In our first week in teams, our TI:GER focus turned to soft skills. There are numerous difficulties that arise when forming teams and these problems are often compounded with multi-disciplinary teams. In our class period, we discussed the focus and objective of the three different degree tracks (MBA, JD, PhD) and looked for areas where common ground (or conflict) could be found. Not surprisingly, the MBA group was more results driven as opposed to process driven. The PhD’s have unique challenges of publishing that aren’t present for the other groups and the law students have their ever important class rank to worry about. Understanding the different approaches we are taking towards our grad school experiences, and narrowing these approaches down to the TI:GER program in particular, will hopefully help us avoid many of the unproductive types of conflict that may arise throughout the semester.
In the second half of class, we had a guest speaker come in to discuss Myers-Briggs types. If you’re unfamiliar with these personality tests, here’s the Wikipedia link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myers-Briggs_Type_Indicator. After taking the assessment as a class, we reviewed the various personality types and discussed how each type can contribute to a project. After weeks of very hard skills classes, it was nice to have a break and discuss a field without a right or wrong answer. By becoming more aware of your own personality type, you can target where you fit best within an organization and identify weaknesses. I think by understanding more about ourselves, we can have frank team discussions about how we work best, what we’re good at, and what we need help in. This week was the first part of a crucial “team forming period” that I’ll be writing about for the next few weeks.