Just as a fist is formed by combining our fingers and palm, success is a combination of strengths. In any given individual, their success story has many different chapters to it. An author, for example, needs an editor, publisher etc. for their book to be published and ready to be sold. Our Strategic Leadership Team (SLT) has a similar story. We all bring different knowledge and experience to the table to complete our SLT. Together we combined our diverse perspective and come to a common ground. We created our team name; Health Angels. Our Mission is the Health Angels and we strive to excel and succeed in LDRS 501 together. Our Vision; we are dedicated and committed to attend our meetings and work hard to reach our absolute potential. Our Core Values; Our core values and beliefs in our SLT are; Honesty, Efficiency, Open-mindedness, and Reliability.
The SLT completed the Strategic Team Review and Action Tool (STRAT). Each member of the SLT received the list of survey questions found in Appendix B of Hughes, R., Beatty, K. & Dinwoodie, D. (2014). The SLT answered the survey openly and honestly to accurately assess the status of the SLT. Each member of the SLT recorded their results and compiled and averaged scores. The SLT had a debrief meeting to discuss the result of the STRAT. The conclusion of the meeting allowed the SLT to identified four areas of strength and three opportunities for improvement which are outlined in detail in the following sections of this chapter.
The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team – Phil Jackson
The strategic leadership team encourages others to improve by experimenting with new or different ways of doing things – Q8
This is the ground on which our team works. We do not want to limit ourselves to what’s known, therefore, we are always open to trying new ways of completing tasks and support each other for the same. As soon as a new team assignment is up, we have our online meeting sessions with different suggestions and figuring out its execution. If one plan does not work well for everyone, we move to the next feasible option. Even though everyone is confused by the technological challenges, our team is patient with one another. We solve problem when this occurs as a team and support each other during this time. We encourage each other’s efforts which was beneficial for everybody.
Different opinions are welcome – Q10
“Too many cooks in the kitchen” is a common idiom to illustrate an ineffective team when there are too many people who try to control, influence, or work on something with the final result of the product suffering as a result (“Too many cooks”, n.d.). However, this typically happens when team members are not heard properly. At the heart of listening to other’s opinions is the willingness to learn. Even though our SLT was assigned and formed in a short amount of time, the SLT is very eager to learn from one another which allowed the free and effective communication of ideas with one another. The SLT is respectful when different ideas and opinions are presented and the members maintain a positive attitude when listening to one another. While not all ideas are accepted and implemented, the SLT utilized strategic acting to take the best course of action. One specific example of this is during the initial period when the SLT was formed. Due to the timing of Thanksgiving weekend and challenges with using the technology, the team was not able to communicate effectively to determine what is required for the first team blog post until one day prior to the first due date. The SLT quickly came together virtually and strategically presented some strategies to help with the blog posting. This example illustrated the SLT’s ability to strategically act in the face of uncertainty (Hughes et al., 2014, pg. 123). The SLT understand the importance of everyone’s role and participation in deciding the best options to move forward. This requires the SLT to be willing to learn and welcome different ideas to foster the agility that is required to act strategically.
The strategic leadership team is composed of diverse individuals with complementary talents – Q13
Strategic thinking is a collective process engaging diverse perspectives and viewpoints (Hughes et al., 2014, pg. 56). It is important for the SLT to make decisions collectively to engage the entire team. Even though all members of the SLT have a health care background, each of us brings our different perspectives, cultures, worldviews, experiences, and beliefs into the team. Yet, all of us are bounded by the same purpose, mission, and vision, as a steadfast tree with many branches rooted by the same trunk. We have team members with many years of work experience and unique skills to rely on while others who just graduated and are setting a foot in leadership with refreshing new ideas and objectives. These diversities complement one another to strengthen the SLT.
Where there is diversity there are also challenges. For example, the diverse backgrounds and career stages lead to difficulty in arranging for a convenient meeting time for this course. Other members of the SLT were also travelling abroad and located in different time zones. The SLT had to increase its coordination and cooperation, which is critical to execution in the midst of diversity (Lepsinger, 2010). The SLT used two strategies as suggested in Lepsinger (2010) to increase cooperation:
- Improve communication and transparency. The SLT currently utilize various methods for communications such as email, Whatsapp, Zoom meetings, as well as creating collaborative methods for assignments and work to be completed as a team. In addition to the various methods of communications, members of the SLT were transparent with their schedules and the ability to complete certain tasks.
- Align interest and establish common ground. As mentioned before, the SLT has a common purpose in this course and all members understand what it takes for the team to succeed. Shared goals increase cooperation and collaboration because they ensure everyone is working toward the same outcome (Lepsinger, 2010). The members of the SLT encourage one another to excel and willing to make sacrifices to reach our goal.
