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This log should be 1 A4 side. Based on your previous SWOT analysis, devise at least five concrete strategies (protocols/recipes) to tackle your weaknesses, minimise the threats and make the most of the opportunities. For each strategy, do not forget to outline the goal and how you will evaluate whether it has worked or not.
The first weakness I have in my SWOT analysis is that I find it hard to focus when too much time is given on a piece of work. The point of time management also falls into this strategy. The strategy to deal with these weaknesses in order for me to be able to complete the literature review on time would be to arrange meetings with my supervisor, tutor or friends so that they can read through the work I have done and provide me with some feedback. This will allow me to read some literature review and journals so that I will be able to produce small draft of my work each week or every other week. This will give me the encouragement I will need to be able to start early and to focus on small deadlines each week will also help me to remain focused for a longer time and hopefully in the end I will have my finished piece of work. Another strategy is to take opportunity of the schedule I have at the moment, which is really scattered, with many breaks in between lectures and mostly short days, as a consequence of this I can take the opportunity to go to the library and do some work during the few hours I have in between lectures. In this way it will help me to focus on my work and give me time during the weekend to be with my friends and avoiding them as a factor of distraction when I am actually doing work during the weekends.
Having English as a second language can make some aspect of the literature review a little bit more difficult, especially when it comes to the grammar and use of specific scientific terms. However, knowing other languages also gives me and advantage over those who only speaks English. Knowing other languages gives me a wider range of resources in which I can use as background knowledge or as a primary source of information for my literature review. These resources could be acquired through the university library or sources back home in Sweden where I come from. However, to improve my English I will have to read more review articles and journals to pick up on the specific terms and language that are used in this type of articles. Also there are many resources available at the university where I can seek help to improve my writing skills as well as grammar. But the easiest way to improve my English is to use the language daily and read more books and articles in order to learn the writing style and the style of language that is most appropriate for this type of work.
So goal is to reduce the amount of distractions:
- Do my work when I am at the University and not back home. By doing so I reduce the aspect of noisy neighbours, help me to focus on the work that I am required to do. This will also give me more time during the weekend to meet up with friends.
- Set up targets to reach each week and reward myself once the goal has been reached. This can be achieved through arrangement with my tutor, supervisor or even family members to help me read through my work and give me feedback.
- Plan my work. Another weakness I had was that I always jump into conclusions and start to do my writing without an actual plan. So by having to do small pieces of work for each week forces me to plan ahead in order for me to know what I have to do.
- Read more review articles and journals to improve my scientific writing skills.
This log should be up to 2 A4 sides. Here are some suggested starter questions: how effective are your existing time management skills? How do you manage your time? Are you using any tools? How have you managed conflicting deadlines in the past? How did you manage to remain focused on long-term tasks, e.g. the dissertation? What are your strategies for tackling the workload in LSEP and Year 3?
These are questions to help prompt your analysis. Please write an integrated argument (i.e. do not answer the questions one by one) and for the strategies, possibly look for new tools to experiment with.
In the past time management was considered as one of my stronger skills, I was always able to finish my assignments on time and I was always able to finish it a few days prior the actual deadline. This enabled me to have plenty of time to look through the work, so that any necessary adjustments and correction could be done in order to improve the existing piece of work. This was achievable through planning ahead, where the amount of work that was required to do was compared to the date that the assignment had to be handed in and a schedule was set out telling me the amount of work I had to do each day for the coming week.
However, things are not the same any longer, as mentioned in my SWOT analysis time management has become one of my weaknesses; assignments are left to the last minute and more then often there is not be enough time left for me to look through the essay that has been written. This is mostly due to laziness rather than lack of time, because at the moment there is more than enough time for me to do my assignments, to do some extra reading on my units as well as writing my literature review. The main problem is that, it feels like if there is too much time, as mentioned in the SWOT this is one of the threats I am facing is to remain focused on a task when the deadline is so far ahead. Although I am realizing that in reality there is not as much time left as I am imagining it to be, soon the feasibility study is due followed by the literature review and then the poster and on top of this I also need to do revision for January exams. At the moment my time management is poor because a direct plan to tackle my work has not been set up and without a plan it is not possible to have a clear structure of the day to let me know how much work I need to do each day in order to meet the deadlines. Even though my time management is poor I have not missed a deadline yet, the main issue is that I tend to leave work to the last minute and more than often the work is done rapidly so that the deadline will not be missed. By not having a direct plan of how to use my time, I tend to do what a feel like during that moment. Unfortunately most of the time is spent on none work related things such as the internet, games, movies and seeing my friends. Occasionally I do find that tiny motivation that is required to focus my time on the work that I should be doing and often when this motivation is found I could be quite productive.
