Sunday, May 13, 2007

Lessons from a Team Based Program

Today, I was thinking about the team based learning style at Queen's.For 12 months, we work in teams. 06 people with different personalities, backgrounds,ages, culture,HBDI index are put together to form a "dysfunctional team" and are then subjected to stress (that involves severe workload,deadlines) and asked to produce top quality outputs. And believe me, this is not easy !!

Every year smart individuals folks come to this program - all of them have a lot of accomplishments, track records, leadership experience but this program teaches them something that perhaps they wouldn't have learnt before. You might ask what? I can't describe it. It can only be experienced.

In a team, every one has his or her own strengths and areas to improve and you realize this fact pretty quickly. The personalities are different, yet people have to work together and learn from each other.

In general, there will be team bullies, team catalysts and free riders. You will work with them and learn to deal with them.You solve your problems and emerge as a better person both professionally and personally.

Below are my five big key takeaways from the Team Based Learning program at Queen's.

1.Three C's are very essential when you are in a team: Comprehend ( understand the wavelength of your team member), Collaborate ( work together to achieve the desired results) and Confront ( Discuss face to face when a conflict arises)

2.Personalities can be different, but interests "have to match" in a team.One might be a party guy, other might be a fitness freak. Some body might be fashion conscious and someone might be moody. Keep all that aside when you come to work in a team. The objective is to accomplish a goal and the interests have to be aligned.

3.A team is as good as its weakest link.It does not matter if you have superheroes in the team. The long term sustainability of the team is dependent on the performance of the weakest team member in the team. If he or she is not up to the standards, train, coach, discipline him or her, but make sure that the person rises to the challenge.

4.You are as good as you think..Every body is unique. Every one has a unique strength. So don't make comparisons. Spend that time on something better. Understand your potential and work on your strengths. I repeat, you are as good as you think.

5.Not just appreciate but also learn to accept diversity:.I strongly believe the way we think is a consequence of the way we have been brought up. In this "flat world", we will be dealing with folks from all parts of the world. Diversity adds variety and creativity to a solution. Take time to appreciate it. Accept it and make the best use of it.

A famous Chinese proverb goes: "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for life". The team based MBA program at Queen's actually reflects that. In one year, you learn the skills, tools, techniques that you will use for the rest of your life -both professionaly and personally.

Queen's teaches you how to fish and feed yourself!



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