Individual Reflective Blog Posts

by profcomsharedeconomy

Mid-Project Blog Post. May 6, 2015

Taras Rego

Collaboration is an essential yet often tedious aspect of both study and work. In the case of this assignment, working as a group allowed for expansion of creative ideas and more efficient production of work. Group work has not always been a positive aspect of study for me, however in this case I found it to be effective.

Coordinating group members while collaborating is a difficult yet necessary aspect of group work (Tjosvold 2015). In my previous group work experience, coordination between group members was one of the most difficult aspects. A lack of coordination is often relative to ineffective communication, which can also result in an unequal workload. Communication and task delegation was effective within our group, which meant that we were able to be more organised in completing the presentation.

I have never deeply analysed my own role within a team (McConnell & Sasse 1999). However, I often find that individuals are very dynamic within group work. There is not often a clear leader; rather various group members assume the role of a leader as necessary. Within our group, some members were more confident in certain areas than others. Consequently, in those areas they would assume a more leader-like role. I believe that this is a more effective way of collaborating in terms of maximising the team’s potential.

Personally, when working in groups I typically try to complete my share of the work in a timely and effective manner. Within this group I do think that we all contributed to the assignment fairly equally. However, I did make a mistake with one of the tasks I was delegated and was forced to redo it. Consequently, I need to read tasks in more detail in order to minimise potential mistakes in future.

The group struggled with the expansion of ideas whilst including only the most relevant of details. Giving detail whilst being succinct is extremely important when presenting (Anderson 2o13). However, I believe that we were successful in our presentation, both in terms of the content and our presentation abilities. Whilst we were all evidently nervous, I felt that we projected our research and ideas effectively. We did go over time so in future we will have to try to be more succinct.

Overall, the group worked effectively and efficiently in completing the task at hand. However, there were a few issues with distractions at group meetings. Becoming distracted is something that can be debilitating when working in groups. In future, it would be more efficient to try to minimise distraction as a team.

Reference list:

Tjosvold, M & D, 2015, ‘Strengthen Cooperative Goals’ and ‘Working Open-Mindedly’ in Building the Team Organization, Palgrave Macmillan, London

Harvard Business Review (2013), How to Give a Killer Presentation, available at:https://hbr.org/2013/06/how-to-give-a-killer-presentation/

McConnell, C.A. & Sasse, C.M. (1999), An anticipatory case for managing teams and team projects, Issues in Accounting Education, 14(1), 41-54

 

Isabella Hendriks 

When we started this assessment I did not really know the people in my group, only meeting them briefly in class. However, fortunately we all got along really well and therefore worked together effectively as a group.  In previous group experiences there has been an issue where we would get along as friends, but still there would be certain members who wouldn’t get their amount of work done on time if at all.  However, it didn’t seem to be the case with this group, as although we got along really well as friends, we still came together to do the work that was required.  I like to think that I worked effectively and efficiently within the group dynamic, and was able to embrace other people’s ideas and opinions as well as bringing my own creative ideas.  On the negative side, due to my part time job I found it difficult to find time to come together as a group, therefore having to do some of the work at home without the input of my other teammates.  Also, as a group because we did get along so well we tended to get distracted and therefore had to be strict about our time management and focus on doing the necessary amount of work in the scheduled time.

The case study that we looked at in week 7’s workshop allowed me, and my other group members, to analysis a fictional group dynamic and decide which character we most identify with and come up with ways to face these group dynamic problems if we were to ourselves.  What I learned from this exercise is that I don’t particularly identify myself as having a particular role within a group dynamic, though I know which role I don’t want to take such as the overpowering leader or the last minute slacker.

In the reading from week 9, entitled ‘Building the Team Organisation’, Tjosvold states that “Accomplishing tasks is necessary for organisation but it also helps individuals meet their achievement needs to perform effectively as well as serve other requirements” (Tjosvold 2015, p. 91).  As a group when it came to accomplishing tasks we did it really effectively, as we managed to stay organised in order to efficiently complete the necessary tasks.  Tjosvold also states that “Team members consider feedback and record so that they keep informed of progress and what is necessary for completion” (Tjosvold 2015, p. 91), I believe that because our group did work so well together and it became a comfortable dynamic we were able to give each other constructive feedback that each other would be able to take on board in order to continually develop our ideas.   However, Tjosvold also states that “A team member focuses on one aspect of the team task and completes it, knowing that teammates will complete others” (Tjosvold 2015, p. 92) though with previous group assignments I have done this method, we didn’t really do this for this project. Instead of dividing the workload and each member completing different aspects, we came together as a group and actually did it together. Where some groups this may not have worked, due to one person acting like a dictator and controlling the situation, I believe that this was a good method for this group because of our successful dynamic.

