Team Manager Tips: Life Lessons 101

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Team Manager Tips: Life Lessons 101

October 27, 2015

Written by Melissa Dick, Team Manager

“Life-changing” is an adjective that gets tossed around a lot in regards to Destination Imagination, and for good reason. How to build the tallest tower out of straws, toothpicks and mailing labels isn’t just a lesson in connectors, extenders or even engineering. It’s much more than that. Check out a few lessons I share with my team at the beginning of each season:

  1. No negative words. 
    Always try to find a way to put a positive spin on something, even if you don’t agree. The way you say something (even when you’re disagreeing) is important.
  2. A strong base is important.
    In order to build the tallest tower, you need a strong foundation—one that won’t fall apart under pressure. Having friends and family that believe in and support you will keep you firmly planted when things get off-balance.
  3. Assign jobs and utilize others’ talents.
    Everyone has a talent. You can’t do everything yourself. Look around and notice how great someone is at something. Compliment them. Know when to utilize other people’s strengths to the advantage of the team and the result will be stronger for it.
  4. Build upon everyone’s ideas, or “Yes, and…”
    Improv uses the idea of “Yes, and…” to keep a story moving forward. Don’t change the scene when you step into it; accept it and build upon it, and you can go farther. Listen to others around you. You never know where great ideas will come from, and you can build a stronger plan when you work together.
  5. Throw away your first idea… sometimes.
    Usually, the first thing you think of may be the first thing that everyone thinks of. Don’t be afraid to push aside the first idea—you have plenty more where that came from, and chances are the next ones might be more creative, unique and just better all around.
  6. Time check.
    Know how much time you have and don’t waste it on things that don’t matter. Spend time on the things that count. Time always flies faster than you realize.
  7. Team leaders.
    Everyone needs the chance to be a leader, and everyone needs to know how to be a team player. Don’t be afraid to step up when it is your turn. But remember to listen, support and contribute in other ways when it isn’t.
  8. Re-read the Challenge.
    Read the Challenge… and then read it again. You’ll save time, energy and frustration if you pay attention to what’s ahead. And if you have a question, ask for a Team Clarification. Team Clarifications will not be shared with any other teams.
  9. Add humor.
    Put a smile on your face and you’ll light up the room the minute you walk through the door. People will be glad to see you. Make a joke or make them laugh and they’ll remember you.
  10. Beginning-Middle-End.
    Plan ahead. Picture what’s going to happen and chances are it will. Know that when you make a choice (plot twist!) the ending will likely change. Choose what makes your story end the way you want.
  11. How can we make this more creative?
    When you make something more creative, you stand out in a crowd. You take the road less traveled. You learn more. And you definitely have more fun.
  12. Bellybuttons!
    Actors know to keep their bellybuttons to the audience, so they can be easily heard and understood. Know who and where your audience is all the time. Be respectful. Don’t turn your back on others.
  13. If it doesn’t say you can’t…
    If it isn’t spelled out that you “can’t,” then you can. You can be or do just about anything. Just figure it out—a different way of looking at things or a new way getting from A to B to Z.

Looking for more tips to help you best manage your team this season? Click here to check out our Team Manager Tips blog series.  

About the Author: Melissa Dick is in her sixth year of being a Team Manager and gets teary-eyed every year during the Welcome Ceremony at Global Finals. In addition to being the Affiliate Growth Director for Tennessee Destination Imagination, she’s a writer, artist, mom of two boys, creativity nut and avid “Doctor Who” fan.


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