Working in a team requires our students to integrate with their colleagues, learn tolerance towards others and accept different viewpoints with a goal to build something extraordinary.
Teamwork is not an easy task for anyone and it requires that members of a given team favor the common good of the group over that of the individual in order to successfully get the job done. This means that students must understand how to prioritize what is best for the group, look beyond their own personal interests and accept shared leadership responsibilities between themselves.
Hospitality businesses and hotels look for team players, especially in the wake of the recent global economic downturn. Today, more than ever, the hospitality industry needs people who actively participate in projects, embrace changes and new ideas, and work together to solve problems. In this capacity, most companies place a high value on the skills of negotiation and the ability of their employees to provide real value to their organizations – all of which come with the experience of working in a team.
This semester, BBA Hospitality students are learning these skills firsthand in my course on Organizational Behavior. One of the fundamental exercises we undertake during the course involves a project whereupon students form teams to build paper tower hotels in 30 minutes. What is a seemingly simple task of building a hotel out of paper, actually serves to enforce their ability to develop a common vision between themselves, entice creativity, and of course, strengthen their teamwork skills in preparation for more demanding projects in their future professions. Given the time restraints, they must not only work fast but before starting they must agree to their roles within the team in order to complete the project on time.
As the clock ticks, it doesn’t take long for them to realize that they must organize themselves efficiently and cohesively to get the job done. Being a hands-on project that is full of blunders and pitfalls in the short time provided, the experience is one they will not soon forget and they carry it with them when it comes time to begin their careers in hospitality management.
To sum up the focus of the project, I am reminded of a profound quote from Nigerian author, Ifeanyi Enoch Onuoha: “Teamwork is the secret that makes common people achieve uncommon results.”