Working On A Team
In this blog I will detail two experiences I have had in working on a team. The first experience was at work several years ago, it was an operation that ran very smoothly and had many people involved. The second experience was not as successful, I was on a committee for a student organization that had to organize a large event however the process did not run smoothly.
The first experience was at the supermarket where I worked, it was the day before Christmas (the day of Christmas Eve) and the company had an extremely large number of catering and pick-up orders. The company's typical procedure for catering and pick up was not designed to run on such a large scale and as such they had to adapt to a different system for the day. Many employees received roles different than they were used to or were in different departments than usual. There was a new system of supply chain in which one department would work to record orders, send them to another department for preparation, then another department would pick up the orders and put them in storage or prepare them for delivery. This was all done on a very short time frame due to the perishable nature of the product combined with a vast quantity of orders. The operation was very high-paced and the customers in this situation had very low tolerance for mistakes because it was the holidays. The company designed an excellent system to meet these demands and department managers selected apt employees to perform new roles, it mostly went off without any issues and almost all customers were satisfied except for a few difficult ones. It was certainly a stressful operation but due to the high-pace there was no time for complaining or bickering. Every department was appropriately staffed and stocked with correct inventories. Overall, it was a success but certainly a stressful and exhausting day for all the people involved.
In another experience I was involved with a project for a student organization in which I had to work on a committee to organize a large event for several hundred people. There was a short time frame in which it needed to be organized and it had many facets. First we needed to collect money from group members for the budget, we then had to plan out the schedule for the night, purchase all goods and rent out spaces, notify everyone of the plan, and finally make sure it ran smoothly the night of. Everybody on the committee had other commitments and schoolwork that week and the success of the event wasn't everyone's top priority. This was one aspect that added tension to the process. Another aspect that made it difficult was people didn't have assigned roles it was just a general planning committee. As the event got closer, it was up to us to motivate other club members to help set up the actual event which was very difficult as they did not believe they had a mandate to assist. A major source of tension was bickering over distribution of the budget and how it should've been spent. Many people disagreed on what should have been purchased and in what amounts.
In the end the event was satisfactory but it did not reach its potential. There were many issues with efficiency, budgeting, and general planning and preparation. Tensions were high and stubborn personalities did not help. The fact that the organization was more informal may have contributed to this. In a workplace setting where your job and source of income may be on the line if you fail at your task, there is much more motivation to succeed. I believe that is the primary difference between the success of the first example and the mediocrity of the second example. Many of the committee member's priorities that week were unrelated to the event and because of this it took a back-seat to most other things in their lives.