Blogging from Silicon Valley: Uniting as one big team

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In the course of a lifetime most experiences are fleeting, a few are worth remembering and some have so much impact that they change us in ways we never thought possible.

University of Ottawa's Telfer School of Management Executive MBA annual class trip to the Silicon Valley wrapped up recently.

by Abdul Ahmadzai, Ajay Bhandari, Isabelle Blondeau, Bernard Guité, Kurt Schweitzer 

Silicon Valley is an experience in itself, where collaboration and networking is key to success. One would think that in such a fast-paced and intense environment, concepts and ideas would be closely guarded corporate secrets. We discovered sharing ideas was a big part of doing business here.

Reflecting back on our first two semesters our cohort has noticed that we have not taken full advantage of collaboration between teams. Therefore, some only shared pieces of assignments with those considered trustworthy, in fear of sharing work that could be replicated. Without any specific direction from the professors to the contrary, the team exercises used to build cohesion were viewed by most as a competition between teams. Unfortunately, this is how most of the business world (and government institutions) are currently structured.

Being a good team player is not about only yourself and your team. It is about the bigger picture, because we all want success!

We were fortunate to glimpse into the world of innovation and be invited to the table of people dedicating their lives to making the world a better place. Being outside of the classroom as a cohort revealed the true nature of people. The variety of perceptions and behaviors made this experience even more interesting as we were able to gain fresh insights about our colleagues.

Learning about each and every one, their goals and motivations, is invaluable for the upcoming year of this program.

We hear over and over how crucial it is to choose your business partners wisely. This trip was an incredible opportunity to discover each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Over the past week, many of us took the chance to break away from our teams and interact directly with members of other teams. While some preferred staying within their own team, other members were welcomed with opened arms.

What we have discovered is that each team has an essence, a particular dynamic and we, Team Arcturus, are grateful to have spent time with members of every other team. A key takeaway from the Silicon Valley trip and our first year together is that we must find better ways to work together over the next year. New and stronger relationships were built and we truly believe that consistent communications within our teams and with others will ensure success for our cohort as we will tackle our second year.

We must take these lessons learned back to our personal and professional lives and apply them proactively, or risk repeating the past!

This is the final article in a series on the University of Ottawa's Telfer School of Management Executive MBA annual class trip to the Silicon Valley. The recent trip was part of the EMBA curriculum on "Innovation and Entrepreneurship."

 

 

Organizations: University of Ottawa, Telfer School of Management Executive MBA

Geographic location: Silicon Valley

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