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How to build your PR dream team

Success is defined through a team, even more so in the post Covid age. What makes a PR dream team, what qualities matter, is mind set more important than skill set? 

Another interesting change being observed is that the online nature of work is unlocking talent in smaller cities such as Bhopal and Jhansi. Professionals who may not have been able to move to a bigger city for better work are now able to handle more substantive briefs form where they are.

Communicators speak to PRmoment about how they put together their best teams.

Mindset and Skill set 

Shivaram focuses on simple workflows to build smooth functioning teams

Shivaram Lakshminarayan, senior director, consumer and enterprise technology, Genesis BCW shares how he builds a strong team, "We begin by understanding the requirements from a client’s perspective first—what skills and profiles of people do they need, or if there are any gaps in the existing team. Once we understand that, we begin to look out for the right fit and then begin the compatibility processes. We look at both, professional skills as well as a mindset fit."

Jasrita Dhir, head - marketing & communications, Antara Senior Living (A MAX Group Company) agrees saying, "Alignment towards a common goal so that everyone moves in the direction of that goal is the starting point. Team briefings, interpersonal alignment sessions, and stand-up calls to monitor progress and debriefings all help in achievement of the common goal."

Sharing his team building approach Girish Balachandran, founder and managing partner, ON PURPOSE says, "Our recruitment exercise involves a mix of screening calls by the HR team, assignments and interviews by the business leads and a conversation around values. 

This year, we are also looking at embedding psychometric tests in the process in the knowledge that this may mean a longer recruitment cycle. We’re learning as we go."

 Abhishek Gulyani, CEO, Hill+Knowlton Strategies shared that when you have colleagues in their early twenties on your team they want to be part of an organisation where they can also take ownership of the work."

Ideas over Hierarchy

He adds,"If cross-generational audiences are part of your team, how are you creating a culture and moving beyond hierarchies and towards collaboration and accountability.  The question is how can be trigger efficiency with a collaborative environment and also support learning."

"The answer lie in the concept of 'Ideas over Hierarchy', says Gulyani. "I have also reserved an open hour every Friday where any team member can block my time to discuss any issue. Post COVID, we need to show greater empathy towards the team

Himanshu Raj, head-brand and policy communications, Mobile Premier League points towards agility, purpose-driven work and mental resilience as the foundation of a successful team.

Case Studies 

Girish Balachandran, founder, ON PURPOSE shares his experience about building a strong team and his role as a leader.

"As a founder, I’ve found myself obsessed with details. This often causes me to lose sight of the bigger picture. I’ve found relief in finding capable individuals, building a leadership team and empowering them. 

My current challenge is to ‘let go’, get out of their way and focus on re-imagining the company’s capabilities and growth roadmap to take it to the next level. As an example, we went without a digital lead for almost a year. I was in the hot seat, checking every tweet, document for spellings and grammar and having heated conversations with the team.

It’s been 5 months today, since we found a strong leader for our digital team. It’s changed the dynamic of our team interaction and allowed us all to step back and fit into more defined roles, without me having to micro-manage (although, I often try!)."

Shivaram Lakshminarayan, senior director, consumer and enterprise technology, Genesis BCW

"The last 18 months have been really testing for the industry, for our clients and their stakeholders, and, of course, for our teams. Like many others, even my team had to put a pause on all that was planned and collaborate with the clients to do what was needed more immediately. 

This created enormous pressure, especially as many team members were also battling professional and personal challenges. In fact, ‘building a team’ was an ongoing exercise because we had to keep bringing in team members from different teams to fill gaps if people were unwell or tending to unwell people at home. 

We created a simple work flow to manage client priorities, plan back-ups for unavailable team members, create national teams and sensitising clients about on-ground scenarios. On the other hand we also had virtual meetups beyond work, online celebrations, recognising and rewarding teams. Keeping this balance helped us with both, delivering on client expectations as well as managing team motivation. 

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