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Teamwork Turmoil

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  Priyanshu Kumar Roll no 1311314 Teamwork Turmoil Not all groups are teams. This statement, of course, refers to the training team in this case study. The case protagonist Tony Marshall, a second year is a mentor of Learning Team (LT) which comprises of first year students at Darden University. Upon experiencing a meeting with the team members, he came to know about the differences they are facing. It was imperative to solve the problems that are being faced by the team for ensuring a good first-year school experience. Upon going through with the case it was observed that LT was devoid of any set norms. Some of anomalies are discussed below. 1.   Before the meeting the purpose of the meeting should be defined which was not the case with the group. It was not defined beforehand whether the meeting is for concept clearing, case analysis or both. 2.   There was also ambiguity about how long the duration of the meeting is going to be in normal circumstances. 3.   There was no rule or fixed date on which meetings were scheduled to happen or for the matter of fact informing other team members about the absence in a particular meeting through any mode of communication. 4.   It was also observed that the members were coming at any time suitable for them rather than the team. 5.   There also was no rule regarding picking up personal calls during a meeting. 6.   Rather than discussing each matter they seemed to put their own points even without knowing the case facts which the team members were supposed to be prepared for. The only thing that they seem to be worried about was their individual performances rather than focussing on the improvement of team performance. There was a clear lack of accountability on the part of the members. The team has not evolved any acceptable standards of behaviour for achieving this. Lack of trust and openly ridiculing the team members was also a cause for concern. In order to achieve some sanity in the proceedings LT should have some set norms which will help them in better planning and greater learning. Some of the proposed norms can be as discussed below. 1.   For every team to be successful some standards of behaviour is expected. It includes not skipping meeting when committed and if not possible to attend intimating the team members about it. Also members should not ridicule on any ideas given by their peers and always aim for constructive feedback. 2.   Agenda of the meeting should be clearly defined with proper communication to all the team members. This communication should also include the duration of the meeting so that people can plan for other things in advance. This would help in resolving some of the conflict.  Priyanshu Kumar Roll no 1311314 3.   It should be made a rule that each and every member of the team should come to the meeting fully prepared armed with case facts so that it will not impede the discussions in the meeting. 4.   It is advisable that at each meeting some different member takes the lead in solving case questions. Going through the literature there are many thing that differentiate a team from a group. Team players will sacrifice their individual dreams in favour of helping the team succeed. Real teams are collectively committed to the overall work and goals. They may not be equal in education, talent, or experience - but are equal in their commitment to the good of the organization. Some of the attributes that will certainly help in improving the team performance are discussed below. 1.   Commitment: Commitment towards shared goals with respect and mutual trust for each other 2.   Collaborative: Sharing diverse experience, expertise and skills and unique backgrounds to approach a problem for unique solutions 3.   Focus: Result oriented focus for maximum performance 4.   Openness: Clear thinking to invite open discussions on the topics at hand 5.   Participation: Extensive participation through focus on sharing leadership roles An open feedback always goes a long way in removing these barriers. Tony Marshall should meet the team members and talk to them about their behaviour and how it can be improved for the betterment of the team. Learning teams are made in a way to enhance the diversity of the group. He should encourage the group to appreciate its diversity and learn from the experiences of the team members. This would help generating innovative ideas and different approaches to the same problem. He should also suggest to the team to set some ground rules as discussed above for better functioning of the group. Some healthy comparison is always helpful. Tony should give anecdotes about how other groups are faring and how it is helping them achieve their goals. Marshall could help facili tate resolution of the group’s issue by showing that being critical although helps in generating better ideas it sometimes produces bitter results. Like in the example of Apple, Steve jobs was always regarded a visionary but never a people person and always had bitter relationship with people around him. He should also encourage the team members to give honest feedback about the team members so that each of them know what others think about him/her which will help in improving their behaviour around others. As the saying goes in Darden University “Build Fun into the Work Week” the group should plan for activities other than academic like an outing which will help in increasing the bond among themselves and also improve their tenuous relationship.
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