This project involved creating a strategic report covering all aspects of the operation of the Walt Disney Group. The report entailed drawing on a relatively broad analysis of the workings of the Walt Disney Group, with each member of the team contributing certain parts of the report, before then coming together to undertake an overall analysis.
This reflective statement looks at how I personally worked within the team and any areas that I feel I could improve upon, in the future. The reflective statement will also describe the way in which I worked within the team to assist others and how we dealt with any conflicts which occurred, during the length of the project.
I was personally responsible for specific aspects of the actual research and for writing up the project. At the outset, we sat down with the team to allocate certain areas of work, with a view to meeting regularly to combine our findings and to ensure that the report, as a whole, read as if it were one voice. As the project involved some form of strategic analysis, I was particularly concerned that if each individual simply worked on their own section, it would not come together as a sensible whole (Forsyth, 2009).
I personally felt that I took the lead, when it came to communicating amongst the team and also when ensuring that we met up regularly to discuss progress. I myself as one of the other team members took the lead in arranging these meetings. Whilst this was successful, initially, we soon found that other members of the team were not responding to the suggestion of meetings and were not sending their own work in good time, thus creating difficulties amongst the team and also making it harder for me as an individual to complete my element of the project (Boud & Walker 1993)
If I were to undertake the project again, I would ensure that, from the outset, much greater emphasis was placed on setting out the full scope of each individual’s work assignment, as it quickly became apparent that each individual within the team was relying on others to undertake their part of the report. Therefore, when one individual was failing to keep pace with the rest of the team, this created a much greater problem than simply one person not “pulling their weight”. As a relatively strong individual, I would personally put myself forward as more of a co-ordinator, at the outset, to ensure that this lack of cohesion did not happen in future (Jarboe & Witteman, 1996).
When we encountered difficulties at the end of the project, with one individual not being available in the few days prior to the deadline, I took on another section of the writing in order to ensure that we were then able to meet the deadline, something which put me under increased personal pressure. Based on the problems that we were having, at that point in time, it was the only reasonable solution available; however, better team management, at an earlier stage when it became apparent that some individuals were not going to make the deadline would have prevented such a high level of personal pressure and this additional workload could then have been spread more evenly.
Working with Others and Resolving Conflicts
As noted above, it became apparent, as the project progressed, that there were certain key individuals within the team who were becoming increasingly unresponsive to setting up meeting times and were not presenting their work when requested. This could have put the entire project in jeopardy and was exacerbated when one individual was not available at all, in the few days prior to the deadline. The fact that some of the key individuals were not responding to requests for meetings or submitting their work on-time became apparent midway through the project. Yet, action was not positively taken by myself and the other organising team members who were still responding until just a few days before the deadline (Coleman, 2011). Effectively, our approach to dealing with this matter was to ignore it and simply continue with our own activities, something which potentially jeopardised the project in its entirety.
With a project of this nature, merely ignoring conflict was not an option. Furthermore, although regular negotiations were attempted by suggesting meeting times, communication between team members had already broken down. In reality, this conflict could have been resolved, at the outset, before any difficulties emerged, by setting out a team leader who was going to be responsible for keeping everybody on track and ensuring that the meetings took place as arranged. As soon as it became apparent that the timeframe for the project was not being kept, the appointed team leader could then have taken a more aggressive stance to ensure that such failings did not jeopardise the overall project. It was arguably this failure that was instrumental in creating a last-minute panic and rush.
Individual Improvement for the Future
Bearing all of this in mind, I feel that my own areas for improvement, in the future would be to take a much more active stance, in terms of project management, from the outset (Schon 1996). I would also ensure that all team members complied with the timeframes set out. I became personally aware that there were difficulties with communication and timeframe, at a relatively early stage, yet I largely chose to ignore this in the hope that matters would improve of their own accord. This approach led to me personally being put under considerable pressure, towards the end of the project and, as such, my own individual performance was not as good as it could have been, particularly with the last section of the project being rushed, over a period of 2 to 3 days. I therefore feel that I could have improved my own personal performance by taking a much more active role in project management. This would enable me to ensure that each individual was working within the timeframe and I was not required to rush during the last few days of the project, potentially sacrificing the quality of the work.
Boud D & Walker D (1993) Barriers to Reflection on Experience. In Boud D,. Cohen R & Walker D. Using Experience for Learning. Buckingham: Society for Research into Higher Education & Open University Press.
Coleman, P (2011). The Five Percent: Finding Solutions to Seemingly Impossible Conflicts. Public Affairs. New York, p.26
Forsyth, D. R. (2009). Group dynamics (5th ed.). Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole.
Jarboe, S. C., & Witteman, H. R. (1996). Intragroup conflict management in task-oriented groups: The influence of problem sources and problem analysis. Small Group Research, 27, 316–338.
Schon D. (1996). From Technical Rationality to Reflection in Action, In: Edwards, R., Hanson, A., and P Raggatt (eds) Boundaries of Adult Learning, London, Routledge.
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