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Business Consultancy Assignment: Evaluation of Learning & Skills Development Across the Project

Question

Task: Business Consultancy Assignment Task Requirements:
Task one
Having worked as part of the team solving your client’s business problem, this task requires you to reflect on the process and evaluate your learning and your skills development. For example,

  • Which skills have you developed and/or enhanced as a result of the project?
  • What do you know now that you didn’t know at the start of the process?
  • To what extent has your level of confidence improved?
  • How could you use your learning in your future career?

Your critical evaluation should be supported with examples.
Task two
Taking into account your evaluation in task one, this task requires you to identify THREE skills gaps or areas where you consider that further development would be useful, for you to be successful in your business career. Propose a plan of action for filling these gaps/developing these areas.

Answer

Business Consultancy AssignmentTask 1
It has become essential for individuals to develop various skills that enable them to work efficiently in teams of organizations. This is because organizations are now increasingly focusing on teamwork for achieving desired objectives instead of depending on only individual efforts. I have acquired the opportunity of developing and understanding the value of various teamwork skills while working for solving the client's business problem. I have realized that these skills enable me to become more cooperative, getting along with others, agreeable, supportive, helpful and collaborative while working together with others (Robles, 2012). In this regard, I have developed certain necessary teamwork skills while I still need to improve on others. One of the most important skills that I have been able to develop while working on a team project for the client is communication. During the entire project, all the team members were constantly required to communicate with each other on several topics and further interact with the team leader and client as and when required. Being a part of this team, I interacted with the team members when any specific challenges occurred and consequently, communicated them to the client and leader for keeping them in the loop. Furthermore, I also learnt how to manage time effectively for carrying out the tasks in the project (Fapohunda, 2013). For example, one of the team members was late during the second week of the project in carrying out some research that I had to present to the client. The delay in the team member's tasks reduced my time for completing the presentation. This taught me to manage the time between other critical tasks based on their priority and delivering the same to the client. In this regard, I got the opportunity of developing my coordinating skills as well as effectively collaborated with other team members for achieving the desired targets for that week (Seetha, 2014). Here, I communicated with them about the crisis that I was facing, which helped my team members to better understand and help me with some of the tasks. I also listened to their obligations in the task completion and accordingly, directed them to take up few more tasks. This enabled me to deliver the presentation on market research for the client on time. Besides, it also helped me to enhance my problem-solving skills as without being confused or puzzled, I focused on how to solve the problem at hand by evaluating the available options.

Previously, I thought that possessing only subject and technical knowledge and hard skills amongst each of the team members is enough for carrying out projects. However, with the client's business and participating in the teamwork, I eventually realized the importance of soft skills as well. These skills mainly include communication, listening, problem-solving, critical thinking, negotiation, leadership, collaboration and others. Besides, I was also of the opinion that these skills cannot be developed over time, which changed while undertaking teamwork. I was able to analyse my skills and consequently focus on developing them throughout the entire project of solving the client's business problem. I have also understood the importance of communicating and listening to others effectively that helps in resolving conflicts within the team (Ginting, et al., 2020). Now, I am more comfortable in sharing my thoughts or opinions in teamwork without having the fear of being looked down upon before others. This is because I have realized the importance of soft skills in teamwork.

I am now more comfortable and confident about expressing my opinions or viewpoints in front of the team members by properly communicating with them. This was not the case before the teamwork that I had participated in. Instead, I would feel nervous in displaying my concerns or thoughts before others.

However, with the development of my soft skills, I have gained more confidence in participating in the discussions with my team members (Sulaiman, Mahbob and Hassan, 2012). Despite this, I am still doubtful about my critical thinking and leadership abilities in the team as often I felt that I was unable to weigh options before undertaking any decisions. Besides, I also faced some difficulties in taking any action in crucial situations because of my low confidence.

In my opinion, teamwork skills are valuable for both life and work that can help me in my future career. With organizations working across various countries, individuals inevitably come across peers from different social, cultural and economic backgrounds. Such cultural and social differences often create major conflicts that can be reduced with proper soft skills like communication, collaboration, negotiation and coordination (Beadle and Townend, 2014). Furthermore, I would be required to work alongside various other individuals at every step of my career. Interacting or communicating with them in an empathetic, efficient and responsible manner can be ensured through proper teamwork skills and abilities. This will further help me to accomplish my career goals through the attainment of the team objectives, strengthen my resume and contribute positively to the organization's success. Besides, I will also be able to build rapport and enhance my network with industry professionals, which is essential for changing or growing my career (Lazarus, 2013). This is because building rapport will help me to develop deeper working relationships, acquire new work opportunities and build new connections for my future. In addition, these skills are also essential for personality development that can enable me to become a successful leader in the future.