In the past there were often no conflicting deadlines, this was because during high school we were able to negotiate the deadline of our assignments or exams if the due date was too close to each other or if they occurred at the same day we could usually change the date for one of the assignments giving us time to prepare for both assignments. However, this was not always the case, the way I was dealing with conflicting deadlines was the way that I was mentioning before, a plan of the week was mapped out allowing me to see the amount of work that I was required to do and stating the different deadlines and prioritising the work that needs to be done first and always finish the assignment a few days before the deadline giving me time to go through what I have done and if required make the corrections that are necessary. This gave me a clear structural view of the time line that was left to the due date and was comparable to the amount of work that was left to do.
Mentioned earlier to remain focused on a long-term task is one of my weaknesses. In the past there was a similar long-term assignment like the LSEP, where our subject or area of research was set by ourselves and there was the option to work alone or in groups ranging from two to four members. This task was carried out for an entire semester and the assessment contained a presentation as well as a literature review. The way I was able to remain focused and get the highest mark available was that it was a team effort. Me and my partner was pushing each other when someone lost motivation, some days I felt very motivated and wanted to work really hard on the project and other days I felt less motivated. But by having a partner we were able to motivate each other when someone was not pulling the weight enough. We were also discouraged by students in the year above us when we went to their presentation to leave things to the last minute due to the amount of work that was required to do, this acted as a driver for me and my partner to start of early preventing us leaving everything towards the end.
However, to remain focused for the dissertation done in the previous year was a bit more difficult for me. The reason for this was that I was doing this on my own and there was no one to motivate me the days I was feeling less motivated. But our supervisor had set a few small deadlines in which a small piece of work had to be submitted for him to look at and we also had to prepare a presentation on the topic of our dissertation, so by having small targets to reach helped me to stay motivated for a longer time.
It is only recently I am starting to see the reality of how things are at the moment, the fiction that I have telling me that there is plenty of time remaining for the different pieces of work is no longer true. In order for me to deal with the workload will have to be through planning, setting up targets and reading list that I have to complete each week. To help me stay motivated and preventing me from just studying without having any social life could be giving me a small reward once each milestone for each week has reached. Another way which I am using now is to get a few study friends and head to the library together and keep each other company and help to motivate each other to study. By doing so, it keeps me motivated and focused on my study as well as I will not miss out on socializing with my friends. Individual team performance and Belbin's role (S, I)
According to Belbins model, my main role is being the implementer in my team and being a plant, monitor/evaluator or a team worker was my secondary role. During the course of team meetings and various team activities I have been able to see some resemblance of my actions to the description that was described by Belbin for each individual role. However, some of the descriptions that were given were a better match than others. As seen in the table above that the role in the group I have taken is just a participant in all the session, this is because that during our meetings and activities we tend not to have someone that is the chair person and everyone will take part and make sure that the task is done as efficient as possible and that we do not get off track. So in other words everyone is the chair person and everyone is the participant.
During the Xing activity I took on the role as evaluator/monitor and to some extend a specialist role. Because of the business units I have taken I had a slightly broader knowledge on the processes that occurs in a business environment and the importance of each of this process, it enabled me to explain why a certain department or process should be put into the earlier phase rather than the later. How we went about to solve the task was that we chose the most important activities from each area and placed them out rather than going through each and every card from each area. An example of a scenario that appeared during the task was that a team member decided that one of the marketing activity should be placed in the late phase, this person was however just thinking about the marketing of the final product, however I believed that marketing should be placed in the earlier stages before the product was out, where my argument was that the company had to make the market aware of the company and to strengthen our brand within the market and analyze the market demand. However, the main role I had during this task was monitoring and evaluating, looking at the big picture of the business world and evaluating each process and put them in order of occurrence. Even though we worked well as a team and was able to complete most of the task during that session, I thought that I could have been more active and engaged more to the task through discussion. The part of being more active and talkative will be areas in which I need to improve in. But it will not be something that I can just do over a day; it will be something that I have to work on for some time. I am the type of person that rather listens to what the team has to say and from that I find a solution to the problem. However if no one in the group makes an effort I tend to come out of my comfort zone and take charge to make sure that the task is done properly. This could be considered as one of my weaknesses which in some cases it is, but other time it could be or can be used to my advantage. This allows me to be able to pickup information quickly and analyze it, before a solution to the problem is presented. This will give solutions that are more feasible and more likely to be used, rather than just throwing out ideas that might not be useful. This could also be beneficial for the team where there are a few listeners and not just the leadership type, where everyone wants to talk causing a conflict in the team.
