Private & Confidential September 2009 ACADEMIC ESSAY Course Bachelor of Environmental & Occupational, Health and Safety EOHS Management I OHSE 2740 Tan Kah Siong 3105713 Module & Code Name of Student Student Number Critically Discuss The Notion That Team-Working Is The Most Effective Means of Organising People To Get Things Done. 1. 0 INTRODUCTION An old man was dying so he summoned his sons to give them some parting advices. With him, were some chopsticks, he then said to his eldest son: “Break them”. The son strained and strained, but could not break the bundle of chopsticks. The other sons also tried, and were not successful. The father then said, “now, each of you take a stick and break it”. Then, each of the chopsticks was broken with ease. “You see my meaning, union gives strength”, said their father (1). I am sure most of us would have heard of this story and the morale is the limitation of one’s single effort and the effectiveness of unity, which in this case, TEAMWORK. Ever since many decades ago, human already knew the importance of teamwork. That is why most of the sports (e. g. soccer, basketball) require more than one person to play. Even for those single player sports (badminton, table tennis), team plays are also available. Moreover, there is never a one-man army but platoons of soldiers defending a country. All these show that teamwork has a long history in our daily life. Hence, I strongly agree that team work is an effective way of organising people to get things done. I would continue to further illustrate my stand in this essay. TEAM = Together Everyone Achieves More. Page 1/6 2. 0 OWN EXPERIENCE As part of my Polytechnic final year project requirement, we were to do a project in a group of 3 members. Through our hard work and team work, we manage to do well for this project and were awarded to participate in the final year project exhibition. However, we only had 4 weeks to prepare for this and to make matter even worst, our final year examination was also during this period ! Not only must we attended our classes and revised for the examination; we must also prepared for the exhibition ! We had to write up a lengthy report, gave a presentation and to coordinate and ensured the smooth flow of our exhibition within such a tight schedule. My members and I decided to split the work according to our expertise and interest. For example, member A did well in the module of Entrepreneurship, thus was tasked to prepare the Business Plan. On the other hand, I was tasked to write up a product report as I had more knowledge on our prototype. We decided to meet twice a week to update on our work and to check on the group’s progress as a whole making sure our work was in sync. I had no reservations about the hard and long hours of work we put in during this difficult period. However, we stayed focused and committed and was able to use our interpersonal skills to mobilize ourselves to be motivated and work as a team. Furthermore, due to our careful planning and diligence, our project was well structured and managed to show case in the exhibition on time. Not only that, we were also awarded bronze in the category of Outstanding Display. Without teamwork, all these could never be achieved unless, one was given lot of time and had a light schedule and quality to be compromised. All for one & one for all. Page 2/6 3. 0 RECENT EXAMPLE OF TEAMWORK I would like to bring your attention to the recent Formula 1 night racing in Singapore. There were 15 members in a pit stop team and they could easily change the 4 tyres of the racing car within 6 seconds ! The driver had to position the car 6 to 12 inches from where the mechanics were waiting to pounce on the car. Three men stood at each of the 4 corners of the car while one operated the wheel gun, another taking off the wheel and the third replacing it. Also, one mechanic would stand at the front operating the front jack while another would be at the back operating the rear jack. The 15th members would then stand behind the driver’s head to steady the crash hoop while the car was on the jack. Obviously, every member’s role could easily affect the others; hence, without good teamwork and coordination, any split seconds delay could have an impact on the result of the race. 4. 0 EXAMPLE FROM A VIDEO CLIP While researching in the National Library, I came across a video (2) which showed how teamwork could do miracle. The Building Industry Association of San Diego County wanted to promote teamwork and new construction methods; hence, organized a competition to see if two teams could break the world record (4 hours 20 minutes) for building a house. It had three bed rooms, two bathroom, nine rooms and a garage. Each team consisted of builders, engineers, architects etc, who planned and practiced each aspect of the operation and brainstormed new techniques to built a house, which under normal circumstance; would take 90 days to complete. For example, the concrete was pre-heated so it could harden within an hour of pouring. Not to compromise to safety and quality, they had to follow the rigorous building and safety code requirements. Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships, by Michael Jordan. Page 3/6 The completed houses was inspected thoroughly and the winner only took 2 hours and 45 minutes to finish the construction; hence, a new world record was set ! Besides good planning, teamwork also played a major role as each party knew that their assignments would affect the next person’s ability to complete their tasks; so everyone worked as a well-coordinated team. 5. 0 JOURNALS By now, we would have known that teamwork can improve productivity and get things done. Besides that, it can also reduce injuries, cut cost, and improve on quality. I shall now use this journal, ‘The Journal for Quality & Participation’ (3) to illustrate on these. International Team Excellence Award allows participating teams to employ different variety of quality tools in the quest for process improvement. The Boeing Company was awarded gold in the year 2008. Their winning project centered on the Universal Splice Machine (USM), which is a mobile and automated system that uses electromagnets to clamp details as it drilled and set fasteners along one of the major splices in the tail section of Boeing’s C-17 aircraft. This USM project improved process efficiency and reduced repetitive motion injuries of the employees. The team members were selected based on several factors such as responsibility, expertise, process ownership, and planning ability. They were to attend regular meetings in person or via tele-conferencing to brainstorm and discussed on the status of actions and project needs. All of them were well prepared to work together and underwent trainings related to ‘Team Formation’, Team Building’ and ‘Collaboration’. All these showed their determination to promote strong team membership for efficient team operation. Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much. Page 4/6 Their effort was paid off as the project achieved good results as man-load requirements were reduced from four to one mechanics, defects were reduced by 50 percents, hours worked were lowered from 311 to 97, and the overall time span went from six days to just two days. These benefits also translated to improve ergonomic, enhances mechanic efficiency and workmanship and reduced operation cost. Finally, I would like to recommend a model which could be used to improve on teamwork. The Reflective Teamwork Model was discussed in a journal (4) via a case study. It was a model whereby staffs working together discussed, developed and advanced ways in which they could work together as a team. The teacher and teacher assistant pair worked for at least one session per week using this approach (table 1), with 15 minutes of structured planning time per session. They were given trainings to improve their team working skills, active listening, criticism and interrupting etc to enable them to use this model. This approach reflected the importance of team planning and staffs’ vital roles. After which, the writers collected feedbacks and data from teachers and teacher assistants after they used this model. The results showed an improvement in working practices during the intervention to the fact that the teacher and teacher assistants’ relationship had been strengthened. They felt that it was due to the Reflective Teamwork Model ‘forcing them’ (e. g. the assistant had to tell the teacher two things that did not go well and the teacher had to listen) to give each other quality listening time. They also felt that it enabled them to problem-solve more effectively. Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success. Page 5/6 Reflective Teamwork Structure for 15 Minutes Meeting Review Previous Session Minutes Who 2 Assistant What At least 2 things that went well. 2 things that didn’t go so well. I’m feeling…because… Summarise what assistant had said. At least 2 things that went well. 2 things that didn’t go so well. I’m feeling…because… Summarise what teacher had said. Plan Next Session 1 2 Teacher Teacher 1 Assistant Minutes Who What 2 Both Brainstorm targets and actions for next session. 2 Both Evaluate targets and actions. 5 Both Agree and write up plan. Table 1. The Reflective Teamwork Model 6. 0 CONCLUSION With the examples and journals provided herein, I would like to conclude by agreeing that team work is an effective way of organising people to get things done. It is through teamwork that quality, cost and systems improvements can be best achieved. . None of us is as smart as all of us. Words Count: 1511 Page 6/6 REFERENCE LIST 1. Jacobs, J. , Heighway, R. The Fables of Aesop. London: Macmillan & Co. ; 1894. 2. The Four Hour House, video, San Diego, California: Building Industry Association; 1983. 3. Janet Jacobsen. The Journal for Quality & Participation; October 2008; 31,3. 4. Hilary Cremin, Gary Thomas, Karen Vinett. Learning Zones: An Evaluation of Three Models for Improving Learning Through Teacher / Teaching Assistant Teamwork; 2003; Volume 18, Number 4. 5. Http://quotations. about. com/cs/inspirationquotes/a/Teamwork3. html/, visited on 29/9/09. 6. Andrew Kakabadse, John Bank, Susan Vinnicombe. Working in Organisations. England: Gower Publishing Ltd; 2004. 7. Http://www. formula1. com/, visited on 1/10/09. 8. Http://www. glowingembers. org/quotations/teamwork-quotes-and-sayings/, visited 4/10/09. 9. https://www. buzzle. com/img/articleImages/2408-25med. jpg, visited 4/10/09.
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