Personal Reflection Journal BUS30009 Industry Consulting Project By David Helal 7535198 Throughout Industry consulting project this semester i was placed in a group of five to work on assignments and presentations related to Blue square Properties. My group consisted of James Lokos, Henry Winter, Julie Rabin, Stephanie Entwisle and myself. As a team we each possessed our own set of particular strengths and weaknesses aiding in the effective completion of group work throughout the semester, refer to SWOT analysis appendix A Team charter. Each team member established their own preferred roles which guided their behaviour and contributions in regard to group activity. Henry and Julie had established marketing assistance roles were as James undertook the accounting role. Stephanie and myself however both adopted team worker roles that would help aid in the formulation of ideas and group coordination (Appendix A). As a team worker and organiser I was involved in motivating the team to keep up to date with assigned work as well as coordinate group meetings. I was very pleased with the group members i had been assigned with at the beginning of the semester because we could all communicate effectively due to the absence of language barriers. This saw us all get along positively which in turn resulted in minimal group conflict among members. As a team we completed all our tasks on the due date and in accordance with the Gantt chart (Appendix B), however many of our group tasks were completed with difficult due to team members such as Julie and Stephanie not attending tutorials. The unprofessionalism of these two group members held back team development as they wouldn't notify the group prior to their absence. This resulted in numerous tutorials were James, Henry and myself were the only team members present in our weekly tutorials, thus causing a hindrance in effective group discussion due to the absence of Julie and Stephanie. Towards the middle of the semester team member absence became quite frequent causing tutorial classes to become almost pointless because we were no longer there as a team to discuss matters relating to our assigned group project. At this stage i had become extremely disappointed and frustrated with our team dynamics as we were no longer meeting our major team charter goals of 'keeping regular contact ' and 'working well together' (Appendix A) The personnel learning development plan which I had created at the start of the project consisted of becoming a successful presenter, not to use notes in presentations, as well as creating and implementing new ideas for better life communications. I believe I have completed the tasks i set for myself as i had became a much more confident presenter which I had recognized after my final presentation, were i had reduced my dependence on the need for cue cards and spoke with comfort and confidence. I believe i have done my best to lead the team I was placed in throughout the semester, I communicated efficiently and explained what needed to be done when certain team members were lost. For example, I assisted in keeping members up to date with the work they had been assigned through facebook, as well as reviewing the work completed by members to ensure no mistakes were made. Heathfield states that even though you have a specific job function and you belong to a specific department, you are unified with other organization members to accomplish the overall objectives (Heathfield 2014). This quote resonates with the core meaning of what it is to be a an effective team player, which is to help your fellow member. I do believe i could have done a better job at becoming a better leader to help guide my team members. This was because i would sometimes get distracted by talking about unrelated subjects with other group members such as James and Henry. To become a better leader I should of followed the 12 steps suggested by Bakken, which involves clarifying common goals and purposes as well as each person’s role in achieving their common purpose. Paying closer attention to conflicts when they arise, working out ways to resolve conflicts, making sure team members interact at meetings and leave room for minority or unpopular views to spark innovation. Appraise and reward the team as a whole as well as appraise and reward each group member individually when they contribute positively to the team etc (Bakken 2007). I believe if I had followed these steps the team could have performed better in group meetings and assignments by having a better understanding of what was required of them. As a group we did moderately well in achieving our team charter goals and agreed behaviours (Appendix A). On days when all team members were present during class or in several of the group meetings held, we let each other express ideas and opinion free from criticism as well as maintain group feedback on assigned work. For example, Henry and James positively complimented my work on the external analysis for Blue Square Properties saying it was 'great'. We also achieved our goals of handing in work on time and maintaining regular contact online through facebook. Giving and receiving feedback for class presentations towards the end of semester was an extremely useful activity that broadened my understanding of how to improve my own presentation skills . Through analysing the intricacies of fellow classmates presentations i was able to remind myself that the important keys to giving a stellar presentation lie in my ability to ask questions in order to engage the audience, use effective body language, maintain eye contact, as well ensure my presentation contains