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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.

5 Comments

    • I thoroughly enjoyed reading your journal reflection. You questioned the TBL course which we have all been through and asked the question that we all thought at the beginning - "are they simply trying to sway students?" You didn't just ask the question, you then proceeded to answer it which I think is vital in journal reflections. Questioning things is a good way to get further depth to your argument.
    • You brought in goal alignment which we had talked about in class and then backed it up with part of the readings. Most people stop here but you go further by "agreeing with such perspectives". Sometimes though you might not agree with EVERYTHING that they say and you can select bits and question them too. 

    I thought it was a great reflection and looks like you will do well in your end of semester journal if you keep this high quality up. Well done

  1.  

    By questioning the present state of ourselves is a very good start to a reflection therefore you've done a great job on this by questioning how is team based learning beneficial and relating this to the independent nature of uni work. 

    It's also very insightful the way you connects your reflections with the readings such as the common goal and how it operated in your decision on the CV. 

    From these reflective thinking you've analysed and and evaluated the outcome (what you've learnt from this) which shows you've applied Bloom's taxonomy and enhanced your learning process. 

    I would suggest that you could elaborate this further by reflecting on your team experience so far with your team in relation to the functioning and goal alignments of the group. 

    keep up with the good work :D your journal has provided me with a clear idea of your reflection process which I think by reading your journal would help me improve my next journal too! 

     

    good job! 

    1. Yes, I think you are right, it would be better if there was a stronger connection between the team experience and goal alignment. I'm less persuaded that the learning journal has a strong connection with evaluation in a 'Bloomian' sense. There needs to be a more concrete/explicit example; saying specifically what his experience was (with and without goal alignment) for their to be real evidence of evaluation. 

       

      I glad you've learning from this learning journal. That's the way it is meant to work.

  2. In your first paragraph you do a solid job of going around Kolb's cycle (I'm not going to cite it as I assume that by now it is 'common knowledge' amongst the target audience of this wiki). You might be a little more explicit in doing that: laying out your experience, reflection, theorising, etc, in more detail.

    So, having identified that teams are—generally speaking—a good thing, you start to look at the pre-conditions for a good team (in this context), namely goal alignment, mutual accoutnability, etc..

    To really make this a powerful learning journal you need to see how these play out for you. How has having goal alignment (for instance) impacted you/your team. What have you experience around that ... and how it leads to learnin? You need to go beyond 'accepting the received wisdom' and connect it to your own experiences and your own theorising. For example, have you experienced teams where there has not been goal alignment? What happened? Why do you think goal alignment would have made a difference? What will you do differently in teams (e.g., how will you either select teams for goal alignment—which might be impractical—or how will you try to create goal alignment? You might also consider how closely you have goal alignment with the rest of your team members.

    Thinking of Bloom's taxonomy, there is little evidence of higher order levels; for example, there is no evidence of application (which there would have been if you had tried to do something with the idea of goal alignment with your team).

    1. Hi Peter,

      Thanks for all of the feedback you have given me. Ill try to take it all on board for the journals ahead.