Why discuss strategies to manage groups and teams?
Visa was eating Mastercard for lunch. For ten years, from 1987 to 1997, Mastercard followed in the shadow of their competitor, trying five different ad campaigns and getting nowhere. What was the ad that would help them recapture the spotlight? The Mastercard executives turned to McCann Erikson, and the company assigned a creative team of three the job of changing the image of Mastercard for the rest of the world.
The team—Joyce King Thomas, Jeroen Bours and Johnathan Cranin—debated freely and intensely. They’d worked together for two years and knew each other well enough to challenge ideas during their brainstorming sessions.
Johnathan Cranin was in the shower when the idea, borne of many brainstorming hours with his team, came to him. “Some things money can’t buy,” he thought. He took it back to the team and they got to work. They started with an ordinary list of things that you purchase during a baseball game. And then added that thing that you couldn’t.
The ad didn’t test as well as some others in focus groups, but the group stood by their instinct and knew that their “some things money can’t buy” ad would work well in the long run. Mastercard took a chance with it. And they’ve been adding US cards at almost twice Visa’s rate ever since.
It’s not likely that any of the three members of this creative team would have come up with this campaign on their own, and if one of them had come close, it still probably would not have matched the level to which this campaign rose. Thomas, Bours and Cranin are a classic example of a team—bringing synergy and energy to a final product.
Teams bring organizations success, and smart organizations understand how teams operate and how to lead them to success.
For basic kinds of work, there are individuals. For everything else . . . there’s a team. Found in smart organizations everywhere.