Whilst reading various sources on the importance of reflecting after an experience I came across some wise words, that of Aitchison and Graham cited in Stoobants et al (2007:30) that say, “We do not learn from experience. Experience has to be arrested, examined, analysed, considered and negotiated in order to shift it to knowledge”. With these words in mind I began to see why it is important to reflect on my first MBA assignment.
I see the MBA course as a learning journey, it is through reflecting on my past experiences that I will easily identify my strengths and weaknesses and thus easily identify areas that I should concentrate on developing during my MBA journey. In this assignment you will read about an experience that happened during the early stages of my career as a manager. I will analyse and discuss how this experience has led to where I am today and how it has affected my plans going forward in both my personal and working life.
This was in year 2010. I was asked to act in the role of Management Accountant as my manager at that time resigned. I was then already hungry for more challenges and so I gladly accepted without hesitation as I was determined to prove that I am ready for it. Later that day it suddenly dawned on me that it was going to be challenging with the many vacancies in the team (Refer to Appendix 1 for the team structure). With this challenge in mind, I rearranged the team in order for it to work better. We embarked n the annual budget process later that year which did not go well as we did not complete the budget presentation within the stipulated timelines, did not get to analyse the critic all the numbers thoroughly and as a result the region was not ready for presenting the annual budget on time to Head Office.
Post the experience below are the key things that I took out of that experience that I thought would enable me to manage teams better going forward: * Ensure that adequate training on the system is provided and requesting the business to provide more IT support people even outside of business hours during the budget process. Learn to lead and delegate and know that I cannot juggle my role and others as I can only achieve so such myself as I was doing most of the work that needed to be done by the Financial Planner: Benrose. * Seek advice from manager and not be afraid to ask for coaching. * Plan better around the timelines to take into account inexperience of some of my team members e. g. Plan a trial run presentation * Be more assertive as I realised that as a manager I could have negotiating additional resources since our headcount was lean so as not to compromise our deliverables.
After having been through my first workshop at Henley, I liked Belbin (1981)’s team role model that was presented and in his book where he goes on to look at why management teams succeed or fail which I ironically discovered lying in my parents study and till now never bothered to even look at. He identifies 9 team roles in 3 categories. The action orientated people (Shapers, Implementers and Complete finishers). The thought orientated people (Co-ordinators, Teamworkers and Resource investigators).
The last group are the people orientated (Specialists, Monitor evaluators (MEs) and plants). Had I applied his model to understand my team dynamics prior to starting the budget process, I would have seen that I had gaps in key roles that prevented us from completing the task on time. Please note the below roles assigned to my team members are just based on my own perception based on how I know them not based on the questionnaire that is normally completed. AFP – Implementer and Resource Investigator (She was the organiser for the team and was good at providing new knowledge or something new discovered whilst working on the new system and she would share it with the rest of the team) * FP Midrand – Plant and Resource Investigator (He was creative and generally looked at issues, he was cheerful and enthusiastic individual but was easily distracted and would want to start looking at new things without completing a task) * Me – Specialist and Monitor Evaluator.
These were my top 2 roles from the results of the questionnaire I completed for my first workshop at Henley. I was a specialist in the team because I had more knowledge of the business and finance than my team. In retrospect, I would have been able to easily match the correct people with the rights tasks. I also could have put plans in place to ensure the following:
* I had no shaper in the team. Belbin describes a shaper as generally someone able to drive a team and give direction – not having this I think contributed to us missing the deadline. So in requesting additional resources (e. . a temp person the business would have allowed) I could have ensured that I selected someone who is a shaper or developed more of shaper qualities in myself. * As we did not get to critically analyse the numbers prior our submission, if we had someone strong on being a completer finisher in the group chances of us submitting quality information would have been high as this role is effectively used at the end of a task, to “polish” and scrutinise the work for errors. I would definitely use this to my advantage going forward in my team tasks going forward.