasoning. Able to persuade anyone to do almost anything, a true business generator. Not strong on fine detail and planning but who needs that when you are selling the dream? ‘
Howling Mad’ Murdock: The team player with a difference! His unusual perspectives on life delivered out of the box thinking ideas. A concept man to pull something out of the bag when it was needed by everyone the most. A spotter of opportunities and blind appetite to risk.
And finally, Mr T – ‘BA’ Baracus, the person to run through a brick wall, trustworthy, reliable and nothing would stop him achieving a task set to him through consistent hard work, brute strength and sheer determination. The one to watch your back and go the extra mile.
Individually they all had different strengths and weaknesses, by working together playing to each other’s skill sets and personalities they succeeded against overwhelming odds when others failed.
Now yes of course this is a 1980s TV show, and this has absolutely no main relevance to our industry… or does it?
The concept was formulated around the character defaults demonstrated in winning teams. A condensed Belbin on steroids.
Set aside the individual names and genders of the A team and focus the characteristics and personalities extrapolated through your own team and things can appear quite different….
The agency A Team
‘Faces’ in our industry will often be great negotiators or valuers. A natural reaction can be to fill your office with ‘Faces’ for the phenomenal business they win, but beware, great salesman are often poor administrators who cut corners and move onto the next deal despite client promises.
Without ‘Mr Ts’ grinding through the mountain of general enquires, daily routines and delivering on ‘Faces’ promises made, company reputations can soon be lost.
Do you really have the right people doing the right jobs and playing to their individual strengths, or is it easier to leave things as they are?
All ‘BAs’ in the team ensure your applicants are all matched, your vendors are updated, but without ‘Faces’ flair you don’t win front end business, so you never get the chance to sell or let the properties you haven’t won in the first place.
‘Mad Dogs’ give you the opportunistic wins unseen by others – the extra 10 per cent or the one-off big deal that turns it around. Too many, and they are oblivious to the core functions of the office – which can then fall apart.
No ‘Hannibal’ and there is no glue to bind the team, no experience to guide them. A leader or good number two, he knows how to use the tools in the box to the greatest effect. More than one Hannibal causes infighting and rivalry which can undermine and split the office.
Agencies review systems and procedures to generate income regularly, yet many companies spend only limited time improving or evolving to ensure they have sufficient skill sets within the team to deliver, yet arguably this is the most critical step.
Too much emphasis in one area creates shortfalls and imbalances in another yet small positive changes and improvements can have hugely beneficial results.
A team should be supported, progressed and horizons opened with exciting opportunities, but do this in a way which compliments and increases the effectiveness of both the individuals and the team.
As we return to the office, perhaps it is time for you to honestly ask yourself the following questions:
Do you really have the right balance of skill sets in your team or do you have deficiencies? D
o you really have the right people doing the right jobs and playing to their individual strengths or is it easier to leave things as they are?
And finally ask yourself this…
If a local vendor or a landlord has a problem and no-one else can help, do they find you and do they hire your ‘A Team’?