1. What is your evaluation of the MGI’s team processes? What were the root causes of the team’s process problems?
MGI was founded by three individuals - Igor Tkachenko, Alexandra (Sasha) Gimpelson and Roman Yukab. The founders needed support from individuals having a business background; hence Henry Tam and Dana Soiman from Harvard Business School (HBS) eventually joined. In the middle and towards the end of the project, two more college students were asked to join the project: Dav Clark from MIT and Alex Jan Sartakov from Boston Berklee College. Eventually, there were a total of seven people on the team. Forming an effective team was an issue. There were individuals who were not present during the first round of meetings, and this created a lot of confusion and frustration in moving the project forward.
As the meetings progressed, there was even more frustration and confusion in how individuals viewed each other’s role within the team. For example, Dana and Henry saw themselves as strategic contributors to the business strategy as their role within MGI. However, Sasha strictly saw them as interns and only wanted them to focus on the business plan writing. There was no real process around the discussions. No goals or agendas were set. Hence, the team lacked a sense of direction. Successful team players agree on a common goal and mutually work together. There were two teams within one team (Russians vs. HBS), as there were many altercations between Dana and Sasha. Due to the unorganized process of the MGI team, the project was behind schedule.
According to the article “The Discipline of Teams,” effective teams most commonly are attributed to have a set of common goals, performance standards and directions, set clear rules for behavior, exploit the power of positive feedback and recognition, pay attention to first meetings and actions, select members for skill and not personality, and spend a lot of time together. The MGI team lacked most of the above-mentioned effective traits. The people within the team were another cause of the problem. Every individual possessed a distinctive and specialized skill set, but on the whole, the team lacked congruency. No “leader” in particular was appointed to steer the wheel of the ship. The team had no performance oriented tasks and goals.
2. What were the strengths of the MGI team?
The strength of the MGI team is that each team member brings his or her unique asset. If each team member’s individual skill sets and identities are properly put to use, they have the potential to form a diverse, multitalented, and highly productive team.
We can evaluate the teams strengths based on different attributes of their identities. Igor and Roman were knowledgeable in the music department, while Sasha, Henry, and Dana all had business backgrounds with different areas of expertise. In addition to their professional backgrounds, other factors of each person’s identity contributed to their strength as a group. Igor, Roman, and Sasha started the company and therefore are all devoted to making it a success. Sasha and Igor have been friends for many years and were, therefore, aware of each other’s strengths and weaknesses allowing them to work well together with a developed sense of trust. Henry brought with him business acumen that could help the company excel. Although Dana has an extensive business background, her interest in working with the kids could allow her to become even more engaged in the project if the group classifies children as a target market for the product. Roman saw himself as having “a lot of creative ideas” and “important for having a vision of where to go.” Roman’s