I am a partner in a bakery firm that has been in operation for two decades. The bakery has multiple outlets and I run it alongside two other partners. In many situations, most of the activities regarding the bakery have to be performed by groups. Recently, as partners, we agreed on the need to open a new branch after the bakery secured a loan to subsidize the savings set aside for expansion. All the partners decided that there was the need to form a team involving the management and the other staff to conduct a market study with the aim of identifying the best geographical location of the new bakery branch. The group had the role of using their personal and professional knowledge about the bakery and the market to determine the most viable place in the country within two months. The following paper will discuss the formation of the team, the challenges this team faced, and the way they were overcome.
All the partners decided that the group should incorporate all departments and every type of employees. It was agreed that a cross-functional team would fit our situation the best. The partners decided to use a cross-functional group because involving all the employees in the firm’s future plans creates a sense of trust to the employees and it gets the best out of the employees (Dyer, Dyer & Dyer, 2007). There are various strategies that assist in building an effective and efficient team. The first strategy is the selection of people who can easily get along with each other. People who easily cooperate make the group obtain a sense of cohesion and unity, which increases the chances of success (Lepsinger & DeRosa, 2010). The next strategy is continuous communication among the group members. The leaders of the teams should ensure that they create effective models of communication, such as creating group emails. Communication helps in discussing and solving the issues arising. Making the team members understand the objectives of the team also helps the group focus on the main issue. Lastly, ensuring that the team members understand the objectives helps to determine each member’s role, which creates a sense of responsibiliy.
The team had six members and each member had a different role. I was the team’s supervisor and the other members were to report to me. The other six members included experts and representatives from each department of the bakery (Dyer, Dyer & Dyer, 2007). One of the members was from the marketing department and his responsibility was analyzing the market. One of the members came from the finance department and his responsibility was to determine the financial viability of each region. The human resource department was also represented by a member, whose role was to engage with the customers in order to collect data regarding their opinions on the bakery products. The information technology (IT) department was also represented and the role of the member was to link all the members and data. The IT representative entered the data into the system and processed for easier analysis. Lastly, the operations department had a representative who had the responsibility of analyzing the possible sources of funds.
One of the challenges that faced the group as a cross-functional type is the fact that there were a lot of personal differences in the initial stages. The reason was that the members came from different departments and they were not used to working with each other (Dyer, Dyer & Dyer, 2007). The differences were also a result of different expertise field, meaning that the members could not see the need of sharing their data collection with other members. The other difficulty included lack of communication. Promoting information sharing was hard because some of the members could not adopt to talking to each other manually or through the email. The major challenge of dealing with diversity was addressing the ego among the members of the group (Lepsinger & DeRosa, 2010). The members saw themselves as experts, meaning that it was easy for a member to disregard the opinion of the other members. The other challenge was the members’ opposition to change their mode of working to incorporate team membership. For example, the members of the team were opposed to changing their working methodologies in order to incorporaate sharing information with the other members.
The first strategy of solving conflicts is accommodation (Dyer, Dyer & Dyer, 2007). The strategy involves giving the members of a group their wishes for the sake of good cooperation from them. In our team, some of the members advocated for a free day in the middle of the week because they felt that they would be working a lot. The team agreed to incorporate a free Wednesday for the comfort of the members. The second strategy that the team adopted to solve conflicts was compromising that involved the members reaching an acceptable solution to a problem (Lepsinger & DeRosa, 2010). For instance, a situation arose regarding the frequency of the group meetings. Some of the members suggested weekly meetings while some of them wanted a meeting after every two weeks. All the members agreed to conduct status meetings after every ten days.
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One of the measures used to determine whether the group operated successfully was the setting up of targets for each member in order to track their progress. The targets included timelines that the members needed to achieve their objectives within. The determination of the timeline of the overall project was also important because it helped the team to determine its progress (Lepsinger & DeRosa, 2010). Lastly, the team’s main objective was to identify the most viable geographical location for a new branch, meaning that if the team came up with an agreement within an agreed time, then that would have been deemed as success. The team finally achieved its goal of determining the best location of the branch within two months because we all agreed that Los Angeles was the best position. The decision came after collecting all the necessary information and analyzing it by applying the expert opinion of the team members.
In conclusion, the team created for opening the new bakery fulfilled their mission successfully. Though we have been facing problems and challenges, all of them were overcome, since in the end, each member of the team was willing to sacrifice his or her own’s preferences for the common good.