This week I learnt a considerable amount about team dynamics and the importance of a long-term strategy, both things that had only been in the background of my mind in previous weeks. What I have learnt has been largely as a result of a successful takeover, and a reversion back to our original strategy that our team had aimed for since week 1.
The main issue I had at the start of this week was that I was unsure that our team’s strategy was actually going to be as effective as we had originally planned at the very beginning of the assessment. The doubt that I had was in large part due to a lacklustre rollover in the previous period, which had me unsure of some of the decisions we had made. At the beginning of this week our team reflected as a group as to why our rollover was not as successful as we had liked it to be, and were able to identify exactly why this was; that we had veered from our original strategy. No finger pointing occurred within our group reflection, but each person knew what they had to do in their respective role in order to benefit the next week (this one) and the future of the assessment. I believe that reflection upon where we went wrong really helped identify what we were able to do right this week, namely that we needed to stick to our original strategy.
The focal point of the Baghai et al (2009) reading is the effect and nature of a company’s growth strategy and the long-term effects which can result from ineffective strategizing. The discussion offered in this reading is very relevant in regards to the experiences I have encountered in the simulation this week. As mentioned before, through group reflection at the beginning of this week, we were immediately able to justify and understand why we had not reached the success we had desired. The conclusion that we came to for our problems was that we had briefly lost sight of our original strategy. After discussion however, we later concluded that this dip was likely, and that it was not only amendable, but something that could be turned successful if managed correctly. This instance really struck me as something that would be in line with a successful team’s strategy, not only in accordance with Baghai et al. (2009), but also with the team dynamic discussions suggested by Katzenbach and Smith (1992), and Kelley (1998), who both suggest the importance of team dynamics in a relatively flat structured, democratic organisation, and the success that can come from this. As I have discussed in previous reflections, this team structure is something I believe that our team has benefited my own experiences within the team but also seemingly assisted our overall performance too. There have never been instances of power struggles or anything of the like, all voices and opinions have been heard and appreciated, and we have been able to maintain both a collective and individual desire to reach the same successful goals in terms of a high SHV. I believe that our collective belief in a long-term strategy has been a driving force behind this, through the way that the structure allows for group discussion on decisions as well as consistency of decision making in accordance to a long-term strategy.
Why I believe that this is important to discuss is that it really only became apparent to me that this form of organisation was a key to success was when we talked to the team that we ended up taking over. The other team seemed to be organised in quite a different way, they admitted to not having a long-term strategy, and stated it was the main reason they had been unsuccessful. They also all suffered from varying timetables which meant that the team was rarely able to engage in group discussions at the same time. This limited their decision making to be made unevenly between group members at inconsistent times, meaning the roles of some members were seemingly blurred, rather than more refined as I believe our groups roles had become. This is by no means a critique of the members of the other team, but rather something that I noticed was quite contrasting to the team dynamics which I had been experiencing so far through the assessment. Just before the rollover we spent a bit of time discussing with the other team, trying to collaboratively figure out what had gone wrong. They all seem like very smart people, and competency clearly is not the issue for their short-comings in terms of SHV. Rather, it would seem to me that their lack of a long-term strategy has lead them to go astray from consistent decision making, meaning that some of the figures inputted are not cohesive with the operations which they have previously undertook in earlier rollovers. I believe that this would reflect the discussions in the Davenport (2006) article, where it is noted that modern companies have a limited ability to compete in terms of technological and resource differences. Because of an increased accessibility to the same resources, companies end up showing variances in their culture and overall focus, and this is the key to their success. This would be reflected in the Mikes Bikes simulation through the way that everyone has the access to exactly the same data and tools. The numbers are all laid out and it is really up to the teams to decide what they do with them. This requires for input and cohesion between all of the ‘departments’ in order for success to be had. Between our team and the team that we took over, we have really gone two different ways with the resources given to us. I believe it is our long-term strategy as well as our cohesive discussion and group discussion making that has lead us to have relative success so far during the simulation. These are both things that the team we took over admitted to us that they had not been consistently able to do, and something that they seemed to wish to improve on.
I feel rather confident after this week. Not only because of our successful rollover, but also because I have strong faith in our teams dynamics and long-term strategy will be a means for us to be successful in the coming weeks too.
Baghai, M., Smit, S., & Viguerie, P. (2009). Is your growth strategy flying blind? Harvard Business Review, 87(5), 86---96.
Davenport, T. H. (2006). Competing on analytics. Harvard Business Review, 84(1), 98–107.
Katzenbach, J. R. & Smith, D. K. (1992). Why teams matter. McKinsey Quarterly, (3), 3–27
Kelley, R. E. (1988). In praise of followers. Harvard Business Review, 66(6), 142--148