Bertrand Potier, enterprise architect, project manager and a regular blogger presents us with some comparisons with our work environment and the film industry that are not as far apart as you might think.

Bertrand’s Blog:

Great movies are the combination of several key elements: a good script, a team of talented people, some resources and a director able to successfully mix all these elements. There are usually a few things that you’ll hear about this director after the movie release:

  • He chose to work on this project
  • He had a vision about what should the movie be like
  • He had the courage to say no and make choices
  • He would not compromise on what he thought is important
  • He has brought together a great team of individuals
  • He inspired and motivated his team

One would certainly recognise here qualities we would say are essential to a good interim, delivery or project manager. Still, there’s one activity of making a movie that is a key element to these and that we rarely hear about: casting a team.

While there are often forces beyond our will driving how and with whom we’ll have to live, work and collaborate, we do have to take responsibility for making these relationships successful. While biochemicals, fate, your mother or your boss’ mind might have been at work first, it’s never too late to assess how well fitted a person is to her or his role in the relationship. Let’s look at it from the casting perspective:

  • Audition: just like job interviews, auditions are either testing or giving the opportunity to show one’s ability, but unlike interviews, auditions are usually listening more than questioning and requiring the audited to be more active;
  • Audition pieces: listing skills and experience might be interesting but demonstrating them is far more striking and useful to a proper assessment;
  • Casting panel: it usually takes more than one person and more than one perspective to make a good assessment of another person’s skills and personality;
  • Group performances: going beyond the audition, group performances are assessing the chemistry and capacity of a group to perform and deliver.

We don’t always have the chance to pick our team members, but casting or observing them from the casting perspective is essential. It’s a chance to make them actors of their own life, within the project or organisation and to get an actual and dynamic assessment of their strengths and weaknesses. Casting should provide the key information to be able to fit the right roles to the right profiles and create a team with which a good director can achieve great results.

To conclude, I’ll let the well named film director Robert Wise deliver one of his quotes: “When you cast the actors, you’ve done much of the work. Now, you may need to guide them a little, take it up or down, have them go faster or slower, but the casting process is crucial”.

The question now is: are you taking the time to cast your team or yourself into an activity, a project, a collaboration ?”

Bertrand’s Biography:

Bertrand Potier is an Associate of The Bayard Parthership and a strong advocate of cross-fertilisation: applying techniques and knowledge from different fields, to create effective and pragmatic approaches to build and deliver solutions. His specialties and interests are: interim management, delivery management, enterprise architecture and productivity & efficiency improvements. He satisfies his insatiable curiosity by cultivating his interest in communication, psychology, human biology, sciences and geopolitics.