The Only Team You’ll Ever Really Need

“If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire… the A-Team.” – Opening monologue, The A-Team

 Everyone remembers the last magnificently awesome team they were in. When you’re part of a team that delivers consistently and with breath-taking precision, you feel empowered, motivated – where every team lunch outing feels like everyone’s walking in unison, in slow-mo; and there’s an explosion in the background that’s being calmly ignored; and there are doves flying above in one beautifully choreographed direction. It’s just ridiculously glorious to be in an A-Team.

From a leadership position, to even have one team labelled ‘A’, is a rarity that’s akin to having Liam Neeson’s ‘Hannibal’-Smith-2010-A-Team at your beck and call. When there’s a crisis or ridiculously impossible task to be handled, you activate these specialists and BOOM – IT’S DONE. It’s the stuff corporate management fantasies are made of.

When you don’t have an A-Team or worse, never been part of one, organisational life sucks exponentially. A-Team-less leaders have no go-to fixer squad, which means you’ll have to do impossible missions yourself, with a lacklustre F-Team riding your coat-tails, which ultimately leads to multiple-mission failures. Repeat this long enough and it’s the end of your team, organisation and ultimately, self-worth. It’s also painfully obvious when you’re part of a team that sucks. Headless-chicken-panic moments become a daily occurrence and every mission is met with tearful moaning devoid of any enthusiasm.

So what makes a team good enough to earn the ‘A’ badge? Based on the actual A-Team composition, you’d probably be lulled into the impression that they’re just a rag-tag, motley crew of misfits that work well together. But you’d be so very wrong to underestimate these ‘underdogs’. To quote B.A. Baracus, “I pity the fool”:

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Bosco Albert ‘B.A.’ Baracus

On the surface: The Muscle

A brute of a man whose main purpose is to be a battering ram. An enforcer of will, via rage and knuckles.

What he actually is: The Mechanist / Master of Mayhem

That’s right, B.A. is an incredible engineer. He can literally build anything – especially machines that can cause chaos and mayhem. From a dual-mounted, machinegun turrets on a van to a magnetised hijacking tool, B.A. brings the heat physically but more importantly – mechanically.

The team member you need: The Ballsy IT/Tech specialist

In this day and age, having the right IT or tech specialist could mean absolute success or abject organisational failure – if you don’t have the right talent and gumption for it. Make no mistake, IT and tech skills go beyond just knowing about computers – it’s about systemic and architectural intelligence and application – and most importantly, the courage to implement it.

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H.M. ‘Howling Mad’ Murdock

On the surface: The Comic Relief

While it’s politically incorrect to laugh at a mentally unstable pilot (which in itself, is quite mentally destabilizing), Murdock brings the laughs, intended or otherwise.

What he actually is: Extraordinary pilot / Team Motivator

No matter how crazy the airborne mission is, Murdock will fly anything – plane, chopper, parasail – into the thick of the action, complete with insane punchlines to get the team in and out. All the while bringing good cheer and general insanity into the mix – which is why he’s so important. No matter how bad things look, Murdock brings a smile to everyone’s face. And that, takes real skill.

The team member you need: The Ever-Optimistic Project Manager

He’s the guy with not only a specific skillset that brings unique value to the team, but he’s ALWAYS positive. The combination of the two elements makes for team member who will rally for mission success – and that’s insanely good for everyone.

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Templeton ‘Face’ Peck

On the surface: The Token Handsome Guy

Impeccably dressed, witty to a fault and always ready to make a deal, Face is the eye-candy of the team who knows it and works it to his advantage.

What he actually is: Supremely Resourceful Con Artist

If you need something for the mission – a boat, tank, a porta-loo – Face can get it faster, in higher quantities, better than anyone – and he can probably get it for free. Face is the classical, roguishly handsome con-artist who gets what the teams needs at any cost – as long as it doesn’t involve money.

The team member you need: The Super Negotiator / Procurement Specialist

A team with a super negotiator will clearly have an enormous advantage – mainly because skilled orators can seal deals that are seemingly win-win for all parties. Combine this skill with an ultra-techie and you have an unstoppable logistics division.

Liam Neeson as Col Hannibal Smith The A-Team movie image

John ‘Hannibal’ Smith

On the surface: The Leader

The man with the plan, Hannibal is a gifted natural leader who is an inspiration to his team. He’s so respected as the alpha of the pack, that the team does not make a move until he tells them to.

What he actually is: The Field Commander / Master of Disguises

The secret to Hannibal’s success is that rare combination of strategist and tactician. He plans many steps ahead, often incorporating multiple plan-Bs and makes pragmatic on-ground decisions while the mission is in play. Add to that the ability to take on multiple personalities, and you have a very dangerous team lead.

The team member you need: A Leader with Strategic Vision and Tactical Mind-set

The leadership role is the pillar and keeps great teams afloat. There are many ways to be a great leader and many styles too, but if it were to replicate Hannibal’s success, then it’s all about demonstrating badassery in everything you do. From leading by example (he’s a field commander who’s on the ground leading the fray), to sharing a strategic vision (immediately gets the buy-in for every brilliant plan) and even demonstrating unique skillsets (Hannibal can disguise himself as your grandmother and you wouldn’t even know it) A-Team leadership MUST be in the hands of someone who can actually walk the talk and make the best out of a motley crew of misfits.

So where’s your A-Team?

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Imran Johri

Imran is a media and communications geek with a media career spanning 18 years of collective experience in television, publications, communications as well as in marketing and digital strategy development. He's also an avid social media observer and indulges in feature writing projects as well as scriptwriting for stage and TV when he has the time. But he doesn't. He's got two kids.

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