Gettin' good players is easy. Gettin' 'em to play together is the hard part~ Casey Stengel

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Our very first Project Meeting

Our group consisting of Preeti, Reenuka, Jonathan and myself conducted our very first project meeting on the 12th of February in Discussion Room 7 in the Central Library. Generally, I felt that we were quite well-prepared especially Jonathan who even wrote part of the code beforehand and hence we were able to discuss more effectively the possible obstacles we would meet with later on in the project. Our leader Preeti also helmed the meeting very professionally as she guided us through the objectives of the agenda and ensured that we were able to address all the issues within the timeframe given without any major hiccups. At the end of the meeting, the workload was distributed evenly among the four of us in a short span of time which I felt was rather efficient.

However, I realized that throughout the entire meeting, our bodies were very stiff and we were expressionless most of the time. The atmosphere was also very tense. This was probably due to the fact that we were conscious that our actions were being videotaped on webcam. Also there were a few moments of silence which I believed was due to the fact we were busy thinking of what to say as we were afraid of saying wrong words by accident. Furthermore, I noticed there was a period of time when I was moving back and forth in my chair. Although I was stretching myself, it should be strongly discouraged as it is very distracting. The speaker may also misinterpret it as a loss of interest in the topic of discussion.

Nevertheless, I felt that overall, the meeting was a pleasant and successful one as we were in accord with one another’s ideas and we were tactful in our criticism. I am definitely more aware of the importance of communication and teamwork now.

The video below is a video conference meeting gone wrong.. at least for the girl at the top left hand corner=X

Sunday, February 7, 2010

What would you have done if you could turn back time?

Gilly has been selected to be the program director of an event in her company. Being the program director, she is responsible for drafting a blueprint for the sequence of events and designing of activities for the event as well as preparing the props required. After obtaining approval from the overall-in-charge Aldan, she proceeded with the preparation of the props.

However, when the preparation was almost completed after two weeks, Aldan suddenly dropped by and told Gilly he objected to the blueprint and demanded her to submit a new draft by the next day before walking off. He did not state any reasons for his sudden change in decision. Gilly was taken by surprise as there was not much time from the actual day itself. Moreover, everything had to be started from scratch again.


Later that night, Gilly was composing a text message while watching a drama serial. She wanted to grumble and complain about the indecisiveness of Aldan to her close pal, Alden. However, as she was rather distracted from watching the drama, she sent the text message to Aldan instead. Gilly realized her blunder but decided to feign ignorance as she did not know what to do.

Throughout the rest of the preparation phase of the event, Aldan was very cold towards Gilly and did not speak to her unless it was necessary. The event proceeded smoothly according to Gilly’s second blueprint and it was only after the camp that she realized there were certain restrictions for the activities due to safety reasons that were implemented by the chairman during the eleventh hour. What should Gilly and Aldan have done to avoid such a conflict?

Monday, February 1, 2010

Observation of team behavior: intercultural and interpersonal communication

In the recent weeks, there has been an ongoing “Allah” dispute in Malaysia which I believe many of you are well-aware of. It was mainly due to a court verdict that allowed non-Muslims to use "Allah" as a translation for "God" in the Malay language which has led to violent exchanges mainly between the Christians and Muslim.

The scenario above is a distinct example of conflict arising from the difference in beliefs of two different sub-cultures as well as lack of interpersonal and intercultural communication in resolving the issue at hand. However, I felt that this conflict could have been resolved or even avoided if both sides had adopted a cultural relativism approach instead of ethnocentrism towards the issue .

If we were to place the crux of the above problem in the context of a team with members from various cultural backgrounds, I believed that possessing intercultural communication skills is the key to success in a team. This is because different cultures may have contrasting beliefs and perspective pertaining to different issues which may lead to a clash of ideas in a team and possibly evoke a conflict. However, if we are able to practice intercultural sensitivity and tolerance, we can then mediate any differences amicably that may prevent the team from functioning at its optimal level.

Personally, I have also committed a grave blunder recently by teasing my friend, calling her a “pig”. It was only then that I realized I had forgotten she was a Malay, but she was kind enough not to take it to heart. Upon reflection, I realized the importance of the need to be aware of certain taboos when we are communicating with people from a different cultural background and it is only when we develop intercultural and interpersonal skills can there be effective communication.