For the next aspect of the project I plan to continue to express my ideas and opinions within the group, as well as taking on any constructive criticism given to me. Overall, my goal is to communicate more and to not be as distracted in the group meeting in order to spend the allocated work time effectively and efficiently.  

Reference List

Tjosvold, M& D, 2015, ‘Strengthen Cooperative Goals’ and ‘Working Open-Mindedly’ in Building the Team Organization,Palgrave Macmillan, London

McConnell, C.A. & Sasse, C.M. (1999), An anticipatory case for managing teams and team projects, Issues in Accounting Education, 14(1), 41-54

 

Alyssa Crawley  

This first stage of the assignment was filled with surprise and fun but also a lot of hard work. After completing this first presentation I am confident that we will be able to create a final presentation that is of a high standard. We have all gotten along really well and this has been a key contributor to the success of our work so far. We completed majority of the work together during group meetings allowed us to gain a good understanding of each other’s speeches and what we were each presenting. By meeting up regularly we were able to clarify any questions we had and were able to bounce ideas off each other so that the work we created was reflective of everyone’s ideas. The teamwork and communication of the group was highly effective and meetings were always very positive, allowing us to all share our ideas. We did however get distracted often within these group meetings, preventing us from being as efficient as possible but in the end we were always able to get the work done.

Personally I feel I brought a strong work ethic to the team and was always able to get work allocated to me done between meetings. This is something that I feel everyone in the group did very well with, allowing us to spend time in the meeting editing everyone’s individual work. I feel that I could definitely improve upon my public speaking skills before the next presentation as I feel that is a big weakness for me. To do this I hope to complete my speech earlier, giving me more time to practice and run through what I am going to say both by myself and with the group before the final presentation.

Through the week 7 teamwork exercise we established that the main fault of the team in the case study ‘Strengthen Cooperative Goals’ and ‘Working Open-Mindedly’ in Building the Team Organization’ was their lack of communication with one another. This lead to them not being on the same page about the workload and what was required therefore this is something we wanted to focus on. Through our online chat and regular meetings we were fairly successful in this. The reading ‘An anticipatory case for managing teams and team projects’ by McConnell and Sasse posted for week 9 also reflects this idea of communication and working together to complete a collaborative piece of work, highlighting just how important it is for us to continue working in the way that we have been for the past two weeks.

In preparation for the next presentation I hope we’re able to continue meeting on a regular basis as this really helped us to develop our ideas. It will also be important for us to finish out speeches earlier so that we have the opportunity to practice and improve our confidence before the final pitch.

Reference List:

McConnell, C.A. & Sasse, C.M. (1999), An anticipatory case for managing teams and team projects, Issues in Accounting Education, 14(1), 41-54

Tjosvold, M& D, 2015, ‘Strengthen Cooperative Goals’ and ‘Working Open-Mindedly’ in Building the Team Organization, Palgrave Macmillan, London.

 

Genevieve Oxley 

I was really happy with the way I managed to condense all of my research into a considered and concise explanation of the key features of my “researched artifact”. Given the strict time constraints, I was very concerned that the quality and details of the information would be lost. Even going into the presentation I wasn’t totally confident that what I was presenting would be sufficient. This experience has taught me that it’s possible to convey ideas and information without having to specifically spell it out to the audience – a misguided notion I acquired at High School, perhaps? I hope that this skill will translate effectively into the second part of this assessment and result in my being able to appropriately contribute to an excellent pitch presentation.

When meeting with the group, I had a tendency to be easily distracted. I enjoy the company of everyone in my group and often found myself indulging in conversation  rather than focussing on the task at hand. My behaviour was distracting to my fellow group members and often impeded productivity; we often had to organise longer group meetings to accommodate for the tangents on which we found ourselves. Going forward, I will focus on directing my attention primarily towards completing the assessment before I allow myself to be distracted.

Another area I would like to work on in the second section of this assessment is the timeliness with which I complete my set tasks. While it wasn’t a serious issue in this first section, I think that completing work sooner, thus allowing other members of the group to access my research and information sooner, could prove to be extremely valuable going forward as it could result in the group having more time to devote to rehearsing the presentation of the pitch.

