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Learning Lessons: 1st Quarter Reflections

Enjoying my school break, on December 14, I went to the annual food drive and holiday concert at Guitar Works.  This socially responsible store (homage to my strategic communication class and Professor Iden) puts together an hour-long performance featuring the talented owner, Terry Straker, and store employees, in conjunction with the guests who donate food for Evanston’s homeless. Ambassadors to Earth, the four-piece instrumental house band, hosts.

I just missed the show in 2014 because I was new to the guitar. As time rolled on and I looked at the photos from that show, I realized I had missed seeing Dan, my guitar teacher of now almost two years, perform “Hava Nagila” on the accordion.  

Now that I am back in school, I see things differently. Throughout fall quarter, how I currently measure time, I had to come up with examples of teams in the news. While a simple concept, it would appear, we had to use examples of how these teams were applicable to what we were learning in class. Furthermore, how many examples of sports team can one really be expected to tolerate….said the day one of class version of myself. On the last day of class Professor DeChurch assured us that we would never look at teams again the same way. This is so true.

Teams don’t just play sports and excellent examples are plentiful when looking at things with a different lens. The first realization is accepting that many people misuse the word “team” when it is a group.  J.R. Katzenbach and D. K. Smith describe the definition of a team in the 2005 Harvard Business Review article, The Discipline of Teams, as “a small number of people with complimentary skills who are committed to a common purpose, set of performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable”(p. 39).

While savoring those closing two numbers, I looked at the standing-room-only crowd and it became clear to me that Ambassadors to Earth are such a team. Their support for each other and affinity for what they do resonated throughout the show and served as the foundation of positivity and success of everyone who joined them on the stage throughout the evening. Their strength as a team provided the glue to make that evening a spectacular one.

Lauren Rein
MSC Class of 2017