At the start of each team based learning course, the facilitators attempt to convince us of the many benefits of working within a team. We are taught that teams are a very important part of our future careers and that this experience could prove to be vital to future success. Initially I was skeptical of their reasoning behind this. Working within a university very much known for its independent nature, where they simply trying to sway student attitudes or did they genuinely believe what they where saying? Very quickly the answer became clear. The results certainly speak for themselves, proving that even the brightest of individuals will fall short of the combined skills and efforts of a well put together team. Leading into the formation of our teams this week I am very excited to once again test this theory with the Mikes Bikes simulation. Working with the software has so far been an enjoyable experience and I was surprised at the detail to which is needed to keep the business running smoothly.
Throughout the week we discussed what is required to form a correctly functioning team. One of the reoccurring themes has been that goal alignment is the key to success. Katzenbach and Smith, (1992) suggest a similar view where specific, meaningful and common goals are put in place to focus the team towards a certain purpose. This along with commitment and accountability initiate the beginnings of individual and collective growth leading to pleasing final results. My own experiences tend to lead me towards agreeing with such perspectives. I have found that often it is not about the strength of each individual team member that leads to results, but the collective buy-in of the team environment which is most important. This enables an element of trust to be established within the group allowing each individual member to specialize in the areas in which they thrive the most. This, in a sense is the fundamental reasoning behind why teams can be so useful.
I now understand the importance of teams and value the opportunity to improve my skills in this area. My studies have made it clear that businesses now operate in a dynamic and every changing environment. A large number of firms are utilizing the formation of teams to better adapt to these conditions. Katzenbach and Smith, (1992) again reflect these views where they believe that managers need to use teams to competitively allocate certain resources, in order to satisfy the specific needs of its consumers. Mikes Bikes creates an ideal platform to experience such conditions and I hope these skills will be very much transferable leading into my future career.
Katzenbach, J. R. & Smith, D. K. (1992). Why teams matter. McKinsey Quarterly, (3), 3--27.