Getting ahead here depends on performance not politics – Q17
We are all professionals and understand hard work is the key to our success. Sometimes a person may believe that their way of doing something is the most appropriate decision, but that depends on our own assessment. Realizing different opinions do exist and hearing them out before reaching a conclusion is essential to us. As Hughes mentioned, learn what is important to others. (p. 152)
And this might change your perspective about the situation or a task at hand and help reach the best outcome. We all know the only way forward is by learning and performing. And only this knowledge will determine our outcome as SLT. Judgemental and toxic behaviour is not entertained by any of our team members. We all agree the aim of this course is to help us become better leaders which is only possible by progressing with the right intentions.
SLT Opportunities to Improve
This strategic leadership team regularly and realistically assesses its organizational strengths and weaknesses – Q1
Regular assessment of the team to draw out weaknesses and strengths is a must, and this is what we did for this assignment. We arranged a zoom meeting and connected via “Whatsapp”; gathered thoughts and opinions and based on very little knowledge shortlisted some areas where we excel as a team and some areas of “potential development”. Since this was a part of an assignment, it might not be realistic, provided we had a very short span of knowing each other. We do not fully know true potential and calibre of our teammates, which is absolutely necessary to know what miracles our SLT can do. Even so, we did a pretty good job on spending some time to evaluate where we stood (thanks to the assignment!); this is definitely going to be useful for future team work.
Sometimes, individuals with great talent are pressured , get suppressed and tend to underperform when they work in teams (Hughes, Beatty and Dinwoodie, 2010). Hence, a lot of time must be devoted working in teams before evaluating strengths and weaknesses based solely on acquaintance with the person as an individual. We read each others’ blog post, know each others’ thinking pattern but do not know the comfort level of that particular individual in a team, do not know if a person is introvert or extrovert. It is essential to evaluate a person differently as an individual and when a part of a team. Hence, we believe, we can develop in this area only after working more with each other. We do not fully know the true potential and calibre of our teammates, which is absolutely necessary to know what miracles our SLT can do.
This strategic leadership team understands the threats and opportunities in the external environment – Q2
We are not sure if we know what competencies are. We are not yet familiar with one another and unaware of our personalities to a deeper level. Our SLT has yet to deal with conflict within the team. This is inevitable and may be a threat to our SLT. Time will only tell. This is an area we will work on as we move forward. We may reach a point where our diverse perspective may come to a disagreement; perhaps at that point, we may realize the threats within the team. The fact we are not acquainted with others in this course may initiate potential threats as well. We may underestimate the threats around us by overestimating our own progress. As challenges arise, we will learn to problem solve. This area is an ongoing learning progress. There is always room for improvement. Although the technical issues are a threat, some of us find WordPress is a great platform to learn from other teams.
Our strategy is discriminating: clear about what we will do and clear about what we will not do – Q11
As kids we never spent the time to get to know someone; we readily got along with each other. As adults, it takes more time to build trust. This might be because we now get along for a specific purpose; a common goal to accomplish. During this journey, we need to take into consideration others’ feelings, opinions, and advice along with presenting ourselves in a considerate manner. This becomes difficult with just an acquaintance. Likewise, our team was put together on an ad hoc basis and evaluated (by us) as an SLT. As a cohort, we had a common vision and mission; however, our manner of approaching it was different. We had the briefest idea about each other’s working style and thoughts; yet, we blew the whistle and got into the game. In the process, we also came across confusions and technical glitches. In this chaos, we could not find sufficient time to develop strategies and work accordingly. Developing strategies is something that needs time. There is surely a potential to develop our SLT as we collaborate more and get familiarity about each other.
Our SLT consists of diverse perspectives, individual personalities and unique professional backgrounds. Our distinct and various standpoint and views about our surrounding and experiences make us a strong SLT. We will amalgamate our core values and distinct beliefs in order to create a common ground for our SLT. The SLT is multidisciplinary working towards achieving the same mission, vision and value. In the little time we have come together as a team and in the few interactions we have had with each other have enabled us to learn and recognize our strengths and weaknesses. It is positive to have this self-awareness within our team. We respect each other’s diverse backgrounds and value opinions of each other. We planned and organized in a timely manner. We took initiatives individually to divide our work and complete this thoroughly and diligently to support our team. Our SLT formed a strong foundation in a little time. We are thrilled and eager to learn more about each other and about those from outside our SLT in this course to enhance our own education. Together our SLT is determined to accomplish and achieve the best we can.
Hughes, R., Beatty, K. & Dinwoodie, D. (2014). Becoming a strategic leader : your role in your organization’s enduring success. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Lepsinger R. (2010). Closing the execution gap. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Too many cooks in the kitchen. (n.d.) Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. (2015). Retrieved from https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/too+many+cooks+in+the+kitchen