This week’s reflection will be split into two parts: First; a general overview of the course, followed by a reflection of the theoretical content.
This week marks the beginning of our team based project: mikes bike. Although I had some reservations regarding the objectives of this exercise, it is starting to piece itself together. As Peter explained to the CV allocation team the rational behind the allocations, I could not help but feel a slight uneasiness in the event of unfavourable team placement.
This uneasiness stems from whether or not I have satisfied the requirements for a good team placement and what will I do if I get placed in a team with no common goal alignment. The reason behind this is that I have engaged in several events that require the full functionality of a team in order to compete. However, in those cases, I had full control of team allocation which allowed me to diminish the uncertainty factor. Taking that aspect out of my control is the primary cause of my discomfort.
The only action I can take to reduce this uncertainty is to strive to reach a higher shareholder value so I can at least ensure my own comprehension of the activity and will not have to rely as heavily on others in the event of a worst case scenario. I understand that this course of action may seem to be self-centred, but I justify this course of action as the only option in anticipation of the team allocation as it is the safest action I can take at this time.
The two readings provided this week stress the importance of high performance teams and how they are correlated with success and high-level problem solving. Both readings have listed several criteria in what makes a team successful and reach consensus on some key issues: Common goals, diverse skills and capabilities, responsibility and communication (Katzenbach & Smith, 1992; Oakley, Felder, Brent, & Elhajj, 2004).
Katzenbach and Smith’s (1992) article emphasizes on the justification, successes and failures of team management on a more industry context. The article suggests that a properly managed team is the key to operation success. This is true in certain aspects, but at the same time, it is not always the case. Katzenbach and Smith (1992) comments upon the effectiveness of new adhocratic structures which benefits from the effectiveness of highly skilled teams. While this may be true for the innovative aspect of an organisation, a team is mostly established for its ability to solve complex problems and drive innovation. Teams are not the go-to model for industries that will benefit from a machine bureaucracy such as farming or manufacturing that benefit the most from division of labour and a repetition of tasks (Grönroos, 1994).
Oakley et al. (2004) focuses more on the academic application of teams in the context of learning. The article suggests that having students placed in teams will be a goof reflection of ‘real world’ simulation. The article provides numerous suggestions and criteria for team allocation and sets the foundation for the paper’s overall structure.
The only area I found in disagreement with the article is the lack of personal choice in the team allocation process. The reading justifies this through the example of real life scenarios and the unfair nature of allowing strong students to band together. However, this is a contradiction as in the real world; there is no concern on the fairness of the situation as the strongest will almost always band together as it is logical to band with people who can benefit you the most.
But taking into consideration that the objective of the course is still a process of enrichment of all students rather than a pure competition, it is understandable for skills to be distributed evenly across the board.
The actionable task that can be distilled from this week is to approach the team process with an open mind. Although it is a simulation of the real world, I must remember that this is still a function of learning. With the rational provided by the readings, I have come to understand a bit more of how teams will benefit us in the long run.
Grönroos, C. (1994). From scientific management to service management: a management perspective for the age of service competition. International Journal of Service Industry Management, 5(1), 5-20.
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.