This paper examines an experience I had in a group dynamic that did not go well. The group was tasked with a rush project and the members of the group were not prepared professionally or personally to meet the demand. The result was a complete failure, but looking back on it I can see why it failed. This paper will describe the experience, discuss it from multiple points of view, and show what could be done to turn a similar situation into a success the next time around.
We were a team of five: Paul was the group leader; Bishop was from sales; I was heading the social media team; Carlos was from product development; Dodd was from HR; and Michelle was from PR. Each of us had worked together in the past, so we were familiar with one another; however, on this occasion we were meeting together for the first time under stressful circumstances. Management was under pressure to get a new product to market by the end of the month—and no one was ready for this project.
Paul was clearly uncomfortable with being put in this position. He had plans to take the end of the month off for a vacation and now those plans had been shelved. I had achieved some success with my social media team but there was chatter among some that we weren’t doing a good job of controlling the narrative at times and too many negative reviews were allowed to remain for too long on our feeds. Carlos was uncertain that the product would be ready in time. Dodd was leaving for another company in two weeks so had no real vested interest in anything that happened here. Michelle felt betrayed by management over an earlier issue so had no incentive to work with us on this project; plus, she had personal issues and did not have time to work overtime for us on this.
We had one week to come up with a strategy to get our new product to market and get demand for it to a high level.
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Given that there was serious strain within out group, we got off to a rocky fight, with Michelle storming out of the first meeting after feeling insulted by Paul. Dodd demonstrated a great deal of indifference and Carlos was unenthusiastic about taking news back to his department that they would all have to be working late over the next four weeks. The project ending up stalling and taking not one but four months to finish—and the whole time management was unhappy.
I behaved somewhat upbeat because to be honest I was not under a lot of pressure. I had to handle the social media coverage, but I felt my time was doing well and we had the figures to prove it. The others on the team were facing different issues. Michelle had personal and professional issues that really needed to be addressed—but they weren’t being addressed and the added pressure of this project just made it that much harder for her to contribute. Dodd had basically checked out because he was leaving in two weeks for a new job—so it did not even make sense for him to be in the group and he stated as much to all us individually. Bishop was frustrated by the group’s lack of cohesion: coming from sales, he was used to individuals acting like professionals when push came to shove and he was put off by our group’s lack of focus. Paul demonstrated little leadership as he was still upset about losing his vacation time and he let his emotions get in the way of his better judgment. He really needed to get us focused and when Bishop tried to bring focus,….....
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