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Reflection on Sustainability Team Project

By :
Suyash Kumar
Student # 213524897

September 4, 2014. That was the day I stepped into the room assigned to my team B2.
I was a little nervous with anticipation. Working with a team has always made me a little
nervous. All sorts of questions kept popping inside my head - Will they like me? Will I like
them? Will I be bossed around too much? How well will we be able to work together? All
my doubts as I would find out in the next few days were completely unfounded and
what ensued was an experience in learning, teamwork and professionalism that was
unlike anything I had experienced before in my professional or school life. This is a
reflection of how team B2 worked together successfully to present an effective
presentation and report on sustainability specific to a certain company for the MGMT
5150 course and also of how massive a learning experience it was for me both at an
individual level and as a team-player.
First day of working together for the launch week presentation. I remember that we had
three hours per day for two days to come up with an effective presentation. Kendra,
Craig, Cristina, Lincy, Isi and I, we clicked so well together that we literally complemented
each other in terms of functioning. All of us had different backgrounds and that helped
in terms of diversity of thought and method of research. I learnt that I was very good
with finding numbers and crunching them to come up with relevant information that we
could use to make an effective impression. Those two days or more specifically 6 hours
of preparation gave me a lesson in time management. My team members who were
truly Mean machines of efficiency set an example.
In the subsequent weeks, as we worked more with each other and got more acquainted
with each other, our bond as a team grew stronger. As a team we came up with quite a
detailed team contract which laid out all the formal points about being professional for
the 5150 project - attending all meetings punctually, informing everyone in a timely
manner if a member is unable to attend, delivering assigned deliverables on time and
the method of solving a conflict among team members. It also laid out some informal
activities like the team getting together regularly to hangout. I learnt from this how
important taking care of every detail is for the proper functioning of a team.
I found myself a little stumped initially about what would go into the project and my
team members had a similar problem. We all had a wide array of ideas about the issues
that had to be addressed. We all brainstormed and made notes of issues that the project
was about. Our first meeting with the professor cleared up a lot of things. The concept
of Divergent and Convergent questions truly aided me and the team in homing in on
the main issue that we addressed in the project.
Sure there were times when we had ideas which conflicted with each other but we saw
these as constructive conflicts where a proper discussion would ensue as opposed to a
heated argument. Everyones inputs were given equal preference and what the majority

agreed upon would be accepted as the teams decision. This type of team democracy
was completely opposite to the dictatorial way of working that I had experienced in my
professional life where the mantra was The Manager is Always Right. I learnt about
respecting everyones views and also about how important effective communication is in
a team. Ego clashes happen and must be dealt with in a civilized manner.
I also learnt about the importance of staying focussed on the task at hand. Often I would
find myself digressing from the topic of discussion but some team members always
made sure that I got back on track but in a very gentle manner without being rude. That
is one lesson I learnt, rudeness only creates bad blood. Being polite makes the other
person feel respected.
I wasnt too inclined on doing peer reviews but the team decided that it has to be done.
Now I think there couldnt have been a better call because constructive feedback is a
step forward towards self-improvement and Im glad my team recognized that.
In conclusion, this was a huge learning experience and Im glad this course is mandatory
in Schulichs MBA course.