It’s the second week and it is team selection and formation time. To me this was quite daunting. I am used to team environment in sport and to some extent in workplace settings but this was a new challenge. The team environments I usually involve myself in are usually familiar and comfortable to me. This new challenge I am facing is neither familiar nor comfortable. I have worked in teams in fields ranging from sports, to Boards of Trustees, but given my recent initial struggles to achieve a shareholder value of over $25, I began doubting my ability to contribute effectively in this new team setting. However after putting in more hours toil, reading the players manual once more, and consulting fellow students for advice, my shareholder value increased exponentially. With this out of the way, my concern about my competence moved to concern about how my team will actually operate.
My use of the word ‘team’ in place of the word ‘group’ is deliberate. Teams and groups have distinct differences, including the capacity of what they produce. This supported by the idea that ‘with a group, the whole is often equal to or less than the sum of its parts; with a team, the whole is always greater’ (Oakley, Felder, Brent, & Elhajj, 2004, p.13). Teams, unlike most if not all groups, have homogenized goals and objectives which they are collectively accountable for. (Katzenbach & Smith, 1992). Groups, by contrast, are often characterized by individual efforts rather than collective efforts, often with the absence of a homogenized purpose (Oakley, Felder, Brent, & Elhajj, 2004).
Upon meeting my team for the first time, I have come away with the impression that we a committed to operate as a team. We all seem to be committed to achieving a high and competitive shareholder value, as well as being learning focused. The extent to which these goals and objectives manifest themselves will depend on the degree to which we work as a team (Oakley, Felder, Brent, & Elhajj, 2004). In light of coming across this information, I now have even more incentive to work effectively as a team.
I see this team-based challenge of being pushed into a setting that unfamiliar and outside of my comfort zone as an opportunity. For me, it not just the specific content I will be learning, but I see this as an opportunity to learn how to deal with these diverse and unfamiliar environments in the team setting because that is what the workforce will require of me. As a prospective manager, I know that I will encounter team-based challenges regularly when I enter the workforce as a full time worker, and I see this as a great proving ground to hone my skills.
Katzenbach, J. R. & Smith, D. K. (1992). Why teams matter. McKinsey Quarterly, (3), 3--27
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.