A famous quote made by Napoleon Hill says “It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed.” If you agree with this quote, then it comes as no surprise that LBS puts EMBA participants into groups.
Enrollment to the EMBA program is not based on previous field of study. Participants are from different backgrounds like accounting, engineering, medicine, law, and so on. A group must be balanced so that members can draw from each other’s experience.
As members of a team learn to work together effectively, they not only perform better but the group as a whole performs better. This is essential for creating well rounded graduates. You acquire knowledge and skill even beyond the classroom setting.
Benefits of teamwork
People form strong bonds as they work in teams. This is helpful to introverts in the program who may otherwise coil into their shell. It is easier for people to speak up in smaller groups. Any mistake is before a few people, and can be addressed more effectively. This act of depending on each other draws people closer together.
Teamwork encourages flexibility. You become aware of different perspectives as you review and prepare for lectures together. Most people approach things based on previous experience. This is a self imposed limit and will prevent you from reaching your full potential. Feedback from different perspectives force one to think on their feet and respond in light of these changes.
One can improve their problem solving skills working in teams. Imagine a pharmacist trying to solve an engineering problem. Now imagine that same pharmacist trying to solve the same problem with the help of an engineer. The latter will produce better results and require less effort than the first. It is better to look at a problem with a team of people with diverse skills.
Teamwork boosts productivity. Tasks are broken down into small chunks. Each team member works on a chunk and the results are combined. This is the most effective way to tackle large projects.
Types of Group members
It is not easy to form an effective group. In the part 1 of this blog , we talked about the jollof wars. We saw people who criticized jollof from countries and yet had never tasted it. I would also add that there are people who criticize these foods but cannot make a better version of what they are critiquing. They lay their claim on achievements they have not earned. This behavior appears in all groups, including that of LBS.
Here are some general types of group members.
- Control freak – They want to follow the faculty’s instructions to the letter. They take up multiple parts of any project. They are always willing to lead.
- Slacker (free riders) – They usually do not show up for group meetings and do not participate when around. They also do not respond to communications. Sometimes, you forget their in your group.
- Idea generators – They always give a lot of creative ideas. Some ideas feel disorganized whiles others are unrealistic given the timelines.
- Talkers – They are loud and usually talk over other people unintentionally. They are always chatting about unrelated topics during group discussions. Also, they are friendly and easy to get along with.
- Quite ones – They attend every meeting but never contribute. They complete assigned tasks but prefer not to speak up publicly.
Power of the Cold Call
Most teams start out as a group of individuals. However, an effective team works as if a single unit. So the question is how you turn poor teamwork into good teamwork. One such effective way to achieve this transformation is the cold call.
Typically, the group selects a presenter when given an assignment. Someone who can showcase the efforts of the group in the best light.
On the other hand, LBS does not follow this principle. Faculty pick group representatives at random. Neat huh? Let me tell you how it transformed one of my group members from a slacker to a control freak.
We were given a group assignment to analyze a problem and propose solutions. So we discussed it as a group and came up with the solutions. This particular group member missed the two sessions we held to discuss, as well as the pre-presentation briefing. He also had not read the case on his own. By some odd chance, the faculty called him to present on behalf of the group. You can imagine how that went. After that session, he promised us that he would never miss a group discussion again. He turned up to our next meeting and was the leading contributor.
Such is the cold call. It works wonders. It at least ensures that no one at LBS finished as a slacker.
I cannot speak for all EMBA participants but I can speak for myself. I can assure you that after this program, I will not be one of those fight the jollof war with their mouth. Should I choose to enter the trenches, then it will be will a cooking pot, rice and other essential ingredients.