This is an aspect of the team’s approach to the project which I would like to focus on in this coming section. I have the utmost confidence in everyone’s presentation and public speaking abilities, however I believe that practicing the deliverance of our presentation will be fundamental to our success in this assessment. For this reason, I would like to see more of an emphasis on refining this aspect in the second part of this project.

In order to do this, the group will need to organise one or two group meetings wherein the sole purpose is “rehearsing enough times that the flow of words becomes second nature” (Anderson, 2013) or, at least, conversational and cohesive. For this to be a possibility, we will need to ensure that the research, as well as the refinement and collation of information and ideas is completed early. This could be ensured with the use of a timeline, which I hope to introduce in our next meeting.

Reference List
Harvard Business Review (2013), How to Give a Killer Presentation, available at:https://hbr.org/2013/06/how-to-give-a-killer-presentation/
Accessed: 22/5/2016

 

Elliott Searle

Working on this group project has shed some light onto my participation and roles when working in a team. I’ve identified that I am competent at following due dates and actively participate in group meetings.

As a group, we naturally developed a system of open-minded discussion when it came to group decision making. I believe myself and my teammates felt comfortable and confident to express our ideas and then discuss and develop them into a concept that we all agreed on. From here we were able to implement solutions on ways to execute these ideas. This was something that resonated throughout the week 9 reading, ‘Building the Team Organization’. (Tjosvold 2015)

When we split off to focus on our assigned aspect of work, it was clear that there was a fluidity between our work. My team mate’s influence could be seen through my own individual work and vise Versa, I believe this is a result of our strong group discussion abilities.

This fluidity was reaffirmed today during our first presentation when Gen and I accidentally mix up our speeches for the PR pitch, I believe we improvised and made a coherent pitch outline with the mix up unnoticeable.

I think we work very well as a group and thus far haven’t had any conflict. I am confident that if conflict arises it will be solved in a positive way that will strengthen our work dynamic. Overall I believe strong communication has served as a pillar for our high standard of teamwork.

Although we have experienced a lot of positives to our group dynamic, we obviously have encountered some negatives. As a group, we tended to get distracted, although we complete work to a high standard, it does affect the time it takes to complete tasks. We also realized that  we need to focus on time efficiency and the rehearsal of our presentations.

After establishing our weaknesses, we came up with some solutions to improve. These being that we need to create an agenda for our meetings, as well as create a deadline that allows for presentation rehearsal time.

For the next leg of assignment, in preparation for presentation 2, I wish to continue and maintain our current work ethic and really focus on improving our weaknesses.

Reference List

Tjosvold, M& D, 2015, ‘Strengthen Cooperative Goals’ and ‘Working Open-Mindedly’ in Building the Team Organization,Palgrave Macmillan, London

 

 

 

Final Blog Post. May 22, 2015

Taras Rego

Directly following the completion of the final presentation I felt a sense of relief and satisfaction. Being the last group to present, there was a part of me that just wanted to get it over and done with despite being extremely nervous.

In terms of the actual presentation itself, I believe that our group presented well as a whole. We all spoke fairly clearly with enough charisma in order to sell our pitches. We managed to effectively condense our ideas into a succinct presentation within the time limit (Anderson 2013), which was a feat in itself. Moreover, I think that the content of the presentation was both relevant and extensive.

I believe that we were all fairly nervous despite having already completed the first presentation successfully. Becoming nervous and speaking too quickly is a problem that I would like to work on in future. I hope that I managed to speak clearly, but I would like to improve on my own public speaking skills.

While I believe that the presentation went fairly well, the moments leading up to the presentation itself did not go quite as smoothly. While the group collaborates well as a whole, there were a few problems this time around.

While it can be extremely difficult to organise meeting times with five different people, the communication could have been better. We did manage to meet up a number of times leading up to the presentation. These meetings were very effective as they allowed us to have a clearer understanding of how we were moving towards the final presentation as a whole.

There was a definite lack of organisation as a group. We completely changed our pitch ideas on the Monday the week of the presentation. This meant that we ended up having to work on the presentation on the day of- which is not ideal. However, I do believe that the group made the right decision in choosing to change the ideas. The pitches that we ended up choosing to present were original, thought out and effective ideas.

Unfortunately, I could not be at university on the Monday in which the ideas were changed. However, I was informed of the change on that same day. I do feel that this affected the way in which I contributed to the group, which was unfortunate. Nonetheless, I tried to do as much as I could in order to make up for not being there.

