In May of 2004, I applied for an internship at TeamWorks Media. 14 YEARS AGO. I went from a wet-behind-the-ears, wide-eyed sponge to a full-fledged producer working on behalf of television networks, major universities and the biggest Halls of Fame in the country.  Along the way, I’ve learned a thing or two (about a thing or two).  Below are three of my essential lessons that will help you empower your team to create great work.

Tip 1: Embrace the fear

Looking back at my career, I think most of my professional growth spurts came at times where I was empowered and pushed out of my comfort zone.  They were times someone asked me “Hey, Jess, what do you think of this rough cut?” or requested “Jess, I need you to take this entire project and run with it! I trust that you got it!”

Wait! What? They think I got this?!?

Well, turns out, they knew best. And over time, I lost the exclamations and question marks. These one-time challenges became my expertise, what I’m good at and, in the end, I learned to embrace that fear as a part of the process.

I learned to embrace fear as a part of the process.

Tip 2: There’s no ‘I’ in team

As I started developing into a producer and managing teams of people, one message really clicked: You can’t do it alone.

As cliché as it is, Teamwork really does make the dream work. Delegating, trusting, building confidence and empowering are all key elements that keep a project on time, on budget and, most importantly, keeps your team excited and proud of their work. Turns out, a happy team makes for happy clients.

Tip 3: Clarify your team’s roles

Last week, Katie told you all about our handy Project Continuum that can help advise you on when it’s the right time to film content on your phone versus hiring a firm that will do it all for you. It’s a great reference to keep handy when you need help estimating everything from project budgets to delivery.

The “Production Responsibilities and Process Checklist” is another tool we use to simplify our work and ensure everyone is on the same page. Download a version to use with your team here: Production Responsibilities and Process Checklist.

During pre-production, we use the checklist in our kick-off meeting for setting and clarifying expectations.  During execution, it provides guardrails when the inevitable “things pop-up.” Finally, during post-mortems, it’s a great tool for holding team members accountable and assessing where things did and didn’t work.

So use this as a guide or feel free to create your own.  Bottom line, clarity, empowerment and delegating are some of the most important tools in my storyteller’s toolbox. A solid framework allows you to grow and advance, creating an environment where all team members feel empowered to go for it.

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