You'd be hard pressed to separate yourself from small groups. For as long as I can remember I've been interested in how they work, both as a participant and being responsible for some. As a teenager I was in all kinds of music groups and bands, school groups/teams, and had a small group of very close friends. College had me spending a great deal of time as a touring musician here in the states as well as around the world. Professionally I'm constantly in and out of small groups. I'll be on a project with different groups anywhere from a few hours to on and off for weeks or months at a time. By far the most important small group I'm part of is my immediate family (wife and two boys).
This past week I wrapped up reading The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. It'd been on my reading list for years so don't jump me for being late to the game on this one.
Couldn't be more a fan of this book and there's quite a bit to unpack. Absolutely dug the author's ideas on the habits and routines of small groups and organizations, specifically on how they could relate to independent contractors working in film production environments.
I'm absolutely interested in how freelancing impacts the skills necessary to run an organization. Whether we like it or not, our experiences with prior teams impact the groups we'll work with down the road. We're no question shaped by the people we work with – both for the better and worse.
“The best [organizations] understood the importance of routines. The worst [organizations] were headed by people who never thought about it, and then wondered why no one followed their orders.” - Paul O'Neill
As an independent contractor hopping from job to job, there aren't always set routines in each new group. Most of the jobs are too short for major group routines to develop specific to that production. Where this idea does work though is in how you take what you've learned from past projects and apply them to others down the road. It's those routines you pick up with experience that – in my opinion – make you more valuable to teams you get to work with later on.
There's absolute gold in this book in terms of how to lead and participate with teams and I simply don't have the time to share as much as I want. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy if you've not already. In the meantime, you can download a PDF of my notes.