Tracy Gojdics, Director
As you probably know, students in the TMMBA program are assigned to study teams of 4-5 people. One question that I often get is, “how do you form the study teams?” I’d be lying if I told you that we had the perfect formula for creating the teams, but our method has worked reasonably well thus far.
Method for creating study teams:
1. New students are required to complete and submit a learning styles and personality-type assessment. Of course the output of the assessment is only as good as the input so it is important to answer the questions honestly. One way this information might be used includes – ensuring a team has a good balance between “introvert” and “extravert” tendencies or that the team is balanced in their ability to feel comfortable with ambiguity.
2. In combination with the above step we want to also make sure there is diversity in each team with respect to companies and job functions, i.e. no team shall consist of all software engineers from ABC Company.
3. Next look for geographic situations that might be an issue. For example we would not put an Everett person with a Tacoma person as this could make for difficult meeting logistics.
4. Lastly, we take a look and make sure that the composition (based on what we know of people) makes sense.
Are most teams success, i.e. high-functioning, collaborative and adaptable? Yes. What is the secret to their success? Open Communication, honest communication, continual communication and a mutual respect for each other. What do I mean by communication (after all I stated it 3x!)?
The exchange of thoughts, information, and ideas. The process of being thoughtfully direct and upfront with regard to issues, conflicts, concerns and praise. A system such as email, in-person, phone or IM for sending and receiving messages so that everyone is on the same page with projects and deadlines.
There you have it – the formula for creating teams and the formula for a successful team!