Overall, despite a few mishaps I think that the presentation did go well. Each group member was supportive of others and we collaborated well together. I believe that this aided us in succeeding.

Next time I have a group assignment I would like to be more organised in collaborating with other group members. This being said, the benefits of group work are much more extensive than I previously believed (Tjosvold 2015). I do now have a different view of group work and will possibly view it more positively in future.

References

Harvard Business Review (2013), How to Give a Killer Presentation, available at:https://hbr.org/2013/06/how-to-give-a-killer-presentation/

Tjosvold, M & D, 2015, ‘Strengthen Cooperative Goals’ and ‘Working Open-Mindedly’ in Building the Team Organization, Palgrave Macmillan, London

 

Isabella Hendriks 

After the success of our first presentation, I was filled with a sense of confidence in beginning the next aspect of the project. At this point I had developed a relationship with my group members as I came to know their strengths and weakness and how they complimented my own strengths and weaknesses.  

After the consultation with Jan and Cangie in the Friday workshop, we were feeling pretty discouraged as a group after they both pointed out the flaws in our pitch ideas for Media and Advertising. However, it was after the second consultation in the Monday seminar where we came up with new ideas, that the wheels started rolling. If I had to describe a lighting bolt moment, it occurred after this second consultation were both Jan and Cangie approved of our new ideas.  This new found confidence in our ideas acted as the fuel for our work, however somehow because of this we became less organised as we believed we didn’t need to met up as much; this was a mistake.  

The morning before our first presentation we were confident and truly believed that we would be able to successfully give a solid presentation, but the morning of our second presentation this previous confidence was absent. When we came together in the morning of the presentation we became frantic and stressed due to the nerves we were feeling about presenting in front of another class, and therefore another AirBnB group, and the discovery that there was a mix up in who was saying what for the advertising pitch.  Interestingly, where the stress for the first presentation came from hoping to make the allocated time frame, for the second presentation we didn’t even stress about making the 10 minutes because we were certain that we would be able to make this time.  

This stress and nerves continued to buildup within the workshop as more and more groups began to present and we were not. However although it was annoying that we had to wait to present last, I actually believe that this allowed us to speak better due to the fact that half of the people had left so we had a smaller audience and therefore felt less nervous in the end.  

Overall, I am happy with how our second presentation went down, even with the mess up with the advert mockup, although the frantic behaviour in the morning could had been avoided with better communication and organisation leading up to the Friday workshop. However, our ability to still be able to pull the presentation together and present well, highlighted our strong group dynamic and problem solving skills.  

In the future, I believe that if we were faced with a similar project there are definitely things we could have done differently.  I would begin with the overconfidence that almost turned into cockiness after the first presentation. We lost focus and instead we should have attempted beginning the second presentation with the same determination and organisation as the first.  The other thing I would change for any future group projects would be to really organise who is saying what in the presentation much earlier before the actual presentation, in order to really avoid the unnecessary panic and stress that came the morning before.  

Overall, I am happy with our groups performance and our dynamic, as well as how we worked together as a team, as these are definitely people I would love to work with in the future, which highlights the comfortable environment we created as a group.   

 

Alyssa Crawley  

After completing the final presentation I am extremely proud of the work we were able to achieve and the success of our presentation. After receiving the feedback from the first presentation we were all really proud of the work we had done and in the beginning this lead to us feeling as if we didn’t have to work as hard to complete this next section. This along with other people having other commitments lead us to meet up far less regularly and for the first week we didn’t develop our ideas much at all. However after realising just how far behind we’d gotten we all worked together and met up almost everyday to ensure that our second presentation aligned with the standard of the first. We completed all the work as a group once again, which helped everything to become very fluent and also allowed us to develop ideas that we were confident in. Through critiquing and challenging these in the group meetings we were able to refine our ideas to make them as specific and succinct as possible.

Personally I think my presentation skills improved from the first presentation to the second due to the fact that i was able to practice before presenting. I also feel that I had a much better understanding of what I was saying due to the fact that we had critiqued and challenged our ideas so much and this really helped me to become deliver a more confident presentation.

