KBAM learning: group dynamics and personal growth
One of the main learnings I have had from this module was not the actual content of the module, but the way our group worked. It is something that I would like to reflect on as when in the future I am working, I will inevitably have to work with people within a group. One of the main things I experienced with this module was respect from my co-workers. Some of the most important things for me when working with people are:
- Actual do what you say you are going to do.
- Meet on time. Arriving an hour and a half late for every meeting is not acceptable.
- Turn up to meetings if you say you are coming.
- Be proactive in the meetings, don't waste your time or others. Sleeping in meetings is frankly pathetic.
- Do not be unaccessible. We had a project to do, being hours away from where the group is based essentially on holiday all week is not proactive.
On the whole, I felt that what I experienced within my group was a complete lack of respect. All of the above listed points occurred. People were always late, or simply wouldn't turn up. Additionally, people who arrived hadn't done the work they agreed they would do by the meeting. This eventually had a detrimental effect on me, and led to me not attending our final meeting because I was so annoyed with the group, so I chose to do some other work instead.
What I don't understand is how people act in this manner. We are paying to be here at Warwick. Why do people not put the effort in to get the most out of their time and the money they have invested by being here? Is it my fault that you haven't started a PMA until a few days before it is due? No it is not. It is a pathetic excuse to hide behind for when you have been too lazy to do any of the group work. In the real world when working you will have to balance several tasks at once, and plan your time and energy to ensure that any simultaneously running projects are completed to your highest standard by the deadline.
So on the whole I have learnt a lot about working in a group from my time on the MBE course. I have had some good experiences working in productive groups, and some bad experiences working in very unproductive groups. I feel that for this last group, my colleagues simply didn't have the desire to do any work. There was just one other person in my group who despite turning up slightly late to meetings, worked hard and wanted to do well and for that I am grateful.
From other group projects, I have learnt how best to communicate, delegate and work on tasks with people. This last task has highlighted how important the mindset is. If my colleagues act like this in the real world, they would be lucky to be offered a job, and even more lucky to remain employed for more than a few weeks. The effort just wasn't there, and I ended up doing the majority of the work by myself. The final presentation we produced was in my opinion embarrassing, because it was essentially the work of myself with help from the one other proactive person in my group. In comparison to the other team's presentations, it was clearly lacking, as it was based essentially on my viewpoints as opposed to an amalgamation of ideas from everyone in the group. If all our ideas were combined together, we would have had a more thorough, critical and well thought out presentation that better answered the question.
This is where the issue of authority and accountability comes in. It is our task to do the work. There isn't a person in charge who can give people a kick up the backside. All there is is losing marks. There is no pressure or threat of being reprimanded by a boss, or sacked. When faced with other PMAs, a poorer quality presentation takes precedent if it leads to higher marks for the PMA. People prioritised working on nearly due PMAs over working on the group project, or at least claimed so.
Therefore, I felt on this module I learnt mostly about working in a group. I did develop knowledge on AM and KM, but as Paul informed, it such a big field it could be a degree in itself. I felt I gained more from the group dynamics. I would hate to be hypocritical and act in a manner I have criticised, so I hope my experiences on this module will lead to me being a better group member on future tasks when I am working in a professional environment. This is because I hope I have learnt from the mistakes that I and other classmates have made whilst working in groups on this and other modules. It's all about PDSA right? :)
So a concluding thought. It is my last recommendation or at least idea for Paul to ponder. We have for most other projects been assigned the group we work. For this task I would have liked the leader to have picked who was in their team. I know you do not always get this opportunity in the real world, but I feel it would be good for one module to pick your team and see whether it impacts upon productivity compared to other modules. We have learnt about how important the culture and mindset is, why not try and experience that first hand to reinforce just how important it is? I am sure there is a way a team can be picked that does not cause problems over people being publicly picked with someone being left last (it was normally me for everything in school...).
So that's my concluding thought for this module. I found it on the whole extremely benefical. I would say in terms of content that I have learned little on the MBE course in comparison to my undergrad or school studies. In terms of actual working skills and the actual knowledge retained in my head (I learnt loads on my undergrad HR degree but can't remember anything), I have learnt more than I thought possible. That's why I think the MBE environment is brilliant. I am 100% certain I am a much more employable person now than 12 months ago, and I would like to think the manner in that I work is 100 times better than 12 months ago. That for me is most important thing. When I came to Warwick, it was to get an MSC from a highly ranked university. The mark isn't important to me anymore. What's more important is fulfilment and development. Thanks Paul for changing my perceptions and creating the environment for this transformation to happen.