As many of you know, I sing and play guitar as a hobby. Recently, however, my musical life has intensified in a wonderful way. In addition to my Rush tribute band (The Spirit of Rush https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Spirit-Of-Rush/270018196489089), about a month and a half ago I started guest-singing for another group called Overtime Crew (on the web at www.overtimecrew.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Overtime-Crew/162659583805574), a classic and contemporary rock band. Initially the band leader asked me to sing on two songs, but as we worked together I began to gel with the group. Our personalities fit well and we enjoyed playing together. Before I knew it I had multiple songs on which to sing lead or backup, and I performed twice with the band in January.
We began to discuss continuing the collaboration. Around the same time I went to Tennessee to speak at a large marketing conference with two other facilitators. When I introduced myself to the audience, I told them about my professional background, then I mentioned that I played in two hard rock bands. That got their attention! One audience member even asked me to sing. I would have had I not been under the weather with a sore throat.
After the conference, people approached me to ask about the bands. That’s when I found myself struggling a little. Talking about The Spirit of Rush was easy. I was a full-fledged member of that group. But when I mentioned Overtime Crew my role was not as clear. I was a guest musician for them, yet we planned on doing more together. I also knew that colleagues and friends would continue to ask me about these music projects.
What was I in that band? What was my role? I was happy to be a part of it, so any answer would have brought me joy, but I knew after awhile I would need clarity. I decided to wait and see, but I also planned to ask the band leader how he would like me to refer to myself going forward. I wanted us to be aligned, even on a small detail like that.
Well, sometimes these questions solve themselves. Last weekend, the band leader wrote to me and asked me to become an official member of Overtime Crew. I immediately replied “Yes!” I am now happily part of the team, and my first performance as an Overtime Crew vocalist and guitarist will be March 14th, 2015 (details below).
Why do I share this story with you? My case worked out very easily and naturally, but every day in my work with global virtual teams, coaching clients, and families I hear about the difficulties that arise from lack of role clarity. Even experienced team members don’t always go the extra mile (or kilometer) to ask the right questions, or assign roles in a clear and standardized manner.
Here are some questions that have helped my clients be more proactive about role clarity:
- How do you define your role in this project? What are the responsibilities of this role?
- What is your expectation of me in this role?
- What terms, acronyms, and procedures need to be defined/clarified in this role? How will we make those definitions available to the whole team?
- How might cultural differences influence how we will approach this role? How can we avoid the challenges from those differences and leverage the value?
- How should we communicate while in these roles? How often? By what methods?
- What approach should we take if my role changes during the project?
- How much flexibility do I have to do things outside of my defined role?
- What else can help us define our roles and responsibilities more clearly?
Role clarity matters in every area of life. Even if you have no defined role, communicating that is just as important as communicating a more structured function! Where can you provide more clarity to your colleagues, clients, or family? We’d love to hear from you.
Come see Overtime Crew on March 14, 2015 at Montana’s Bar and Grill in Alpharetta! Like our Facebook page to stay up to date on our shows. Check us out on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Overtime-Crew/162659583805574
Photo courtesy of Heaven’s Paintbrush Photography