Teams and more Teams

(Disclaimer: I feel that I should mention that this blog is purely analytical; I do not harbour any resentment or other negative feelings to any of my team members. I trust that everyone tried their best and that’s good enough for me; even if that isn’t reflected in the rest of this blog.)

To date, I feel that our team has been reasonably effective, though there is room for improvement. We work well together and build off of each other but our time management coordination has been a bit below optimal. We also faced the issue of a few team members being either unable or unwilling to participate.
While these problems keep us from being a particularly effective or great team, those members who were actively part of our team were able to pull through and accomplish our goals. As such I would not say that our team is ineffective as we still completed the tasks that were set out for us.
We overcame these problems by clearly communicating with each other and re-delegating the workload to the more active team members. I myself am guilty of missing the first of our meetings in which we wrote our report. To help make up for this, I went through the entirety of what had already been written, checking for errors and potential areas of improvement. I continued to do this right up until we declared our report to be finished.

If every member of our team was motivated and dedicated, continued communicating and delegating effectively and if we improved on our team’s collective time management; then I believe that we would be a great team.

Having an effective and efficient team is always important, whether it be in our current COM502 class, our overall certificate, diploma or degree, as well as any potential future employment.
Completing any task in a timely fashion (on time or earlier), while keeping the work to the highest standard possible (within the giving time), is crucial to what makes a team effective and efficient.
In the current COM502 class and overall programme, how well or poorly a team performs will reflect on how they are graded. In future employment, worst case, someone loses their job or doesn’t get the job in the first place. Being a good team player is very important to being an effective team, and being an effective team is very important in the industry of today. As such it’s also very important in COM502 as well as the overall programme/s, since they are designed to prepare and educate you for the industry.

By Frank Schulz – 24/05/2020

Te Tiriti – The Treaty of Waitangi

The purpose of the Treaty of Waitangi, signed on the 6th February 1840, was to bring New Zealand under British Governorship, while respecting current Māori land use (I say land use because Māori culture is against the ownership and trade of land). Additionally Māori would become British subjects, and gain the appropriate rights.

The major players involved in the formation of the Treaty of Waitangi were:
Royal Navy officer Captain William Hobson, Hobson’s secretary James Freeman, and British Resident James Busby. These three found themselves responsible for writing the Treaty, and had to do so without a draft document prepared by lawyers or Colonial Office officials.
The fourth major player was Henry Williams who, with the help of his son (Edward Marsh Williams), translated the Treaty of Waitangi into Māori.

The first declaration, written by James Busby, was signed on the 28th October 1835 at Waitangi by himself and 35 Māori chiefs from the North Island. It was written, following a plea from thirteen far north Rangatira (major chiefs) to King William IV, to ask for assistance in guarding their land.

The Treaty of Waitangi Act (1975) is what caused the Treaty of Waitangi to be recognised as New Zealand law. It also established the Waitangi Tribunal which was tasked with the investigation of potential violations by either the New Zealand government or any state controlled body, with regards to the Treaty of Waitangi.

As an IT consultant within a large New Zealand Government organisation, I would need to (where appropriate) take Māori rights and values into account. Potentially communicating with Māori directly to insure that any potential breaches to the Treaty are dealt with before they are made.

A team leader within a New Zealand government department, managing a large group of people (including some Māori), needs to take into account these three things for acting within the Treaty of Waitangi’s framework:
Participation, Protection and Partnership.
Participation means that all Māori involved must be giving opportunities and rights equal to those of non-Māori working in the same area.
Protection relates to Māori culture and values; the team leader must see to it that their department is a safe multi-cultural environment.
Partnership is the department working alongside relevant iwi (Māori “people” or “tribe”) in order to (among other, department specific, things) uphold the requirements from the Treaty.

By Frank Schulz – 23/05/2020

Team Bonding

My team participated in both the “Bamboo Stick” and “Blindfold” activities. In both cases I believe that communication between us was effective. Before starting each task we had a meeting and discussed how we would approach the given task, assigning roles, etc.

The first of our chosen activities was the Bamboo Stick activity. For this activity, a bamboo stick must be lowered to the ground using the backs of our hands, requiring the group to co-ordinate their movements.
My first thought was that the hardest part would be to balance the stick on the backs of our hands while moving down. After a bit of thought, I realised that we could hold our hands together (knuckles touching as per the rules) angled down to form a V-shape.
I suggested this to the group and we decided to go with it. Using this method balancing the stick was completely negated and all we had to do then was lower the stick to the ground.
The only difficultly beyond this point was lowering it to the ground equally, but not so much that it was a problem.

I believe that prior planning greatly contributed to the success to this task. We all stuck our heads together and worked out a way in which we could complete the task.

With the blindfold activity, prior planning was not as useful to the extent that the bamboo stick activity was.
Still we planned what we could; this consisted mostly of who would wear the blindfold and where we would start and finish (Cafe/SANITI entrance).
As the classroom we were in was on the third story we decided that for health and safety reasons would start the exercise on the ground floor.
From there the blindfold was equipped and we meandered off.

We hadn’t even gone halfway through the car park when my brain flipped from saying “This is going well” to “This is going, too, well”. At which point I thought I’d quickly run a small bit of interference by giving a couple of misleading directions. (Clearly I was not the one with the blindfold.) This was found out quickly enough by the second member of our team (of three) without a blindfold. They, and the blindfolded one, quickly removed this interference by considering my directions invalid.
They dealt with the interference quickly and effectively, in order to insure the successful completion of the activity. Doing so by using effective communication amongst each other and determining what lines of communication were valid.

After this I switched back to working towards the success of the activity. The rest went so well that we even went right passed the cafe/SANITI entrance, and stopped in front of the library before heading back.

By Frank Schulz – 15/05/2020

Observation of Body Language

Names of places and people will be omitted to protect the privacy of those involved. The majority of these people are known to me, though the level of interaction I have had with them varies. I personally find that they fit between: 
People I’ve seen – to – Those I consider a friend.

In this particular setting the participants sit in various different ways, though the three primary types that I have observed are:

  • Facing the front of the room
  • Facing their computer
  • or, Sitting at an angle

The first and second types are the most common and are switched between depending on the individual’s current focus. The third type happens most often when the first option is invalid, aka no reason to focus on the front of the room, and occurs more frequently during active communication with their neighbour/s.

Sitting at an angle also becomes more common the closer the participants are to the sides of the room.
That said, how people sit can just as easily be for reasons of comfort than it is for their focus of attention.

For the most part, the participants display an open or neutral body language. Through this I can tell that, in general, the participants are comfortable in this particular situation. Although when a question is asked of the group, there exists almost always, a pause of variable length in which no answer is given while the majority remains silent. I interpret this as the participants being uncomfortable with drawing attention to themselves from the rest of the room. That said some of this time can also be attributed to the participants working out the answer.
Which is the case cannot be reliably deducted unless I were to get an honest answer from the participants or have prior knowledge that they indeed know the answer.

At this point in time I can’t be completely sure of my interpretations as I have not known any of the participants for very long and as such have yet to establish a reliable baseline. By establishing this baseline I would then be able to more accurately decode the participants body language, as I would be more able to distinguish from what the participants norm is.

By Frank Schulz – 06/03/2020