I recently had the opportunity to add my name as a contributor to an article public in the Wall Street Journal’s Executive Adviser Report, entitled “When People Come and Go“. The research for the article began during the MBA program at SFU, when a group of classmates and myself were tasked with a project about Leadership and Teams. We talked about factors that influence team success, including membership stability and turnover. Immediately someone asked the question: What if your team has changing membership? We began to brainstorm and came up with dozens of examples of teams whose membership changes, including sports teams, project teams, and health care teams. We called these groups “fluid teams”, an expression that had not been used prior to our SFU MBA project.
Without really realizing it, my colleagues and I were asking questions that hadn’t yet been well answered in academic research. Since more and more organizations are turning to team-based work environments, research on fluid teams is becoming important for understanding organizational behaviour. Dealing with the loss of knowledge that occurs when a team member leaves, the lack of commitment that can come with temporary team membership, and the lack of cohesion that can plague teams with changing membership, is a challenge for many kinds of organizations, and research has not yet identified comprehensive solutions to these problems. However, organizations are looking to ensure the success of work teams even if membership is temporary.
The article was published on August 23, 2010 and was quickly picked up by several other online publications including Best Practices Construction Law and SFU Business News. CBC Radio also wanted to cover the article, and I was pleased to represent my colleagues on the CBC radio show On the Coast on Friday August 27.
The success of the article only solidifies the importance of collaboration and team effort to my current career aspirations. I’m very pleased to have contributed my writing, researching and editing skills to this article that is generating so much positive attention. It’s a great reminder for current students who might be wondering how their school work and team projects might contribute to their success post-graduation. We sometimes complain about having to do so many group projects, but they can have exciting results if they are applied in the right way.
I have linked to the WSJ article from the Write Ahead company web site, where many examples of my original writing can also be found. I’m always seeking new projects and looking for opportunities to apply this research and the rest of my business knowledge to other organizations.