Wednesday, September 30, 2009

3 Limitations In Dividing Work Effectively

There was once a student project that was responsible to organize a national level symposium. They divided the team as below:
Mr. E's team = to find speakers only (external)
Miss. S's team = to find sponsors (external)
Mr. X's team = find press (external)

All of these must be grouped into one department. Why? Because:
1. They need to have the same proposal to show to all externals. Which were in an on-going process throughout the project. Different Proposal = Different Expectation=A lot of Problems
2. They need to coordinate the time slot of the project to juggle allocate time slot for speakers, press and sponsors.
3. Leveraging on the combined pool of team members to average out the workload.

These things happen when a leader does not understand the issues and limitations when people work together in a team. When you are creating a team or designing an organizational structure of a project, please consider these 3 limitations when comes the time to divide and distribute the jobs.

• Human Resource
• Information Sharing

Human Resource

It is important to remember we have a limited amount of committee members on this project. Additionally, all of you are uni students, who have exams and assignments to think about. When deadlines are coming closer, more problems tend to appear and pressure is growing, you need the flexibility to allocate man power as fast and as smoothly as possible according to the needs of the project. If you designed the team or hierarchy in a very rigid way, you will have a hard time convincing a team member to accept additional work or shift priorities. That is why it is important to design a common objective for the team first than create the job description of the team. Give a general objective to the team first, then create the name and job scope of the team. Not like MTP or MPP where they think of the secretariat name first, and then they have no idea what project the secretariat needs to do.

Information Sharing

All project requires the work force to be divided so that we can focus on different aspect of the projects. However, some of these aspects are connected, interlinked and relevant to other parts of the projects. A lot of problems happen because issues are not properly communicated to all relevant parties, then, the misinformation or miscommunication would cause mistakes and lead to conflicts. And students would blame each other and back-stabbing would soon follow. Use ICT to makes sure that all team members are updated with the same information. Different information will create different outcomes. Conflicting information would create confusion and conflicts among team members.


When the hierarchy is too complex, it becomes a barrier to information sharing and communication and also a barrier to fully utilize human resource potential. Students Leadership always has so many secretariat and bureaus with fancy name but has not been impactful. One of the reasons is that these smaller organizations create a mentality that cuts them off from collaborating with other clubs or bureaus. For example, every college have their own entrepreneurship secretariat but each of them have received limited success (selling keropok and dadih is not what I define as successful). Why have none of them collaborated with other entrepreneurship clubs to capitalize on their pooled human resource and expertise? The answer is the bureaucratic mentality in Malaysians.

Ultimately, time and human resource is the underlying factors. Utilizing the most of what you have by using effective managerial principles. I will share the methods to do so in upcoming articles.


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