During the Christmas dinner task I was able to take on a more active role and I was also more motivated than what I was for the Xing activity. For this task, the role I took had some features of being an implementer, where I was able to take an idea into action as well as being more organized. Here I was the one that organized the recipes according the time it took to make and prepare the food, starting from the ones that could be prepared in advance followed by the one that required the most amount of time to the least time consuming dish. By sorting them into categories of the amount of time that was required gave us a brief overview of the time line and made the planning a lot easier as well as to find the relevant information when it was needed to be put into the detailed plan. How we went about to deal with this task was that we decided that we should work backwards, starting from the day of the dinner. We estimated the amount of time that would be required for the guest to finish their starter, main and dessert. From this we derived our timetable and plan for our preparations. Although the team work was great, we were not able to work sufficient enough to complete the task completely; we had the idea but just not enough time to put all the details down on paper. I thought that my contribution to the team was greater than the Xing activity, where I was less motivated and for that reason were not able to communicate and bring my all to the task. During the task I was able to interact with the team more by discussing and reflecting on ideas about how to deal with the task. However, I was able detect a lack of leadership role for this task and occasionally the team drifted off topic and wasted time to brief each other on deadlines that were coming up instead of focusing on the task in hand. By seeing this problem I should have stepped in and taken control to direct the team back on track. To improve on this weakness I could try to be the chairperson and step out of my comfort zone and take charge. Also by interacting and socializing with the team outside the university could strengthen the relationship more and make it easier to tell somebody off.
In conclusion, the main problem I am having is that I am a bit withdrawn and prefers to be the one in the background when too many people want to take charge. However, I have the ability to take charge and get the task done if no one in the group does so. The thing that I should improve on would be to find a balance between being the quite one and the one that interacts a lot and are energetic. What could be done on this would just to practice my interpersonal skills, by interacting with people more and get to know the team members better. This could be done through social events outside the university, where the team meets up for an event like dinner or a few pints of beer. Overall I believe that my and my teams' contribution has been good so far, but there is always room for some improvements. The improvements could be done on areas like organization, where we should be a bit more organized and update each other on our individual avenues more often and arrange frequent meetings with our supervisor.Title: Individual Reflection on team Action Planning.
Your task is to answer the questions below. This time, we do not expect an integrated written piece; please consider each question in turn.
Your analysis should consider the following points and provide examples to illustrate what was satisfactory or areas for improvement:
- Did you achieve the assigned tasks in the time allocated?
- Are you satisfied with the team products?
- Were the meetings run effectively? How did you function if some of your team members were unable to attend the meetings?
- Were the tools and processes in place (e.g. ground rules, minute template, agenda, communication outside meetings...) appropriate?
- Review your individual performance: Did you contribute satisfactorily to the team? Did you perform effectively? Did you play to your strengths? How would you improve next time?
- Now review the team's performance: Is everyone contributing equally (please consider overall performance, i.e. before, during and after meeting)? Is the team playing to its strengths with the approach your team is currently using?
- Did the team work together in a harmonious fashion?
- Were there/can you foresee any potential conflicts?
This log is about analysing your current and potential role within the team with reference to either the Belbin model or an alternative model. The aim is to identify your strengths and weaknesses and devise strategies to maximize your potential within that particular team?
To help with your analysis, you will need to reflect back on the role(s) you played during the various team exercises set in LSEP and if useful other recent team situations. Using this information and the Belbin document, you will then develop strategies to improve/maintain your individual performance within the LSEP team for the remainder of the project. Your analysis and strategies should take into account the other roles present in the LSEP team, especially potential redundancies, gaps and conflict of characters.