Rather than presenting my views on some random topic I have decided to present my views on how this class has helped me to overcome one of my weaknesses to be a team player and how it changed my ideas towards a group. I have put some of my personal experience to elaborate the situation.
As a team we had been given many activities in the class. Sometimes we had to role play and get success in our motives, sometimes we had to decide as a team, what should we present as an OD consultant. I wanted to mainly discuss about each and every experience that I had during the class and specifically about the case study which we completed as team. How this course has changed my view towards team efforts instead of an individual as for which I have always lobbied.
Our team has grown in many ways since the start of Module. In our first few meetings, each member seemed pretty reserved as none of us had worked together prior to this Module. Meetings took a very long time as we would often show up with no set formal agenda. Everyone tried to pitch in and help with every task and it was obvious that each member intended to do their fair share of work. At times, this was great, but often, it used up valuable time as we were always trying to make sure everyone was included in every task.
Reviewing of our results after couple of weeks showed that we had many overlapping personality roles and yet only had one strong facilitator and organizer role. Many of the conflict issues on our team involved not only differing opinions, but emotional attachments as well.
Thus some of our disagreements were not simply over "facts" but personal feelings and ways of communicating. We began to have to deal with each other with kid gloves as it was apparent that there were some cultural and interpersonal hurdles we would need to tackle before we really worked as a team. Some of our team members felt disconnected as a result of their suggestions being ignored or tossed aside as irrelevant. Trust was an underlying problem for possibly 90% of the problems we were having and it was hurting our ability to work efficiently.
Seeing as we were having problems with time management, trust, and efficiency, we wanted to build a more streamlined process of getting things done. We began by structuring our roles and goals at the beginning of each meeting so that we would be cognizant of time and stay on track.
Spending time during evening after class, class breaks, and lunches allowed us to feel more comfortable with each other, which allowed us to enjoy our meetings more. We began to bond as a team once we were able to laugh at ourselves and openly admit our mistakes.
One of the biggest improvements in our team structure came when we began breaking up our team into units for our case study and each units were given specific part of the case study, e.g we wanted to analyze the case from both point of view so we divided ourselves into two units to analyze the opposite sides and had a conference call to discuss our findings. And then the units swap their positions to read the other side of the story this was the turning point. After this drill we were able to come to a conclusion which was never happening.
We now trusted each of our team members to put forth their best efforts in their respective product lines. After each decision session, we took 10 minutes for each group to come together and teach the other group what they have thought that needs to be presented.
This allowed us to all be on the same page with the whole discussion we were going to do in front of the class. This also helped us share best practices; we thought it might help the other group. The changes we made on the project proved to be useful with our efficiency allowing each team member a chance to play a big role on a more micro level.
Our team improved most in its time management. This was tied to trusting each other more and splitting up our work. We also improved as we started to reflect on past discussions and as a result began to take a "whole team approach" in our thinking before stating our opinions.
For example, as the time passed, team-members started to remember past work efforts, ideas, and viewpoints of other members and took those into account before stating their own opinions. We continued to improve as we kept checking in with all members during meetings to make sure everyone was on the same page. If we were not all on the same page we stopped and made sure that everyone caught up.
If we were on the same page, it was just a quick break to make sure we were still on target and then moved on. We had too many Shapers, coordinators and Planners but did not have enough Implementers, Resource Investigator and team-workers in the team. This was one of the reasons why the team did not click in the beginning.
As we filled the gaps over the course of time, we witnessed gradual improvement in how the team performed and achieved results. One of the problems of coming from several different cultures is that sometimes everyone is in agreement and no one knows it.
We would often have big arguments on various decisions, but then one team member would stop everyone and say that it sounded like we were all in agreement. The team would stop the discussion and think about what everyone was saying as on most occasions we were in agreement and just didn’t realize it. This led to more efficient meetings and better decision-making.
Our open-minded teammates were truly responsible for enacting all of these improvements. Our team consists of members from 4 different backgrounds consisting of a computer scientist to a dental doctor, a nurse and a pharmaceutical analyst. Our ability to adapt to each other was a huge improvement that gave us a surge in everything we did.
I hope to take several lessons from this process going forward. I want to make sure that I keep the overall team goal in mind, but have the trust to divide up the work for more efficiency. I need to remember that healthy conflict is good, but it is important to not let personal feelings get too involved.
Working with people from different backgrounds, ethnicities, genders, and with different view-points makes for well-rounded ideas, but can lead to some tense conflict. I really hope to keep this in mind in my future roles. Another valuable lesson I learned is that different styles of work, can work at different times. Our team required a pace-setting style of work in many instances and at other times required collaboration.
Sometimes we needed to split up the work and other times we all needed to work on the projects together. Recognizing which situations need the different styles will definitely help each of us in future team situations. Finally, getting to know teammates on a personal level is very valuable as it helps you see their viewpoints. It engages trust and lets the team have fun during some very stressful meeting situations.
Being able to talk to teammates about "everyday" items helps relieve the work pressure often associated with very long meeting sessions. Having worked with such a diverse group in some high pressure situations, I believe that I will be ready to tackle management positions dealing with a variety of employees.
The simulation in working as a team to achieve a common goal has really made me believer in team efforts. I used to always prefer working alone but this class it has really changed my vie points towards group efforts. The various case studies presented and discussed during the class really gave me the knowledge I had hoped for, it also really helped our team in learning what it takes to succeed with a group in any situation. I am excited to put my newly minted skills to the test in the next module and beyond.
In this study we learnt how the actual decisions are made in real world. Every character had his/her personal goal which was effecting his/her decisions. So after 15 minutes of discussion we weren’t going anywhere as nobody wanted to compromise. Finally we came to an agreement to spill the money in 3 parts and each party presenting his/her side of the story to justify his share of the money.
The great thing about our team was that when our overall budget needed to be cut, we all recognized that our individual goals would have to suffer a bit for the benefit of the team. We did an excellent job of stepping back from our individual roles and looking at the big picture. This enabled our team to come to an arrangement where everyone was happy.
After this awesome experience of team building I have been more attentive at my work place in team meetings. We have started to work on new development project (Payroll system for our product) at my work and I participate a lot in team meetings of the designing phase. I believe that more minds if work together in harmony can achieve great things.
I wasn’t always against team efforts, but in my past experience at McKesson Corp, I had pretty bad experiences trusting a team member and I almost got fired after the first month. However my director gave me a second chance and I proved myself but after the first experience I wasn’t able to trust my team member at all and I always insisted to divide work into separate modules or give the whole thing to me for development
. But after studying the class I could really say where I was wrong and may be an OD consultant might have improved a lot of things. I never had a vision to view the whole picture and was always focused on my module or my part of the project rather than focusing of the whole project. My success was the only goal I had in mind. But after the class my view has been broadened to see the whole picture and achieve the success as team or a team leader.