Task 2
I have been able to develop various soft skills while undertaking the team project for solving the client’s business problem. These include communication, collaboration, and time management, problem-solving and other skills. However, I think that there remains the need for improvement in other essential teamwork skills, such as critical thinking, negotiation and leadership skills. I was unable to portray these skills because of my lack of confidence and thus, these skills require improvement for benefits in my future career.

I was not able to effectively evaluate various options by thinking critically to analyse the impact of their pros and cons on the teamwork. Such a lack of critical thinking skills made it difficult for me to undertake any timely decisions. For example, during the third week of the project, one of the team members remained absent because of severe illness. The tasks allocated to the member remained pending and thus, I decided to undertake them for ensuring timely achievement of the daily target. However, I did not analyse the repercussions of that decision that would have on the delivery of my tasks, which caused a slight delay. This indicates that I was unable to critically evaluate various options before undertaking the responsibility by myself and without thinking about the impact it would have on my job (Butterworth and Thwaites, 2013). Furthermore, there was another occasion where I thought that it would be ideal to carry out the market research by focusing on various market segments that the client caters to. Some of the group members thought that the research should be undertaken by considering the entire market as a homogenous segment while others were agreeing with me. However, I could not convince them through proper logical explanations and justifications why my way or method was more beneficial for the client. This was because of my fear of creating conflicts and the absence of effective negotiation skills (Chapman, Miles and Maurer, 2017). It resulted in a delay in the project as ultimately, we were required to perform segmentation for carrying out the market research. This delay could have been prevented if I possessed the negotiation skills of convincing my team members about the same.

Besides, I came to realize that my leadership skills need immense improvement in this regard. This is because both critical thinking ability and negotiation skills are crucial for becoming a successful leader. Without these skills, I would not be able to lead my subordinates in the right direction. Moreover, leadership skills are also required for bringing out the best abilities in the team members in which I was unsuccessful during the team project. Thus, I would like to focus on the improvement of these three skills, namely, critical thinking, negotiation and leadership.

For this purpose, I have formulated a plan of action through a personal development plan for fulfilling my desired goals and focusing on the areas of development or skills gaps. Here, I have provided the goals, actions and timeframe required for systematically reducing the above-mentioned skill gaps (Beausaert, et al., 2013). This plan would help me to overcome my weaknesses and improve the three skills within a stipulated time for becoming a successful leader in my future career.

Table 1: Personal Development Plan

Area of Development

Goals

Actions

Timeframe

Critical Thinking

To evaluate possible courses of action or alternatives.

Analysing the impact of each alternative.

Four to six months

Negotiation

To convince individuals with logic.

Generating logical explanations and practicing negotiation

Three to four months

Leadership

To emerge as a successful leader

Developing strategic thinking, people management, persuasion and influence skills

Five to six months

Reference List
Beadle, M. and Townend, S., 2014.Team working.Fundamentals of Midwifery: A Textbook for Students.

Beausaert, S., Segers, M., Fouarge, D. and Gijselaers, W., 2013.Effect of using a personal development plan on learning and development.Journal of Workplace Learning, 25(3), pp. 145-158.

Butterworth, J. and Thwaites, G., 2013. Thinking skills: Critical thinking and problem solving.Cambridge University Press.

Chapman, E., Miles, E.W. and Maurer, T., 2017.A proposed model for effective negotiation skill development.Journal of Management Development, 36(7), pp. 940-958.

Fapohunda, T.M., 2013. Towards effective team building in the workplace.Business consultancy assignmentInternational journal of education and research, 1(4), pp.1-12.

Ginting, H., Mahiranissa, A., Bekti, R. and Febriansyah, H., 2020. The effect of outing Team Building training on soft skills among MBA students.The International Journal of Management Education, 18(3), p.100423.

Lazarus, A., 2013. The Importance of Soft Skills for Job Success.Physician executive, 39(5), p.p40.

Robles, M.M., 2012. Executive perceptions of the top 10 soft skills needed in today’s workplace. Business communication quarterly, 75(4), pp.453-465.

Seetha, N., 2014. Are soft skills important in the workplace?-A preliminary investigation in Malaysia. International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences, 4(4), p.44.

Sulaiman, W.I.W., Mahbob, M.H. and Hassan, B.R.A., 2012. An analysis on the effectiveness of team building: the impact on human resources. Asian Social Science, 8(5), p.29.

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