Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Day 10 - Team Building 101

How do you build a solid team? Yesterday, I might have said something like, "just select people with a work ethic similar to yours; then look for complementary skills; blend them with strong leadership, and you've got yourself a team." The four-people I just joined forces with in a Social Media course were not selected in this way. In fact, we may as well have drawn names from a hat or been assigned by the professor. Yet, I'm hopeful that we just formed a terrific team. It is, at the very least, an opportunity to view the material from three alternate perspectives.

This class was asked to form teams on its own but given little direction as to how. We are required to have one partner here at MSU and two from a sister class at the University of Louisville. This is a very cool twist on the whole course, and I like it! Since I didn't know any of my classmates, I posted a blind notice on a course site and accepted the first three people to respond. We'll see how it goes. I'm working with two student athletes (competitive guys, I hope) and one non-traditional student (like me). Since forming the team, I received many letters from other students asking to partner and I had to turn them all down - talk about unsettling. Two of these sent excellent credentials and wrote such moving letters; all seemed willing to work hard. I'm hoping that the speed my teammates responded with is indicative of positive attributes. All you really need in a teammate is enthusiasm, effort and willingness. So, now we dive into the uncharted waters of social media. Hope we have a big enough boat...

During my last "team" experience things ended with me doing the bulk of the heavy lifting and four teammates enjoying an "A" I really earned. This will be different. A built-in component of the course may help; everyone has to submit an evaluation of his/her teammates. This should promote equity.

I'm amazed that social media is being taught at this level. I can't think of another time I studied any subject so fluid or current. Let's face it. The social media have infiltrated all our daily lives. I am intrigued to find out how I can better utilize it. Facebook has surely become a significant part of my life in the past year, and I didn't see it coming. How many would say the same? Have we all been drawn into a huge time-sucking void or is there something to this?

Today, our professor asked if we had Twitter accounts, and very few of us did, to my surprise. I have refused to "Tweet." My reasoning? It is ridiculous to waste time conveying anything in just 140 words, and who on earth would I follow? Oh, no! Hold on. I really enjoy reading my friend's status updates on Facebook. They're short and sweet and keep me in touch with the people I care about. Are those not akin to Tweets? I'm already on the bandwagon it appears.

Yes, this is the right class for our times, and it's definitely the right class for me.

In closing, I must share a little about the premiere I attended last night. It was wonderful. Angie Gregory debuted her film, "Goodbye Wendell" (in which I play a small, speaking role) at the campus theater for an audience of cast, crew, friends and family. Of course, we all loved it. Personally, I genuinely appreciated the cinematography, the story and the leading man (Caleb Campbell), who gave a mesmerizing performance.

It was a joy to see the pieces put together. There were actually plot twists I did not see coming - and I read most of the script. While not quite ready technically, the film is still in post production and when complete, this talented producer/director/writer will have a quality piece of art demonstrating her story-telling ability and artistic flair. Way to go, Angie! I am so grateful to have been a part of it.

My opportunity to participate in the film, my chance to audition, came about as a result of my being here - at school. This is yet another reason I am constantly counting my blessings. Also, it pays to listen when opportunity knocks. Going back to school has made me much more receptive to new things. It's allowed me to find satisfying volunteer opportunities, organizations and friends - all as a result of this educational endeavor.

I guess the cliche lesson of the day is: "Keep your ears to the ground or your nose to the grindstone" or something like that. Our lives are full of opportunity if we are open to seeing what is there.

Here's looking at you!


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