The competition season will start soon and the teams will jump into the arena for the trophy. It is worth to start the preparation for these competitions right now. One of the most important conclusions of the fall training period is that the team members should be open for the feedbacks. If the team is open for all kind of feedbacks it is easier to shape and develop the individuals. This message is not new; I personally tell it for four years. There are teams who naturally feel it, come and consciously ask questions.
But the teams don’t have to stop here. It is not enough to be opened with your coach; you have to have the same approach with your mates. A case competition is not a zero sum game, where the success of a member is contrary with the others. Moreover, those teams where asking and giving means a prestige question, cannot be successful on a longer perspective, thus most of the time and effort will waste with stupid internal issues.
On competitions, where I was participated as a student it was never a question. We never had “taboo” topics. Teamwork requires full time focus and concentration. On one hand, there is no room for relationship issues, school stuff and other topics, but on the other hand it requires a honest and opened environment.
Here are 3+1 tips how you can create this environment:
- Talk about your objectives: Before you start to solve cases as a team. Stop for 30 min and discuss why you are there. Share your individual objectives and listen to each other. You understand your and your teammates’ motivation. When we were selected to the team which represent Corvinus in Canada on the John Molson International MBA Case Competition in we spend almost two hours to discuss our drivers, goals and motivation about the competition.
- Before you start to work, drink a Coke: Case competitions are not only about work. It’s definitely fun too. If you know each other as a person it is easier to handle to stressful and conflicting situations. Easier to understand the others and give proper feedbacks. Organize a team building which is only about you! No work, no business, no cases.
- Tell how you like to work: Everyone has his/her own workstyle thus it’s important to share it with each other. The main objective here is that the four different styles create a coherent whole. It’s not a problem if you solve a task in different way but the different habits should align and strengthen each other.
+1. What is your weakness: Now we arrived to the most sensitive topic. You have to realize your weaknesses. It is not enough to realize, but you have to be able to tell it to your team. I you talk about these issues, it’s easier to develop. Don’t forget, the team is never being alone! You have a coach, that’s normally his/her task. If you have any internal issues (e.g. you want to develop something, conflicts) tell to your coach in time. It’s extremely important, otherwise what he/she can do is only fire-fighting.
If I should conclude the main messages of this post with three words: openness, openness, openness