Lessons in teamwork

Meredith is a Molecular Biologist in Seattle.

Meredith is a Molecular Biologist in Seattle.

Meredith Heestand just finished her first quarter of the Evening MBA Program. Below she discusses what she learned about teamwork and how she’s excited that this is only the  beginning.

 

Teamwork.

It’s not always easy, but the reward is worth the work.

You might think that this point is fairly obvious. Come on, it’s an MBA program! But for a molecular biologist that mostly works independently and has played individual sports her entire life, let’s just say the learning curve was rather steep.

Team 7 strikes a pose after finishing the Foster Fun Run 5K.

Team 7 strikes a pose after finishing the Foster Fun Run 5K. (L to R) Meredith, Mariko, Ray, and Chris. Not pictured Cary.

Thankfully, my team: 7, aka “Seventh Inning Stretchers” (named for our shared love of music and sports), have been unconditionally patient and encouraging since day one. Looking back, I keep wondering how on earth I got so lucky to be chosen as a member of this group of intelligent, witty, and hard-working individuals who were even game to do awkward yoga poses in front of our entire class two days after meeting each other.

I also remember how scary the thought of relying on other people for certain projects and assignments was. What if someone didn’t pull his or her weight? What if someone just dropped the ball and didn’t show up to a team meeting? Oh, the horror!

Well, honestly, these things happen. LIFE happens. And that is why you have a team. There is an imbued sense of reciprocity that if paired with the right people happens pretty organically. Being newbies to the whole MBA thing, many of us overscheduled our lives in the beginning, thinking this program was something we would just fit into the mix. WRONG. But you have to accommodate. You have learn to be a willow that bends but does not crack in what feels at times like the biggest windstorm you’ve ever endured.

New beginnings are immense times of change and my teammates were there for each other through it all. At times when people get sick or are out of town, you have to improvise. Getting a group of five adults that work full time and have family/life obligations together can sometimes be a challenge likened to herding cats. Thankfully, with Skype and shared Google Docs (and snacks) we made it work!

But your team is not just there to catch you when life runs its crazy course. They push you to think outside the box in new ways. I surely would still be scratching my head about economics if it weren’t for outside of class discussions on approaches to homework. Even if the only reason I showed up in the first place was for the snacks. Good thing I now realize incentives change behavior…

Teamwork is also about celebrating your successes. One of the best moments of the quarter came right after finishing our Economics final where I found myself singing karaoke alongside my class of 2017 team and the one and only Professor Ed Rice. We work hard but play harder!

The Class of 2017 singing karaoke with Prof. Ed Rice at Dante’s to celebrate the end to their first quarter.

The Class of 2017 singing karaoke with Prof. Ed Rice at Dante’s to celebrate the end to their first quarter.

To sum it all up, it feels like I just finished the first quarter of the rest of my life, not just the next three years. My Team 7 comrades and the entire evening class of 2017 have showed me the enduring power that good teams hold.

And when I say the work is worth it?

Let’s just say I’m exhausted but I can’t stop smiling.

Bring it on, winter quarter!

Class of 2017 ladies out for a night on the town after making it through our first midterms!

Class of 2017 ladies out for a night on the town after making it through our first midterms!