Day 1 : The Team Theory
I was invited to be a facilitator for the first day of 14Apprentice. I was excited to join this program as leadership is my passion and I felt enthusiastic about seeing the legacy of the great leadership in APAcS and their great plan for the future and successive committee.
Right after registration, each participant had taken a personality test (getting to know yourself better is always a good thing).
Then, we had learnt & discussed these motivational & strategic videos :
We’ve also learnt about Bruce Tuckman’s model and Belbin’s Team Roles (we identified ourselves and our team members according to these roles)
Not to mention the constructive games we played called Human Traffic Jam and The Mosaic Tiles.
So basically, that day was really exciting! I felt a great amount of energy from the participants especially from my group. They were so energetic & participative ; they put in all of their passion I didn’t even have to give much facilitation. Instead, enjoying their spirit really made my day.
Day 2 : Project Management
Our first task was to construct a Twin Towers building for a couple of wealthy investors from Saudi Arabia.
Each group then elected a CEO, Head of Project and Head of Marketing. We immediately started to discuss how we were going to construct the building.
It was great to see a group of people, having only met the day before, being so engrossed in the discussion. Everyone took it seriously, each contributing relevant and helpful ideas to aid in the project’s construction and pitch.
Our points of discussion comprised of: The building’s selling points, location and placement of features, architectural design and ultimately, what purposes the Twin Towers will serve.
After fully understanding our investors’ motives and intentions, we discussed it and proceeded with the most efficient method to go about the construction and how to properly apportion our resources.
Next up, we started work on the building, all the while keeping in mind the amount of straws, paper, tape etc. (our resources).
It’s one thing to do so as a group and quite another to do so as two groups. We had to collaborate as a joint venture, each building a tower as per discussed and the catch was that we couldn’t look at the other tower!
Still, we managed and upon completion of the project, we had to pitch the buildings. It was a learning experience because we were able to see our building from a third perspective as we delivered our pitch.
This allowed us to examine our strengths and weaknesses – no doubt an important aspect in self improvement.
Did you notice the trend throughout the project? There was a beginning, middle and end. It’s how all projects are, basically.
Hence, after all of the groups had presented, both consultants Naveen and Syuqry went on to explain the process of ‘Project Management’ as follows :
1. Initiation – Define and understand a new project, its stakeholders, and obtain authorization.
2. Planning – Develop a plan of the most efficient way to execute the project.
3. Implement & Control – Execute the tasks and satisfy project objectives.
4. Completion – Reflect and review on the project’s progress and performance.
Keep in mind that this was explained to us after we had completed the project. It was great to reflect back on our decisions and how we had somewhat followed the process even though we weren’t taught it just yet. This is because all of us have been exposed to some form of a project or the other. You and I and probably everyone has been involved in a project, be it a ‘gotong royong’ at school or organizing a splendid event like this one in university ; they’re all leaves of the same tree.
Take a minute and try to reflect back on the last project you were involved in. You probably had a preliminary meeting where everyone discussed the goals and objectives of the project, how long it’ll take, individual responsibilities and so forth.
Guess what? That’s exactly what ‘Project Management’ is all about! It’s basically these bullet points above. They’re just seen in a different light now.
Having to pitch to foreign investors was just the tip of the iceberg. The consultants had a whole day filled with equally interesting and challenging activities planned out for us. How exciting!
Next up, we had to tackle a very sensitive situation; the group was on a sinking ship with a list of items. We had to determine which items were useful and worth keeping on the ship, according to their priority.
They say to find out who people are, travel with them. I say to find out who people really are, put them on a sinking ship. You’ll see – personalities come out real fast!
If that wasn’t fun enough, the consultants even planted 3 different moles in each team. From a character that’s blur and completely unhelpful (think Britney Spears), to a character who agrees with everything without an objection (think Jim Carrey). As for the cherry on top, the third mole was a character who absolutely had to contest and object to almost all ideas and decisions. You must already know, this was a Simon Cowell.
Again, we didn’t have a clue about those who’d been planted until after the activity was over. This allowed us to reflect back and understand that whenever you are in a group, there are bound to be different views and opinions from each team member. This brings us to ‘Team Development’.
According to a study conducted by Meredith Belbin, people will naturally assume different roles when they become a part of a group or team. There are a total of 9 different roles, broken down into 3 categories.
We’ve learnt this yesterday, remember? Scroll up if you don’t!
Now I know what you’re thinking, these are just a bunch of big words, but they actually carry some weight. Once you participate in a group or a team while being fully aware of these roles, your perspective towards the project and team as a whole changes. You start to see what Belbin is actually talking about.
Besides, each group member subconsciously falls into either one of these categories anyways. Better to know in advance, right?
Geared up with all of this newfound information, our group was ready to take on the next challenge – to prepare a proposal for a unique fundraising event.
Armed with the understanding of the process of ‘Project Management’ we went right at it, discussing different aspects of the project. We managed to cover solid ground before the time was up. We had figured out the event’s objectives, how much we were planning to raise and so on.
An important aspect of 14Apprentice was that everyone had the opportunity to be Alpha and take the lead on the project. It was particularly interesting to see someone who had exhibited characteristics of for example ‘Plant’, who is free thinking and carefree suddenly demonstrate leadership or ‘Coordinator’ traits. This just goes to show that we are all more than capable if we put our minds to it, or in this case, put in the spotlight.
Although it all sounds very serious, we actually had a lot of fun whilst learning and gaining knowledge and experience.
About halfway through, the consultants planned an activity which wasn’t as mentally exhausting as the others. We had to move an egg from one location to another while using all of the items given (raffia, metal ring, scissors) and there wasn’t much to work with.
It was pretty great that no group broke their egg. According to Syuqry and Naveen, this had never happened before (or maybe they say that to all their groups so that they’ll feel better).
Well, it worked indeed. Not only did we feel better, we felt much smarter with a fresh perspective, thanks to 14Apprentice as a whole.
At the end of the day, we had gone through many challenging activities. Won some and lost some, but it didn’t feel like defeat. After we were finished, we had learnt both from the victors on their strengths which helped them to win, and from our weaknesses which helped us see what we had lacked.
Continuous improvement – That’s the secret isn’t it?
We have to try and ensure that we’re better today than our yesterday. I feel like I can vouch for everyone who participated in the event when I say that we are most definitely better off now than on the first day attending the event. Having value added skills such as ‘Project Management’ and better understanding of ‘Team Development’ acts as a stepping stone from which we can rise up and make the most of ourselves.
So what are you waiting for?
Get started on a project today!
Day 3 : Self Personification
I know I am!
You know, projects aren’t meant to be personal. It’s more of a collective thing – one that’s done together with other people to benefit everyone, including our own selves.
That’s what APAcS stands for ; as our student body, our representatives.
It’s hardly a piece of cake to organize each event, from the minor ones (movie night) to the major ones (gala dinner).
So much goes into it. I should know.
Been there, done that.
Conflicts arise, crisis here and there, man, not to mention the drama!
The only real reason to keep going is this – For the greater good.
At the end of the day, APAcS is by the students, for the students.
I find it cool and impressive that everyone had received personalised recommendation letters to serve in APAcS 16/17. The key points included were your strengths as shown throughout 14Apprentice, as well as the specific department that you should consider serving in.
All that knowledge and experience, now, don’t keep it to yourselves. Go on. Use them!
The Chronicles team wishes you the best in all of your future endeavours 🙂
Contributed by Fazrul Amin (Commitment Star), Syed Farhad (Energy & Marketing Star) and Alya Jasmine (Leadership Star).