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It was a challenge to merge into a culture as individuals. It took a lot of time, collaboration and dedication to form a culture, for it to be a powerful management tool to construct direction and secure cooperation in a team, that defines priority to address different recurrent problems (Christensen, 2010). For me, I was challenged by a resistance to adapt into culture, restrained by poor motivation, low affiliation and perceiving a weak work climate in the beginning (Spreier, 2006). At first I found myself participating in the team effort with a sole individual direction, because it seems like everyone else is in the same state. The emergence of team were only to provide a platform for individuality. Where responsibility was met, when individuals has contributed in team meetings, but a high-performing climate was not reached, as a result of lacking clarity, team commitment, affiliation and most importantly a lack of common direction (Spreier, 2006). Throughout this semester, I have learnt the importance of team culture and its power to maximize the potential of our team, in addition, my ability to change my individualistic direction to team culture through learnt skills that attributes to a high-performing climate (Spreier, 2006). To assess the validity of team culture, I will address the challenges of merging into a team culture, then the process of forming a team culture, and finally the changes team culture brings into maximize team potential. Furthermore, I will clearly evaluate my role in team culture and demonstrate what I have learnt that constructs team culture.

The Challenges

In the beginning, the challenge was to shift from an individual direction into team culture. When our team was first formed, we have clearly established expectations as one of the most important first steps in forming an effective team (Oakley, 2004). I was clear on our own responsibilities, sharing a mutual set of expectation for each of our team members and acknowledge a clear guideline to ensure a functional team effort (Oakley, 2004). I was certain that identifying a shared goal will determine our growing drive to achieve (Liao, 2014a). Spreier (2006) stated “the drive to achieve is tough to resist” (p. 74), this was initially a fundamental element that stimulates our motives to achieve. For instance, grade was our mutual goal orientation for our team, the increase in shareholder value at end of each rollovers. However, in my week eight learning journal I began a critical reflection on what was the barrier to achieving (Liao, 2014f), because the outcome of rollover in that week was significantly disappointing. The problem was affiliatedwith members of my team, for me, it was a lack of skills in communication (Katz, 1955)(Liao, 2014f). Looking back into my week four learning journal, the problem of affiliation has already surfaced. By looking at the process of making decisions shows no relationship with team members, in the journal I surpassed the problem of the lack of confidence in my decision by identifying them as blade decision (Liao, 2014b). It shows no suggestion to seek for help from my team. This evidence a resistance of adapting into team culture.

A weak work climate is the problematic cause of resistance. There are two approaches that I intend to use to illustrate the challenge of forming a team culture. Firstly, resistance can be approached from an external impact. This is when low productivity is underpinned by external influence. I have stated above, I was in the state of individual direction was because it appears everyone else was in the same phrase. This processing work climate can be argued as a cause of low affiliation, a combination lack of visionary, participative and social motive in a team (Spreier, 2006). In the early stage of running MikesBikes, despite the fact we have come to an agreement on a shared value and goal that was motivating for our drive to achieve, the lack of collaboration and democratic was putting a barrier on forming a team culture. In my week five learning journal, it has stated I was challenged by the difficulties of being flexible with disagreements (Liao, 2014c). This was partly due to a lack of participation of team members, where trust and consensus was not formed in the decision making process (Spreier, 2006). Another part was the limited knowledge within a few team members. These two factors of absentisms and lack of knowledge of the simulation has led to the lack of social motivation, which puts a limit on a greater performance and the levels of team commitment (Spreier, 2005).At this point resistance is further explained by being viewed from examining it as an internal impact. Where I was lacking the skills to bypass the problem of low affiliation. My role was the marketing manager, my decision process was limited by the resistance created from an external impact. Resistance became solid due to my lack of skills in communication, which leads to poor visionary (Spreier, 2006). I was incapable of telling people what to do because of my role was lacking formal power and authority and most importantly I was lacking the skill of communication to increase team commitment. Thus, a growing drive to achieve is not a sovereign solution for resistance, individualized method to achieve may only add into resistance as a result of a weak work climate. Therefore changing into team culture was a crucial stand to remove the limitation on team effort.

The Changes

“Change has always been a top management challenge” (Katzenbach, 1992, p. 4), indeed change is challenging, but radically it is the only solution to break through resistance and a process to form a team culture. Katzenbach (1992) stated a proven relation between individual behavioral change and a functional team to create high performance. In my week six journal shows a start of change, by applying peer appraisal to build up affiliation for team culture (Liao, 2014d). By giving constructive feedback in team meeting times, going through precise calculation and analysis in a discussion manner, with the desire for self-improvement and encouraging team members to participate in constructive peer appraisal (Peiperl, 2001)(Liao, 2014d). For instance, during the team meeting I provided a constructive feedback to each departments by identifying both positive and negative elements in the weekly rollover report and their decision for the week (Liao, 2014d). This process of a change in behaviour is to engage in affiliation with team members has unintentionally build my responsibility, in a sense exchanging peer appraisal between team members to build up responsibility through affiliation to create a high-performing climate (Spreier, 2006).

However, changing my behaviour and engaging in peer appraisal to facilitate affiliation for team culture appears to be unilateral. In the following week, my learning journal has identified problems of team commitment (Liao, 2014e). Peer appraisal acts as an invitation to serve the relation link between team members, it was lacking clarity to affirm team commitment for individual member (Spreier, 2006). Clarity refers to the acknowledgement of what is expected of them and their willingness to contribute to the effort in relation to achieving mutual goal (Spreier, 2006). Low work climate is occurring under the unilateral effect of peer appraisal, due to a lack of strong directive skill. I was challenged by my position as the marketing manager due to the appropriateness to entail command and be directive for my team members. I have learnt to engage in affiliation with peer appraisal, I used this as a start to evaluate critically on my communication skill in week eight’s learning journal. I have noticed peer appraisal act in a soft approach to stimulate participation and commitments for my team members. On the basis of peer appraisal, I further engaged in communication skills to critically evaluate my own output towards team culture. In week eight’s learning journal I challenged myself to take authority, to surpass the limitation of my role, which is to engage in human skills (Katz, 1955). To recognize my own attitude, assumptions and aware of its limitations, without fear of censure to express my perception and skilled in understanding the behaviour and words of others (Katz, 1955). For instance, I am aware that our team has the capacity for a change and to achieve, we are lacking the formal leadership of and its coercive directive role, thus, I have suggested a democratic action to engage the participation of my team members, “I suggested a selective strategy to choose our decision based on an election, we wrote down decisions and reasons behind the decisions and list a several different sets of these decisions and provided a further simple analysis on the side, then we vote for a decision” (Liao, 2014g). This can be viewed as a hard approach which entails formal authority and coercive control to direct members, and compels participation of all team members in the decision making process. By using selective strategy as a democratic platform to stimulate team commitment, it has introduced a strong work climate and leads into team culture.

Into Team Culture

A culture is created when “Ultimately, people don’t even think about whether their way of doing things yield success. They embrace priorities and follow procedures by instinct and assumption rather than by explicit decision”(Christensen, 2010, p. 50). As given above, an democratic selective strategy is the introduction of  team culture. In the following meetings, we have adopted selective strategy without any explicit direction from any member to address recurrent problems (Liao, 2014g). Our shareholder value was at stake before we used the selective strategy (Liao, 2014f), when we began to use the selective strategy more team commitment is built, inflated high affiliation between team members and uses strong clarification in addressing problems and expectations, which forms a high-performative climate (Liao, 2014g)(Spreier, 2006). A consensus was formed when we continued on the use of selective strategy, because the way we worked together to solve problem has succeeded over and over again, our shareholder value has risen and the problem was addressed accordingly in our collective decisions (Liao, 2014g). This is where we have reached a mutual understand to use the potential of our team effort and a team culture is formed. Cooperation was reached when we were all involved in the selective strategy, I have also used human skills and communication skills to express my perspective of the problem and decision making process, to highlight the issues for selective strategy. For instance, when our shareholder value was at stake, members in our team were holding different opinions for decision making, we used selective strategy to reach an agreement, in this process I expressed my opinion with detailed background and encouraged my team members for an open discussion with their perspective. I learnt to value other member’s perspective without solely enforcing my own, this is to use the capacity in team effort. The rollover results has proved the value of team culture, we have managed to change from $3.16 in the rear end to the final result of $58.34 shareholder value.

