Conservation Entrepreneurship/group dynamics

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Group Dynamics[edit | edit source]

One of the key themes of the course is working together effectively in groups. In fact, the class project can be seen as a laboratory of a group working together to create a common product (similarly, the course is a whole is a group project of sorts).

One of the techniques we used in class last week (March 18) was to "mentally create" (Covey Habit 2) the group project. We each envisioned what a successful final project would look like, then shared our visions with each other. I was pleasantly surprised by how much convergence there was, in particular a shared vision of the link between jaguar research and the ecotourism venture. But there were some different perspectives presented, such as more or less focus on people's participation -- it was valuable to get these different views on the table and thus work together to develop a shared vision.

Another technique of team building that we used was to each respond to the question: "Have you ever been on a great team?". We each thought about and shared some positive team experiences, trying to identify what made those teams "great" -- and then reflected on how we could bring in some of those approaches to our group interaction. The common themes that I heard us bring up were trust and shared responsibility. The trust allowed team members to contribute individually, with confidence that others would do the same. This allowed different individuals to contribute according to their own strengths.

A final technique we used was to do a quick evaluation of the meeting at the end. We each independently assessed the meeting on a scale of 1 (very dissatisfied) to 7 (it was a great meeting). We converged on 5s and 6s, which was nice. The technique would be especially helpful if there were some outliers (e.g. one 2 among the 5s and 6s) which could be a basis of discussion. It seems that the generally positive view was based on everyone contributing to the discussion, being fairly focused in the discussion, and covering quite a few related topics.

Class Observations[edit | edit source]

Please make signed comments here about any observations you have about group dynamics of our team as we go forward.

I felt good about the initiation of our group work that day. I stated in class, and I would like to reiterate, that we have a very capable group with diverse and very complementary talents and virtues. The most important thing seems to be the discussion of expectations as well as our individual goals (this could fall into the Seek to understand before being understood concept). In openly discussing these goals and motivations, our natural predisposition to certain aspects of the project seem to be naturally coming out into the open, making delegation of responsibility much easier and less arbitrary. That more natural flow seems to me to be an assurance, of sorts, that the ultimate quality of our work as a group will be greater as well as the ease and pleasure with which the work is done. This supports what Drucker and Dees talked about in reference to management and using peoples' innate creativity and abilities to maximize productivity. Talking out the stages and needs of the project has been a great way to horizontally manage responsibilities and lead us forward in a more fluid manner- although discussions are always less practical than our individual mental framework since we have to come together and create seams in our individual processes in order to make a larger "quilted" framework from which we will organize ourselves. I look forward to it. I think the exercise will result in a great product as well as leave all of us with lasting tools and impressions that will serve us indefinitely. I will keep reporting back on the process as it develops. ~Mira

Emiliano 19:42, 24 March 2009 (UTC) I think that there is a good energy in the group in the sense that everyone listens, gives opinions and participates actively. There is also a lot of complementarity in terms of knowledge, skill, background and experience. We have a great team of independent pro-active individuals that are working in a interdependent away to achieve the goal of creating a conservation entrepreneurship model. In my view our major obstacle is going to be how efficiently we manage our individual and collective time. As all of us are very busy during the semester. If we can do that a fantastic outcome is inevitable.