15.337 Teams Lab

Leading Effective Teams

Smart enough to know we're smarter together

Why This Course?

Competitive advantage is often built on the quality of teamwork that happens within the organization. Great teams stimulate creativity and innovation, enable rapid adaptation to market changes, and produce breakthrough results. But building, developing, and leveraging effective teams is a complex process and success is far from guaranteed. Effective teams start with leaders who can objectively analyze and understand the inherently subjective experience of all of a team's members. Enabling each participant to reflect on how they are contributing to both negative and positive team outcomes sets the stage for great performances. Teams Lab is designed to help you develop the skills and frameworks necessary to diagnose the key barriers and strengths that determine team performance and to intervene in ways that improve effectiveness.

Additionally, each Teams Lab participant is given the opportunity to work directly with a professional executive leadership coach. These coaching sessions are integrated into the course curriculum so that students are able to take what they learn in class directly to their coaching sessions, reflecting on and practicing those skills and frameworks.

Who Should Take This Course?

Teams Lab is designed for students in their second-year of the MBA Program who want to leverage and lead high-performing teams and who are open to sharing personal insights, experiences, ambitions, and challenges. As a second-year student, we expect that you are serving in a significant leadership role, organizing a team to deliver a meaningful output. In Teams Lab you will combine this experience with a variety of frameworks and meetings with your executive leadership coach in order to cultivate both self and other-awareness in the service of improving organizational performance.

What is Required of Me?

First, Teams Lab capitalizes on the developmental opportunities associated with both recent team experiences (e.g., summer internships) and the co-curricular activities that Sloan students typically do outside of their for- credit classes. To participate in the course each student must be willing to discuss and reflect upon these team experiences in class. The more a student is willing to weave connections between class and the teams they are (or were) on, the better the overall experience.

Second, in addition to the experience you bring from your outside team activities, we are creating an experience in the class which we call a "team of teams." Over the course of the semester, you will be placed into one or more working groups. Over the semester you will work closely with a significant number of your classmates, practicing important team skills, testing your openness and vulnerability, and gaining valuable insights from your peers on your teaming strengths and areas for development.

Third, throughout the course you will be asked to keep a reflection journal. Following each week's class, you will be asked to write a short entry in your journal. Each entry is an opportunity to think carefully about your strengths and weaknesses as both a team member and a team leader. While some people might be better at teaming than others, we can all get better. Your journal entries will be assessed based on both the depth of your reflections, and your willingness to confront the aspects of your approach that are not conducive to being an effective team member and leader.

Finally, to maximize the opportunity for a positive, developmental experience, throughout the fall you will work with a professional executive coach. Coaching is often critical to the process of translating the knowledge learned in the classroom into accessible skills. You will identify 2-3 development goals related to your teaming skillset that you want to work on. You will also be communicating with your coach at the end of each class to share key reflections-in-the-moment, which will help fuel your coaching sessions.

How Many Credits Will I Get & How Will I Be Graded?

Teams Lab is a 9-credit course offered during the fall term. We will not grade your leadership ability (though we will help you assess it). Your grade will instead depend on our judgement of three key attributes: first, your willingness to engage in an honest assessment of your strengths and weakness as a leader and team member; second, the effort you put into improving those aspects that currently limit your effectiveness; and, third, your willingness to support your colleagues in their development. Teams Lab fulfills the MBA Leadership Elective requirement.

How Do I Participate?

1. Must meet the following pre-requisites:

----> A. Must be a second-year MBA student.

----> B. Must commit to completing all of the components of the course.

2. Bid for the course via SloanBid. This course is no longer application-only.

Check out this year's syllabus here.