I struggled tremendously with MikesBikes. I just can’t get the knack for understanding how things are interrelated and it scared me that changing one small thing has an impact on so many others. My score was the product of repeated back-and-forthing and of a tutorial given to me by a friend. I made clear on my CV and to my group that I am the weak link but they seem determined not to believe me. I am placed in a highly competitive team where I feel like the odd one out – I am completely learning-oriented rather than winning-oriented and my team knows it. I should see it as a blessing really. And … having been part of the team that did the CV sorting, I suppose I have to reserve judgements until later or else I run the risk of admitting that the process didn’t work. I really think we have a chance to win so that can’t be a bad thing. I am excited about realising the benefits of teamwork described by Oakley, Felder, Brent and Elhajj (2004) regarding the ability to retain information longer and to learn at a deeper level.
Sorting the CVs into groups was more complicated than I had initially anticipated. After all, we had to make groups in hopes that they may become teams as described by Katzenbach and Smith (1992). They say teams are “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”. ALL elements of their definition is important but I am particularly impressed that my teams (or maybe still just a group) has a good blend of technical or functional expertise: different majors and different life experiences. Even in our short Thursday meeting session, setting up of the team contract led to some impressive constructive conflict (Katzenbach and Smith, 1992) that set the tone for our future meetings: a lot of strong opinions but with sensible flexibility. We discussed our purpose and we all seem committed and ready for the challenge ahead. Bring it on!
This week, I couldn’t figure out why I was so stressed. I thought it may be my lack of natural competence in MikesBikes but upon reflection I realised that I wasn’t in control. I felt that I couldn’t control MikesBikes the way I wanted to, I can’t control how my group performs and I can’t control people’s commitment. This semester, but particularly in this course, I plan to surrender myself to the process of learning and discovery by remembering that I have the CEO and the group to guide me and that it doesn’t all fall on me this time. I’m pretty sure I have a great group. TADAHHH! The beauty of teams.
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.