relevant content and examples delivered in a loud and clear voice. Most of the feedback i received for my presentation revolved around the excessive use of cue cards, and as a group our major problem was the lack of examples given to support our claims, refer Appendix C feedback presentation sheets. I believe by adopting the keys factors stated above and by working on incorporating the feedback received in the feedback presentation sheets, it will help myself and remaining team members become better presenters. Industry consulting project this semester broadened my understanding of the need to coordinate group dynamics for the effective completion of group work. I believe it thought me that within groups there will always be members who will be unprofessional at times, but through persistence and maintaining communication all group members will come together to meet their common goal as seen within my team throughout the semester. Even though the continual absence of certain members such as Stephanie and Julie we were still able to maintain contact online and in turn effectively finish assigned group work by set deadlines. References Bakken, E 2007, Twelve Ways to Build an Effective Team, viewed 26 May 2014, <<Http://people.rice.edu/uploadedFiles/People/TEAMS/Twelve%20Ways%20to %20Build%20an%20Effective%20Team.pdf>. Heathfield, S 2014, 12 Tips for Team Building, humanresources.about.com, viewed 26 May 2014, <http://humanresources.about.com/od/involvementteams/a/twelve_tip_team.htm> . Appendix A - Team Charter BUS30009: Team Charter 1. Class Date and Time: Thursday 8.30am 2. Team Coach: 3. Team Name: The Rolling Capstones 4. Team members Full name: Name by which you would like to be known in class (nickname) Henry Winter James Lokos Julie Rabin Stephanie Entwisle David Helal Henry James Jules Steph David 5. Team Goals: Please list your team goals along with suggested measures of success: Team Goals Measure of Success Example 1: Distinction standard project Example 2: Completion of all assessment tasks on time Example 1: Achieving a score of 85% + for Assessment Task 3b Example 2: Clearly articulated schedule of work with roles and responsibilities and regular team meetings 1. Pass unit Results 2. Work well together Participation/efficiency of team 3. Provide client with practical solutions Feedback from client 4. Excel in understanding of unit material Revise and keep up to date with weekly unit workload 5. Team SWOT Consider your own strengths, weaknesses and ideal or preferred roles in a team, and share these with your team members. Record them below. Nickname (see section 3 above) Strengths Weaknesses Ideal / preferred role / contribution Henry Reliable Organised Ideas Team Worker Perfectionist Reliable Ability to respond to challenges Ability to explore and understand new ideas Reliable Perfectionist Able to identify solutions to problems Hard working Perfectionist Organised Ability to identify team members’ strengths & weaknesses and coordinate them accordingly Conscientious Organised Reliable Punctual Innovative Persistent Easily distracted Indecisive Ideas Marketing side of tasks Lead discussion A tendency to worry about small things A reluctance to let go Accounting side of tasks Lack of flexibility – reluctant to let go of idea Ideas Marketing Side of tasks Can be indecisive Tend to worry about petty, minor things which can slow down tasks Ideas Formulate plans and set goals/deadlines Indecisive Team worker Organising Formulating ideas James Julie Steph David 6. Task Completion Please list the team’s expected date of completion and handing-in for all group tasks listed below: Group Assessment Tasks Podcast External Analysis Client Report Presentation Scheduled Date of Completion Week 3 Week 5 Week 12 Week 12 Scheduled Date for Handing-in Week 4 Week 6 Week 13 Week 13 7. Allocation of work The allocation of work for the project shall be [insert description of how the group will carry out the work, the division of research, writing, editing] Assessment Tasks All tasks 8. Meetings Allocation of Work Each class allocate work to each team member based on their strengths The group will meet to discuss the progress of the project on the following dates: Week 3: Thursday after class Week 4-13: Monday, Tuesday & Thursday after class 9. Agreed Team Behaviours The team agrees to abide by the following guidelines for team conduct Behaviour Consequence of breach Example 1: We agree not interrupt other team members when they are talking Example 2: We agree to not be “free-riders” in our own team 1. We agree to all let each other express our ideas and opinions Will lack a range of ideas and solutions 2. We agree to hand in assigned work on time Loose marks in peer review 3. We agree to keep in contact regularly Won’t know what’s going on 4. We agree to help each other and work cooperatively as a team Assignment wont be cohesive 5. We agree to maintain and give group feedback Disorganisation and ineffective completion of group work Appendix B - Gantt Chart Appendix C - Feedback presentation sheets
Types of reflective writing assignments
Journal: requires you to write weekly entries throughout a semester. May require you to base your reflection on course content.
Learning diary: similar to a journal, but may require group participation. The diary then becomes a place for you to communicate in writing with other group members.
Log book: often used in disciplines based on experimental work, such as science. You note down or 'log' what you have done. A log gives you an accurate record of a process and helps you reflect on past actions and make better decisions for future actions.
