Behind the Scenes of El Pomar’s Annual Report: Investing in Teams through Project Management
El Pomar’s Communications team provides a behind-the-scenes look of its team-based approach to the creation of the Foundation’s 2019 Annual Report, Roads that Connect Us.
El Pomar Director of Communications Julia Lawton and Communications Program Directors Erin Kerr and Janni Conrad utilized collaborative strategies to involve all team members throughout the entire creative process that produced the annual report. Their efforts taught the team valuable lessons in effective project management.
When first approaching the sizeable task of El Pomar’s annual report, the Communications team strove to increase team engagement in the creation of the report. “In previous years, the Director of Communications and 2nd Year Fellows primarily managed the theme and content brainstorms, bringing in other staff and Fellows to contribute only in writing stories. This year, we wanted to ensure the whole Communications team participated in all aspects of the report’s development,” said Erin.
This approach proved advantageous, as the team utilized different brainstorming activities to help generate themes, visuals, layouts, content and highlights. Janni observed that the light-hearted activities “had a dual benefit of increasing creativity and the variety of perspectives, as well as affording an additional professional development opportunity for Fellows.” She noted that “as Program Directors, Erin and I got to lead additional sessions, and 1st Year Fellows had more touchpoints in the project management of the annual report.”
Jonathan Royal, a 1st Year Fellow on the Communications team, commented that the collaborative approach paid off, as the process was “a unique experience due to two emphasized values: creativity and teamwork. Team members were not just participants in the project as creative advisors, but as active creators, which gave [them] a deeper sense of investment and pride in the final product.”
Julia witnessed this creativity and investment in action. “Selecting a theme for the annual report exemplified the benefits of teamwork. From start to finish, it was a delight to watch the team’s ideas grow and blossom throughout the creative process,” she said.
As the rising Communications Program Directors, Sam Hinkle and Kathryn Benson took away several lessons from this process that they hope to utilize in the creative approach for the 2020 Annual Report. Sam noticed that “the leaders of the Communications team managed the annual report process in a way that invited creativity and fostered ownership from every member of the team.” He goes on to explain that, “this ownership in a single project bleeds into the work that the Communications team does daily: encouraging each team member to excel in their contributions to the program as a whole. The Communications team managed a project that was focused on the past in a way that invested in our team’s future.”
The focus on team building alongside content creation enhanced the success of this project. The team is grateful that this process laid a foundation for supportive teamwork and a stronger commitment to the work and overarching mission of the Communication’s department to “preserve, protect and promote El Pomar Foundation, its mission, staff and brand.”
This is just one example of how to include staff in team building activities during the management of a project. The articles below further expand upon this idea:
- Erin recommends this as great resource for creative facilitation and content creation: Gamestorming
- Sam recommends the “Inspiring a Shared Vision” section of the Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership Model as a good reference when supporting teams. Here is a brief summary
- Team Building in Project Management
- The Role of Leadership and Team Building in Project Management
- Project Management Team Building
- Top 7 Project Management Habits that Will Make Team Building Effective
El Pomar’s 2019 Annual Report, Roads that Connect Us, can be found below: