Critically reflect upon and review the processes involved in undertaking the project from both a personal and team perspective .
My team members and I had been assigned to practice with AWOL Adventure, a technology-based company specializing in delivering photos to the competitors at a sporting event. The company uploads these photos from mass participating events such as marathon and cycling. After the event, the participant can purchase their photos from the company’s website. My team members were: Kishore Anand, Aneesh Shamsudeen, Akhila Jacob, Sravan Reddy and Mahesh. We worked under the supervision of our tutor, Mr. John.
Our objectives in involving in this practice were to broaden the use of their platform to undertake a thorough market analysis, to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the plan, and to evaluate competitors and size of the market which AWOL Adventure was entering. We were consulting with the company to achieve its market objectives. The main competitors were MarathonPhotos, SportCam, and MarathonFoto. Our major challenge was to find out how to enter this market and broaden the company’s platform.
We were a consulting team trusted by the management to focus on the strategies to enter the digital photo sharing platform. I must acknowledge that this was quite a challenging task for my team and me. For a few reasons, we found this an uphill task that the company was still at the growth stage and competition was stiff in the market. On the part of the team, we had no experience to the extent of consulting in photography. This was our chance to learn by being involved in the actual task. We undertook this challenge by analyzing both internal and external environment of the AWOL Adventures. Also, we had to ascertain the condition of the market and come up with strategic approaches for our client. The major problem that we ensued was lack of trust from the client. The management failed to give us some vital information about their marketing plans, financial reports, their market research, information on the organizational structure and their business model. This was after making all the efforts to convince them of the importance of the information therein for our undertaking. This had a limiting factor to our scope of delivery. The critical evaluation of the whole situation is well captured by Gibbs (1988) model on reflection. His theory is generally accepted as a tool to present situational reflective analysis.
Our task was to lay down a strategy which will be used by our client in broadening their market and also to harbor a competitive advantage. To do this, we utilized the SWOT analysis to brainstorm about the strategy (Hindle, 2009). We also carried out market analysis and proceeded to give relevant recommendations on the market strategy to be applied.
However, we faced various challenges. Though we completed our assignment, it was after hurdles of information withholding from the client. There was lack of trust between the team and AWOL Adventure management. We had failed to establish and develop a good relationship from the commencement of our assignment.
The whole event of AWOL Adventure consultation was a lifetime career experience. Being a newbie in the field, creating team synergy and coming with ultimate problem analysis to the company’s product and the market was an achievement. Thought on my part, I felt not competent enough and not up to the task which we were undertaking, but that did not deter us from achieving our major objectives and to learn from the project. As a team, we worked together in cohesiveness for the common good of attaining consultant objectives (Rutkowski, 2013).
On the other hand, the incident of the client withholding some information to us humiliated the team members and me. It is important to create and develop a good working relationship with the client. Good relationship creates a trustworthy environment. When trust exists between the client and the service provider, there is a free flow of information. There was no trust between our client and us which made them withhold critical information for fear of trade secrets and business privacy. This was a failure on us because we failed from the onset to establish and develop a good relationship with our client which created a gap of mistrust. The client feared that we could use the organization information in a way that will harm its business prospects. Though I knew what we were supposed to do initially, fear and anxiety had engulfed me, I failed to give it the consideration it deserved, and maybe I could have averted the scenario by sharing the situation with my team.
I had a collective responsibility together with my team, to make an analysis of the firm and come up with recommendations for the findings. It was also our responsibility to make sure that we created a good working condition where trust would be created. Each of the members had a collective duty in making sure we carry out our study of the company and come up with the best analysis and recommendations. I must attest that each one of us played his role well for the attainment of our ultimate goal. Although our newness in the consulting field built high anxiety at the start of the project, we managed to remain focused. The major fear was how effective we would be in accomplishing the project and how do we meet expectations and standards perceived by the client.
Importance of Establishing a Good Relationship with the Client
Besides doing consulting services to AWOL Adventure, the team had a responsibility to maintain confidentiality and privacy of the company. AWOL Adventure management did not feel safe with her trade secrets and private information. This worked against our efforts to provide the best consultancy services to AWOL Adventures. Though it did not thwart our objectives, we felt that more was required from the client side. We saw the need to build trust with the client is paramount.
My anticipation heightened the level of my anxiety that the newness in the field would make us less up to the task, the same feeling was engulfing the other team members. To add on this, we were unable to convince the client to give all relevant information about our task. It was evident that we failed to convince the management of our reputations in offering the consulting services. They did not trust us and therefore opted to withhold some crucial documents and information. We overlooked the need and importance of establishing and developing a good relationship with the client. Everyone in the team was to blame for the mishap as anyone could have intervened and created an urge of establishing that relationship. Though it is clear anyone in the room should have made an intervention, the informal intervention as described by Koocher and Keith-Spiegel (2010) was most appropriate in that incident.
Although we accomplished the task, we did not fully utilize the relevant resources in arriving at our conclusions. This was as a result of information withholding by the client due to our failure to establish a good relationship. From the incident, I have learned the art of establishing and building corporate trust and having personal confidence in a comparable situation. I now acknowledge, through the experience I gained, that I should act but not over trivial matters that might distort the intended objectives. Also, I have come to know that experience is important as it helps to build confidence, reduce anxiety and confusion of responsibility so that I can act with more autonomy. I realized that strong working relationship is important as it will create friendship and understanding amongst the staff, and this will play a role in building a cohesive team (Rutkowski et al., 2013).
In my career, I have known the need to become more proactive especially a situation which is likely to cause harm to the client and never to assume that the other member of staff will act professionally. I will continue to practice Gibbs reflective model for personal growth and will aim to become more confident when confronted with a similar situation. As the management and a consultant trainee, I aim to consistently uphold professionalism and always take due diligence care when undertaking any responsibility given.
After the incident, I have decided to change my behaviors. The first one being that I will never assume my colleague will act by the set rules and guidelines. I will always be conscious to see that due care is taken and guidelines adhered to me being at the forefront without the assumption of the other person’s behavior. Gibbs model has allowed me to rationally reflect and evaluate myself and has helped me identify some of my behavioral weaknesses.
Gibbs, G. (1988) Learning by doing: a guide to teaching and learning methods. Oxford: Further Education Unit.
Hindle, T., (2009) SWOT analysis. The Economist. Available at: https://www.economist.com/node/14301503 [Accessed May 8, 2018].
Koocher, G. and Spiegel, K. S. (2010) 'Peers Nip Misconduct in the Bud', Nature, 466(2), 438-440
Rutkowski, G. K., Gruder, C. L., & Romer, D. (2013). 'Group cohesiveness, social norms, and bystander intervention,' Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 44(3), 545-552.
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