As a group we never had any problems in a teamwork sense however the morning of the second presentation presented a bit of chaos. Firstly we had the added pressure of having twice as many people to present to and this worried us as we weren’t as confident speaking in front of people we had not presented to before and didn’t know as well as our own class. There was also a little bit of confusion with the advertising pitch as all of our speeches were quite similar and we hadn’t realised until the morning before. We had to therefore rework the speeches in a short amount of time as I’d had class and this left us feeling more nervous but in the end we were able to push through and deliver a presentation that we are all very proud of.
Despite this last minute chaos, I am really happy with the way we worked as a team throughout the entire process and it has definitely allowed me to see the importance of constant communication and good work ethic in order to produce a group assignment of high standard.

 

Genevieve Oxley 

The morning of our presentation was a little bit of a storm in a teacup. We realised that there was too much cross-over in the content presented by the three members of our group (Alyssa, Taras and myself) who were delivering our advertising pitch and spent the morning clarifying who was in charge of which section. This last minute stress left me feeling slightly shaken but by the time our group presented, I was once again feeling calm and excited. In spite of this, I was incredibly happy with the final presentation and have loved every minute of working with this group.

I think we found a better balance between work and chit-chat throughout the second part of this assessment. Though there was some confusion in the advertising section of the pitch, the actual work and presentation materials were completed well in advance of the due date. It was this organisation which I believe resulted in the advertising mishap not being an overwhelming issue as we had the time to effectively address the problem. Last minute issues are sometimes inevitable so even though this issue could have been avoided with more communication, I think that our ability to solve the problem reflects well on our group’s work ethic and problem solving skills.

Given our decision to change our pitch ideas occurred at the beginning of the presentation week, our group had less time than I had hoped to work on the delivery of our pitch. Despite this, I believe it was a worthwhile compromise as our confidence and enthusiasm in our new ideas ultimately resulted in a more refined, genuine and passionate pitch.

If I was given the opportunity to re-do this assessment, there are few things which I would change. On a personal level, I think I need to focus on taking these assessments more seriously in that my tendency to be distracted and distracting continued through the second part of this assessment. Additionally, I need to work on my professionalism when presenting – specifically, I need to improve my control of inappropriate laughter.

With that said, I consider this team and group task to have been the most successful collaborative assignment of the semester and I credit our friendship and ability to enjoy each others company to be the reason for this. I would love to work with these individuals again as I think our dynamic and skills are complementary and resulted in a project which was not only successful but was enjoyable and engaging.

 

Elliott Searle

Following our first presentation, I felt extremely confident in our group and was proud of the way we delivered or research and pitch ideas. This confidence continued at the beginning of the second stage of the project.

After receiving feedback from the first presentation we decided to drop our PR idea and focus on advertising and media.

In the Friday workshop we consulted with Jan and Cangie, after discussing our ideas and receiving feedback, we felt quite disheartened as major flaws in our ideas were pointed out. The following Monday we began discussing new ideas and developing existing ideas. After coming up with new pitch ideas, we again consulted with Jan and Cangie. The feedback we received from them was positive and restored confidence in our ideas.

Our confidence in our teamwork and ideas was misjudged. We lost a certain sense of focus and organization. Before we were diligent with team meetings and completing work, we now found our self in a state of overconfidence, which affected our timeliness and organization.

The morning prior to our final presentation we all felt a feeling of unease and a noticeable lack of confidence was prevalent. As we began to check over the presentation we became aware of minor flaws and confusions which further threw off our confidence. I believe presenting in front of another class also added to our angst.

Upon presentation, I believe we all delivered the best speeches of the semester, we all spoke really well and talk about our ideas with confidence and knowledge. I believe that the presentation ran smoothly due to our ability to adapt and work dynamically as a group, I personally found a relief when presenting due to the support I knew I had from my teammates.

Our evolution as a team is apparent. Over the duration of this project, we developed really great friendships, as well as working relationships.  We began to form a natural working dynamic that felt easy and fluent. My teammates allowed me to produce the best work possible by complimenting my weaknesses and providing me with a platform where I felt confident to express ideas and take positive and constructive criticism.

If we were to continue working as a group, I believe we would only get stronger and develop an immense dynamic and work ethic. We would continue to learn from our mistakes and grow as individual learners, as well as learning what it means to work successfully and productively in a team.

I personally have benefited from working with these wonderful people and have adopted and gained invaluable experience and knowledge. Being able to learn how to function in a team is something that I now find to be essential. What I have learned from working with this group will resonate throughout further group work that I will encounter during university and eventually my working life. I know that working in a team it is a skill that I will need to develop, but I wholeheartedly believe that working in this group has grounded the fundamental principles that are essential for successful teamwork.

 

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