Getting Squared: what I’ve learnt so far.

Posted on 30/09/2013

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1932_Princeton_Rugby_Team

Often people mistake training with learning facts. Over the next few months I’ll be mastering data, organisational change, and learning about effective paid search strategies as part of the course I’m doing.

So far though, this is not what I’m actually learning. The progress I’ve made is all to do with people, teams and working towards a shared goal.

With around 160 classmates and multiple nationalities, we’re not going to be meeting up in person any time soon. Instead, we’re getting set up on Google Plus, working through a combination of G+ communities and Google Drive.

It’s feeling a bit like a cunning Google marketing ploy: hundreds of people pay for training, and in addition Google get to push their social network and tools. And it probably is, but what a good way to show how to use them. I’ve been really impressed with Hangouts and I can see that the communities have a few of the features of the ill-fated Google Wave.

I’ve definitely picked up the full range of features that the G+ toolkit has to offer, but it’s not the only thing I’ve learnt. To work effectively as a team, you have to share and agree two things: a team/project lead and a common goal.

  1. The project lead not as a “boss” or decision maker, but someone who coordinates and sets the rhythm of the group. If anything, they steer clear of making the decisions themselves, and instead push the rest of the team to come to decisions on time.
  2. A common goal. We’re not simply talking the “output” or deliverable (for this course, this is already outlined, up-front). It’s the shared vision and agreed way of working towards it.

OK, so neither of these are groundbreaking; they’re both things I knew before i started. The difference is that I now understand how and why these are so vital. It’s been an eye-opener to see the change that implementing both of these can have. Even more so, because we’re working across time-zones and with levels of experience.

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