Educational Statement- Teamwork and Innovation
Throughout the course of my life I have held many different positions in several fields. I’ve worked in the service industry, banking, health care and I’m currently Operations Coordinator for a defense contractor. I have a lot of experience working with teams, some of them more effective than others. I learned something from each experience and have implemented those lessons in my current position. I thought this would be an excellent opportunity for me to demonstrate my prior learning for Teamwork and Innovation. Throughout my portfolio, I will outline the course objectives and how my experiences over the last 20 years in the workforce has helped me to meet these objectives.
After spending two years at home with my children I made the decision to finish my college degree. It had been a goal of mine for many years and I felt I was ready to make it a priority. Around that time, I was approached by a family friend who is running a company in the defense industry. She was looking for someone to come in to the office in an administrative capacity and help them organize their day-to-day operations and implement some of the basic things a company needs to be effective and productive that they had missed in the early days of establishing the company.
Within six months I had decided I really liked the company and could see myself their long term but knew I wouldn’t be satisfied in my current role for much longer. I thought about what I really enjoyed doing and the kind of work environments I had enjoyed in the past. The common thread for me was that I worked best and learned the most when I was part of a team. In health care I was part of a team that consisted of Doctors, nurses and the patients themselves and we had a common goal of getting the patient healed and out the door. I had a rotating list of teammates depending on who was on call and learned the best ways to work with whichever team I was in for my 12-hour shift. Understanding the dynamics of how 30 different people worked together in ever changing groups with sick and injured patients was a steep learning curve but was an environment I thrived in and enjoyed.
Within my new role I wanted to be part of a team again. I had been hired in an office administrator capacity and wore several different hats but wasn’t really part of any one department. In deciding what I wanted my role to be I knew that working with a strong team leader was important and team members I respected and could learn from was a priority. I decided that the operations Department would be a good fit and volunteered to head up a project implementing a new ERP system within the company and training all the employees in the new system. The president of our company agreed, and my position was created. I admit that I had a much better insight into the company’s teams, as I’d seen how they worked together and had the opportunity to pick the team I felt I would work well with. The team had already gone through forming, storming, norming, performing and were comfortable with one another. I took some time to understand the way they worked together and the biggest lesson for me was learning how they communicated with each other and how I needed to slow down and listen.
Within our company, teams are used in a very straightforward way. The production team produces, the integration team integrates. We’ve got software developers and sales reps. It’s all very clear cut and straightforward. Each team lead is part of the leadership team, which reports to the CEO. Each team is an integral part of the mission and if one team is failing it affects the company. Within the Operations department collaboration and creativity is encouraged. My boss supports any new ideas and works with team members to use their time in the most “productive and efficient” use of each person’s time. He focuses on our individual strengths and encourages cross training so there is a general knowledge across the department. Within the team itself, I oversee big internal projects. For example, in December we began the implementation of a new ERP system, which will completely change the way we do business. I was given control on how I wanted to carry out the management and training with the expectation that I would report honestly about my experience and as for help as needed. I worked with team leaders to establish the best way to approach training within each department and worked with my boss to create individual departmental training programs based on the team leaders’ feedback.
The steps I wanted to take were building the team, motivating them, encouraging new ideas, and guiding them to the end goal. Understanding that dictating direction or attempting to establish authority would ultimately hurt the team I was trying to create was an easy lesson. The difficult part was taking each person’s ideas and learning styles into account while traying to maintain my own goals and timelines. Being conscious of other expectations, letting unimportant details go and actively listening are aspects of myself that I am still working on in order to be the best team member I can. While I work well with everyone on and off my team company wide, having a strong understanding of my own behaviors and goals will help me work well with any team in business and in life.