You need people. You can have the greatest mission, the most money (wouldn’t THAT be a good problem to have?), and the coolest locations in the world and STILL not get your video very far without people on your team (or at least in your corner). From idea to production to audience, people are the priority in crafting and sharing your message.
You have a goal, and that goal probably involves an action taken by an audience. After all, much like when a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, if you post a video to YouTube and no one is around to watch it… did it really happen? But we’ll talk at length about the audience, the forest, maybe some trees, in future posts. Right now let’s focus on everyone ELSE involved in your video: the ones you want and the… others.
Your stakeholders are going to want to help you plan and/or be advised of your progress. Anyone who contributes to or is affected by your mission might be a stakeholder. Some examples:
- Funders: People who contribute time, effort, general resources, or money or some combination thereof.
- Advocates: Those who support and believe in your brand and organization and are emotionally invested in what you do, what you stand for, and who you are.
- Guardians: Folks who stand up for your organization or the things it does.
Whatever the contribution – be it tangible, economic, or otherwise – your success and the success of your video matters to these people. They might not receive dividends from that success, but they’re stakeholders all the same. Stakeholders may feel entitled – or be required – to get involved in your video; it could be their money, influence, or reputation on the line. Be proactive. Keep them informed of progress, even incorporate some of their ideas; it will focus their involvement where you want/need it and ensure they keep investing for a long time to come.
Your helpers come into play when it’s time to work on the video. Whether they’re internal team members or external partners, these people come in two main flavors:
- Advisors: They bring the wisdom. The way to get the most out of your advisors – be they official, hired, or informal – is to listen and listen good. You may not end up using everything they have to say, but remember you brought them on for a reason: to advise you. Your job is to align their advice with your project goals and turn it into a step-by-step to-do list for…
- Doers: They roll up their sleeves. The contributions of your doers will be much more complex and widespread but somewhat easier to utilize, primarily because they’re proactive and willing to work to your benefit. Doers like to do, so they get bored easily; stay ahead of them! Your job is to keep everyone organized, match tasks to talent, and fill in the gaps when necessary.
And some people just can’t help themselves (let alone you); you’ll meet some hinderers, too. Some are external, some internal, some intentional, and some utterly oblivious to the negative effects of their good intentions. It could be anyone from a board member to a consultant to a coworker to a stakeholder. Maybe it’s a former helper. Maybe it’s a future helper:
- Blockers: “We can’t do this!” Maybe it’s money or other resources, or a perceived misalignment of goals or priorities, but one or several people may try and stop the whole show. Listen, consider, educate, and then make a choice. If they have a point worth considering, negotiate their buy-in before making any changes. If they don’t, then you can either: give in, win them over, or go around them. Have a plan you can share with them containing clear goals and measurable success indicators (see related post).
- Censors: “We can’t say this!” Similar to blockers, but focused on your messaging. They like your video, but have concerns about what you’re saying or how it will be perceived. Your options are pretty much the same as for blockers.
- Adders: These people think they’re doers, offering suggestions and assistance that ranges from uninformed to unwanted, but can wind up building accidental roadblocks or steering things in unproductive directions. We call them adders because they certainly add to the process, but are in a very different category than helpful doers. These are the kind of hinderers you’ll have to deal with delicately and politely. Direct them closely or reassign them to projects you know for certain they’ll be more suited to. A close eye and a little herding can turn this kind of hinderer into a helper.
Just like adders being almost doers, none of these are exclusive categories. You can have a stakeholder who winds up being a hinderer who you mold into a helper before production ends. For the most part, those humans involved in your video’s production and implementation are all reflected to some extent in the above descriptions. And if you recognize who in your particular purview is who, you’ll be much better equipped to utilize, listen to, and deal with them in the best way to get things done exactly the way you need.