Where to Find Team Members
On smaller projects, team members are probably all around you. Friends, family, and neighbors may be available to pack boxes when you move. Club members are usually willing to help plan the year-end holiday party or summer blowout. Your sales staff is ready, somewhat willing, and hopefully able to help you complete your store inventory. And with competent direction, your department is going to help you bring your corporate project to fruition.
You may have to move people in and out of a couple of possible jobs until you find the best fit for their talents. If you have three people who are all good at one task and nobody to fill another, you may have to reevaluate the assignments. Depending on the scope, complexity, or detail of one task, perhaps two people could share one responsibility.
When putting together the new company softball team, or the neighborhood little league team, you might have three people who want to play first base and no one who wants to play third. While all of them can handle a ground ball or catch a popup without too much trouble, you'll need to determine which, if any, can actually throw the ball accurately.
Strong throwing is necessary for a third baseman, so you may need to assess that skill in these three infielders. If none of them can throw accurately, you'll need to find someone else.
Try to determine what other skills a person can handle. Someone with multiple skills may be very valuable to your team. When the pianist took ill and couldn't make it to the cocktail reception one project manager had planned, his backup turned out to be the senior vice president in charge of sales. The project manager had no idea the executive loved to play the piano and was, in fact, more than happy to take over the role.
You'll find plenty of surprises in your initial talent pool. Aside from the qualities and attributes you know about, make an effort to ascertain secondary skills so that you have versatile team members. This will come in handy when you suddenly realize that you need more people on one end of the project, or you need to replace another team member.
If you need a specialized resource, such as a consultant or contractor, you'll probably need to look outside of your immediate circle of friends, family, or coworkers. You, and others on the team, may have to bend a little to accommodate a specialist who may be tightly booked, or has a personality that doesn't lend itself to winning friends and influencing people. One organization often referred people to an attorney who specialized in a very specific aspect of law by saying, “You don't need to like him, but he'll do a good job for you.”
The team-project manager relationship is a give-and-take situation in which both sides need to treat each other as they would like to be treated. The same holds true for the relationships among team members. A team that respects its members will function much more efficiently.
Be creative — think about how you would either promote yourself or find opportunities to be a team member, and do your searching with that in mind. Potential participants for your project can come from a variety of sources, including the following:
Other departments in the company, or other groups or committees in an association or club
Networking or word of mouth (often the best and most widely used source for smaller projects)
Newspaper, newsletter, or trade journal articles and advertisements Personnel agencies
When borrowing people from other committees or departments, or if neighbors help on an otherwise family-based project, keep in mind that these people may have other projects they are working on. Make sure they can afford the time to help you. Despite the best intentions, if he or she is overloaded, the quality of work (and therefore your project) may suffer.
Finding team members through networking is always desirable. You'll avoid advertising and agencies, which will save time and money, and you'll get a recommendation that (hopefully) comes from someone you trust. Sometimes, the best way to find additional team members is to ask those who are already on board. If they've worked on similar projects, they may know of other good resources for your project. Keep in mind, however, that even if another team member recommends someone, you should still check that person's qualifications. Sometimes friends and family members have exaggerated opinions of people they recommend.
Someone you know and trust may be ready and willing to become a member of your project team, but that's no indication of whether he or she is able to do the job. Be fair to yourself (and to others) and get qualified people for the job.
When finding team members through outside sources, such as advertisements or an agency, you may have to pay top dollar. Make sure you know exactly when to run the ad or call the agency, and when you need to have this person start. Don't hire someone at a high rate for two weeks when they only have three solid days of work to do. You don't want to pay people to sit around, especially someone getting high hourly or daily rates.