Reflective note: often used in law. A reflective note encourages you to think about your personal reaction to a legal issue raised in a course.
Essay diary: can take the form of an annotated bibliography (where you examine sources of evidence you might include in your essay) and a critique (where you reflect on your own writing and research processes).
Peer review: usually involves students showing their work to their peers for feedback.
Self-assessment: requires you to to comment on your own work.
Some examples of reflective writing
Social Science fieldwork report (methods section)
The field notes were written by hand on lined paper. They consisted of jotted notes and mental triggers (personal notes that would remind me of specific things when it came to writing the notes up). I took some direct observational notes recording what I saw where this was relevant to the research questions and, as I was aiming to get a sense of the culture and working environment, I also made researcher inference notes   .
 I found the notetaking process itself helpful, as it ensured that I listened carefully and decoded information. Not all the information I recorded was relevant, but noting what I found informative contributed to my ability to form an overview on re-reading. However, the reliability of jotted notes alone can be questionable. For example, the notes were not a direct transcription of what the subjects said but consisted of pertinent or interesting information.
Rarely did I have time to transcribe a direct quotation, so relied on my own fairly rapid paraphrasing, which risks changing the meaning. Some technical information was difficult to note down accurately  . A tape recorder would have been a better, more accurate method. However, one student brought a tape recorder and was asked to switch it off by a participant who was uneasy about her comments being directly recorded. It seems that subjects feel differently about being recorded or photographed (as opposed to observers taking notes), so specific consent should be sought before using these technologies  .
1. Description/ explanation of method.
2. Includes discipline-specific language
3. Critical evaluation of method
4. Conclusion and recommendation based on the writer's experience
Engineering Design Report
Question: Discuss at least two things you learnt or discovered – for example about design, or working in groups or the physical world – through participating in the Impromptu Design activities.
Firstly, the most obvious thing that I discovered was the advantage of working as part of a group  . I learned that good teamwork is the key to success in design activities when time and resources are limited. As everyone had their own point of view, many different ideas could be produced and I found the energy of group participation made me feel more energetic about contributing something  .
Secondly I discovered that even the simplest things on earth could be turned into something amazing if we put enough creativity and effort into working on them  . With the Impromptu Design activities  we used some simple materials such as straws, string, and balloons, but were still able to create some 'cool stuff'  . I learned that every design has its weaknesses and strengths and working with a group can help discover what they are. We challenged each other's preconceptions about what would and would not work. We could also see the reality of the way changing a design actually affected its performance.
1. Addresses the assignment question
2. Reflects on direct experiences
3. Direct reference to the course activity
4. The style is relatively informal, yet still uses full sentences.
5. Relating what was learnt.
Learning Journal (weekly reflection)
Last week's lecture presented the idea that science is the most powerful form of evidence  . My position as a student studying both physics and law makes this an important issue for me  and one I was thinking about while watching the 'The New Inventors' television program last Tuesday  . The two 'inventors' (an odd name considering that, as Smith (2002) says, nobody thinks of things in a vacuum) were accompanied by their marketing people. The conversations were quite contrived, but also funny and enlightening. I realised that the marketing people used a certain form of evidence to persuade the viewers (us?) of the value of the inventions  . To them, this value was determined solely by whether something could be bought or sold—in other words, whether something was 'marketable'. In contrast, the inventors seemed quite shy and reluctant to use anything more than technical language, almost as if this was the only evidence required – as if no further explanation was needed.
This difference forced me to reflect on the aims of this course—how communication skills are not generic, but differ according to time and place. Like in the 'Research Methodology' textbook discussed in the first lecture, these communication skills are the result of a form of triangulation,  which I have made into the following diagram:
1. Description of topic encountered in the course
2. The author's voice is clear
3. Introduces 'everyday' life experience
4. The style is relatively informal, yet still uses full sentences
5. Makes an explicit link between 'everyday' life and the topic
Brookfield, S 1987, Developing critical thinkers: challenging adults to explore alternative ways of thinking and acting, Open University Press, Milton Keynes.
Mezirow, J 1990, Fostering critical reflection in adulthood: a guide to transformative and emancipatory learning, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco.
Schön, DA 1987, Educating the reflective practitioner, Jossey-Bass. San Francisco.
The Learning Centre thanks the students who permitted us to feature examples of their writing.
Prepared by The Learning Centre, The University of New South Wales © 2008. This guide may be distributed or adapted for educational purposes. Full and proper acknowledgement is required. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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