In summary, this course has taught me that team culture is a powerful management tool that helps with reaching the maximum capacity of success for a team. The process of forming a team culture has been a challenge. I have examined the aspects of resistance, to address the challenge of a shift of my individual direction into team culture. I learnt that my resistance was formed from an external impact of the lack of affiliation between team members, and an internal impact of the lack of skills to break through the resistance created by external constraints. Both external and internal impacts have caused a lack of social motivation even when mutual goals has been established, considering a weak work climate was formed which created a lack of team commitment and further intensified individual direction. Changes of my behaviours has been discussed to address resistance and progress to build team culture. I have learnt to use peer appraisal as an impact to encourage affiliation between team members, however it resulted as a soft approach due to a lack of authority in my role, thus, I engaged in the hard approach by using selective strategy to form a democratic platform to stimulate a high-performance climate. Team culture was formed under the success of a selective strategy and a founding consensus that leads to cooperation and a common direction towards success. Team culture is indeed useful to use the capacity of a team, nevertheless it requires my dedication to change and challenge my resistances. I am proud to say that I have been successful to challenge my resistance.

Resources:

Christensen, C. M. (2010). How will you measure your life? Harvard Business Review, 88(7/8), 46-51.

Katz, R. L. (1955). Skills of an effective administrator.Harvard Business Review, 33(1), 33--42.

Katzenbach, J. R. & Smith, D. K. (1992). Why teams matter. McKinsey Quarterly, (3), 3—27

Liao, C. (2014a, August 7th ). Mutually Beneficial Qualities.Retrieved from: https://wiki.auckland.ac.nz/display/MGMT300/Mutually+Beneficial+Qualities.

Liao, C. (2014b, August 16th ). A Blade Decision. Retrieved from: https://wiki.auckland.ac.nz/display/MGMT300/A+Blade+Decision

Liao, C. (2014c, August 22th ). Being a ‘Psychic’ of Business. Retrieved from: https://wiki.auckland.ac.nz/pages/viewpage.action?pageId=87197308

Liao, C. (2014d, August 29th ). It’s not about saying the nice stuff. Retrieved from: https://wiki.auckland.ac.nz/pages/viewpage.action?pageId=87200141

Liao, C. (2014e, September 19th ). A Goal Requires Action To Achieve It. Retrieved from: https://wiki.auckland.ac.nz/pages/viewpage.action?pageId=87204599

Liao, C. (2014f, September 26th ).  Step up to this game. Retrieved from: https://wiki.auckland.ac.nz/display/MGMT300/Step+up+to+this+game

Liao, C. (2014g, October 10th ). Grasping onto the hands of learning. Retrieved from: https://wiki.auckland.ac.nz/display/MGMT300/Grasping+onto+the+hands+of+learning

Oakley, B., Felder, R. M., Brent, R., & Elhajj, I. (2004). Turning student groups into effective teams. Journal of student centered learning, 2(1), 9--34.

Peiperl, M. A. (2001). Getting 360° feedback rightHarvard Business Review, 79(1), 142--147

Spreier, S. W., Fontaine, M. H., & Malloy, R. L. (2006). Leadership run amok. Harvard Business Review, 84(6), 72--82

 

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