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Articulation of problem

This week our team knew we needed to up our performance as our consistent cruising along was no longer working. In the past weeks, we have been scattered and complacent about our teamwork in the sense that we haven’t been making group decisions, and it seems to be a select few deciding and the others going along with it. This week with the arranged time, we sat down and had a discussion about what we were going to do which started with strategy and moved though the various areas. Although it is better to work as a group, and the more people there are the more synergy of ideas are present which can result in better decisions, I felt working in a larger group setting fairly frustrating. I know as a group we most likely came to better decisions, but the process was infuriating. We started off the discussions and began making progress, however while this was happening, some group members were not engaged and were working on their own things. We also had subgroups forming and discussing ideas and coming to decisions which others weren’t aware of. The whole process seemed very disjointed and repetitive with the same decisions being made multiple times. For example, early on we had decided to change the prices on our bikes and it seemed that we had all agreed that this needed to happen. To me, it seemed that we could move forward on other issues, however the decision kept being discussed (with the same conclusion that we had agreed on). It was a frustrating process which I felt I didn’t have time for due to all the other assignments and things that also needed my attention.

Analysis of problem and testing of Hypothesis

The disjointed process is a problem that we will need to work on in future. A possible reason for this problem is that the team communication has not been good in the past and so some who have been missing in other meetings are unaware of what has been going on, so are unsure of the discussions that are taking place which results in repetitive explanations and re-informing (even though our CEO has had very good minutes recorded to find out what has been discussed). Or it could possibly be that we are not keeping adequate track of our decisions that have been set in stone so people understand the decisions that have been made, so we can move forward. A further possibility is not having a clear leader who is leading the discussion and making sure everyone is engaged and is on the same page. However, drawing on the article on leadership by Spreier, Fontaine, and Malloy (2006), they state that “Overachievers tend to command and coerce, rather than coach and collaborate, thus stifling subordinates. They take frequent shortcuts and forget to communicate crucial information, and they may be oblivious to the concerns of others. The team’s performance begins to suffer, and they may risk missing the very goals that initially triggered the achievement-oriented behaviour” (p. 72). After reading this, the feelings I was having about the teamwork seemed to make sense, and seemed to be more along the lines of the problems we were having. We are a team with a number of overachievers- and I will say I most definitely am one of them- but we also have some who are quieter and have less presence in the team. Is the communication issue due to the most overachieving individuals (as we really all are overachievers), moving though he decisions too quickly and missing out the opinions of others? Which means that we need to discuss the decision again to inform the others of what has already been decided, (or the decisions that aren’t being revisited are not as good as they could have been). After reflecting back on the process we went though, I feel this is exactly what happened as we had a few who discussed the idea and came to a decision and then wanted to move on, while others had been excluded, and missed what had happened, which meant that we had to go back and re-discuss. This is my hypothesis of the cause of our disjointed teamwork.

Action or deciding to act.

Moving forward, I feel that what needs to happen is more joint decisions and to move though the decisions better as a whole group, making sure that everyone has had their input into the decision. This will also mean that the whole group is engaged, which will means we are all on the same page and are up to date with what is going on.

 

References

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

3 Comments

  1. After I wrote this I felt as though I had followed Daudelin's structure, however looking over it now I see there is room for improvement. I'm not sure why I went though all the possibilities of the cause of the problem, or if this was necessary. Re-reading it, it is fairly confusing. I also feel I didn't really explain myself as well as I could have, I had a lot of thoughts that I thought were reflected in the writing, but they weren't portrayed as well as I had reflected on it in my head. There is a lot more detail and explanation that could have gone into the analysis which would mean the reflection would make more sense and would be at a higher quality. I also found my own writing style fairly confusing..... The use of the resources could also do with a lot more integration.

    1. So, is this really about the team or is it really about you (and the way you work in a team?

      In other words, is the problem how the team functions or how you function? Did the 'disjointed' teamwork actually work?

  2. Jennifer,

    You are very difficult to review as you already know (and have commented) everything I would have to say to you. All I can really do is to relate your writing to our team this week. I think as a whole we all agree that there are specific improvements that could be made to the way we meet and work together (itemised meetings, turn by turn department discussions etc.) I think at this point our group is too far dependent on each other and working together to split off into specific departments.

    As far as your writing goes, contrary to your beliefs I found it well laid out and easy to read. It would have been nice to see specifically what YOU intend to do to remedy some of our team's problems but ultimately I think at this point we all have a fair understanding of what is expected of us from each other. It would have also been good to see some of Argyris' Single/double-loop learning touched on in here being that it was this weeks reading. At the very least you could have explained which you thought your reflections most aligned with.

    I know it has been a difficult week for you but we have a strong team and ultimately we will all learn a lot from this simulation.

    You know that your work is of a good standard,

    Thanks for the opportunity to read your journal,

    Jack