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This week’s learning was based around the concept of teams and the forming of my own team for Mike’s Bikes. From reading Katzenbach and Smith’s (1992) ‘Why teams matter’, I have come to realise that teams are not just a collection of people working together for some generic output, but rather a carefully crafted organism, that lives and breathes; with the sole focus on very explicit collective goals to obtain. What then is the difference between a team and a high performing team? Is it that in high performing teams, all members are extremely friendly with each other? Well from what Katzenbach and Smith (1992) state in ‘Why teams matter’, a high performing team is “a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable”.

However, when reflecting on the team that I have been placed in, aspects of being a high performing team are absent. For example, the statement that members have skills the complement each other appears to be absent in my team as the majority of the members come from a marketing and management background, in combination with being an only male team. As the lecturer suggested, in combination with Katzenbach and Smith’s (1992) ‘Why teams matter’, these traits of a team typically have significant adverse effects upon the team’s performance due to the lack of diversity. However, I believe that with a strict regime implemented to attempt to create some diversity will overcome this barrier. I believe this as, previously in my Business 101 university paper, I was also in an all-male team and we were extremely successful.

Today I have reflected on my first team meeting and how it could have been significantly better. This is because, with regards to Katzenbach and Smith’s (1992) ‘Why teams matter’ and Oakley, Felder, Brent and Elhajj’s (2004) ‘Turning student groups into effective teams’, our team failed to implement strategic discussions about setting collective purposes and performance goals, generating guidelines for mutual accountability, and establishing clear team roles. I believe that the failure to do this is going to result in our team not performing, this is because of all the evidence that explicitly supports the argument stating that teams require these basic fundamentals in order to become extremely successful. My thoughts on this are possibly due to my work ethic that everything needs to be planned and strategically thought about rather than ‘just winging it’. My thoughts on combating this issue is that at the next team meeting, I am going to make sure we address these issues by bringing in and discussing the various appendix’s provided in Oakley, Felder, Brent and Elhajj’s (2004) ‘Turning student groups into effective teams’. The only negative consequence that I believe will arise from this is being perceived as a real up tight person who is dominating the team dynamics in which I really do not want to do. This is my dilemma, to act or not to act. From this reflection, I believe that by acting, it would be most beneficial to the team; I believe that by explaining to everyone the importance in discussing these team fundamentals will reduce the chance of large resistance, however resistance is inevitable.

On a last note, I have been given the position of CFO. From someone who was extremely glad that they just passed Accounting 101, this poses a significant issue for me. Controlling finances, especially my own has been a passion of mine ever since I started earning pocket money at a very young age, however that only required basic maths calculations and common sense. With regards to the CFO position, I believe that this entails not only the basic maths calculations that I can do, but also the calculations of the other member’s in my team and the effect that it has on shareholder value – this is what I don’t know. From reflecting on this issue, I suppose that I am just going to have to learn how to do this position very quickly if I want to achieve our team’s collective goals [when we eventually make them]. I can see how, if I successfully engage myself into this role, the benefits will be so significant, that when I do gain a managerial role and eventually the position as a CEO or chief marketing officer; I will be able to understand how all the actions of each department have such a large influence on shareholder value, and be able to utilise the skills and knowledge that I learn from this experience to be successful in those future roles.

 

                                                                                                                                                 References:

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.

2 Comments

  1. Hi Timothy,
    To start off, great use if the Daudelin reflection process to structure your journal. Often people forget to do the last two stages but you managed to do it well by conceptualizing theories of how your team might perform based on your analysis and also mentioning what actions you will take based on these theories. I enjoyed your journal as it was direct to the point, clear and had a very good flow.

  2. Good journal entry. You took multiple multiple topics into your reflection and did a good job at creating tangible insights that will help you to resolve your teams problems. In covering so many ideas (teams goals, team diversity, your roles and your perceptions of your ability) you tended to not get to the higher levels of Blooms Taxonomy. By selecting your most valuable takeaway/insight/idea for your entry, you would have been able to go deeper into that singular issue, touching on ideas like: Why you think your team dynamic will resist your attempt to create change, why you feel your position of CFO would be hard to master or perhaps what is your understanding of diversity and in what ways does/doesn't your team members display this.

    You didn't develop these ideas by drawing on past events that contradict your thinking, which was good and this is the direction you need to keep going to find more 'reflection gold'. Although quite theory dense with at times (I felt, anyway), if these theories were actually something that you learnt and can now apply then they are completely relevant. 

    From a fellow (and confidant) CFO I'm sure you'll be great. Just make sure you read the 'more info' section, understand how different areas of business spending influence other areas. Also if you haven't spent a decent amount of time on solo mike, it's still a good learning tool for answering questions like "if you only had $1m of cash left, where would be the most effective area (on SHV) to spend it?" 


    A good entry and best of luck!