ILMLevel 3 Assignment – Unit M4:01 Planning & Leading A Complex Team ActivityJamesHyland EnrolmentNo: FCA1302· IntroductionI am James Hyland, a 3rd yearElectrification & Plant maintenance Apprentice for Network Rail. I work atthe Rugby depot which is part of Bletchley Delivery Unit. In this maintenancedelivery unit (MDU) the role of the staff is to maintain the railwayinfrastructure between the Watford Tunnel and Brinklow on the West Coast MainLine and between Bedford and Bletchley on the Marston Vale Line.
There are a number of teams that specialise inparticular disciplines: Signals and Telecoms (S&T), Plant and Distribution(P&D), P-way (Track), Overhead Lines (OHL) and the Tech Office. These teamsmust co-operate and communicate with each other effectively in order to achievetheir own end results as well as the company’s.In addition, a great deal of planning has to gointo the work we do on the railway. Each of the departments will have adesignated planner who uses IT resources to aid them and also liaises withmanagers and engineers to create an efficient schedule of work.· Planning A Complex TeamActivity – Canyon CrossingTheaim of my task was to transport 1L of water across a canyon within a specifiedtime. The objectives for this task were: To get the water to its requireddestination in the required time, to ensure that the aim was delivered safely,to brief the team so they know exactly what needs to be done, to givestep-by-step instructions on how I’d like the task to be done and finallydebrief the team to receive feedback on my performance and to give feedback tothe team so they know what they did well or not so well.Forme, the purpose of doing this task is so I can raise my confidence for when Ilead a team in the future.
In my workplace I hope to reach a team leader rolewhich will involve briefing a team each time we go on track or have to do anout of the ordinary task set by the manager.Thebiggest resource I had to complete the task was my team. They were: NathanLogan-Smith, Luke Hill, Ben Houghton, Brooke Lawson, Lawrence Hawthorn, MattGrace, Richard Knight and Hafeez Khan.
The other resources were: a long thinrope, a long thick rope, a basket, a water container, two smaller ropes, amallet, a karabiner and 6 6ft wooden poles.Thetask involved some constraints. Most importantly there was a time constraint of45 minutes which included the brief. In order for the task to be technicallycompleted, no water could be spilt from the container. From the start, 3 of thewooden poles were on the opposite side of the canyon which also meant at least1 of my team members were as well. Any of the team members sent over to theother side could not be brought back until the end of the task and nor could Isend extra people later on. Therefore, I had to plan ahead how many people Ineeded to start on the opposite side.
Myplan of action, first of all, involved splitting my team in two. I had decidedto have 4 people start on the other side of the canyon where 3 of the poleswere located (side B), with the remaining 4 and myself on the main side withthe rest of the equipment (side A). In short, the plan was to create a loopusing the two longest ropes, tie the karabiner to the thicker rope, attach thebasket to the karabiner, place the water container in the basket and finally,with everyone involved, pull the rope tight and slowly move the rope round sothe basket moved toward side B. Before transporting the water over I was goingto test the smoothness of the system by transporting one of the small ropesacross which also forms part of the contingency plan. For a more detailed plansee the planning sheets attached.Aspart of the plan, I have considered safety issues associated with working nearwater, at height, with ropes and with heavy objects.
Some of the risks mean theteam have to wear some Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and/orcommunications. PPE is a vital part of the safety ethos of Network Rail.Network Rail have lifesaving rules so an objective for me is to establish thisethos in my team. As an example, getting the ropes from one side to the otherinvolves throwing a mallet that’s attached to the rope. If this were to hit someoneit would cause serious injury so to get around this I instructed my team thatwhen the mallet is being thrown, I will shout a warning and we all stand behindan exclusion zone. On the attached planning form there are other health andsafety risks or hazards which I have considered and how I will instruct my teamto deal with them.· Being able to communicateinformation about the activity to my teamTocommunicate the information clearly and efficiently, I used the Information,Intention, Method, Administration, Communication, Health & Safety, Checkfor any Questions and Skills briefing system (IIMACH?S).
This covers all therelevant points my team need to know to complete the task so I used it tostructure my brief. Within these headings I had told the team what they’redoing, how they’re going to do it, who’s doing what, restrictions on the task,communication methods, health and safety information, understanding of the taskand established who had any specific skills relevant for the task.Afteroutlining the title and the aim of the task I moved on to the method of how theteam would complete it. During the planning phase I had drawn up some diagramsto illustrate my idea in the hope this would give my team an insight into mythinking. Whilst showing them the diagram I explained step-by-step what Iwanted to do to reinforce the method.
Withinthe method I explained all of the restrictions to them, a couple being safetycritical such as the boundary close to the edge of the canyon. The restrictionon not spilling any water directly links to completing the task successfully.Another important restriction was the splitting up of resources (3 woodenpoles). This led me to split the team up. I decided to just split the team downthe middle how I saw them during the brief but I ensured that Brooke and Nathanwere on separate teams because of their skills in making knots with rope, avital element of the task. If the knots weren’t done sufficiently then we wouldhave wasted time later on.
At thebeginning of the task there wasn’t much for the team on side B to do so I madethem aware of this in the brief. I had thought about appointing a team leaderbut deemed this unnecessary due to the short distance between the two teams. Ialso considered having a sole point of contact, a team member, between my sideand side B but felt since I was shouting the rest would hear just as well aswhoever I’d delegated. The final role I delegated was time keeper and this rolewas given to Brooke on the day because he had a watch although it could havebeen given to anyone.
I wasnot aware of any particular weaknesses of individual team members that would berelevant to the task, only the knotting skills of Brooke and Nathan.Duringthe brief I highlighted what I wanted my team to be aware of in the way ofhealth and safety. I think it’s good leaving this later on as it is thenfresher in people’s minds.
While explaining where I wanted people to stand whenthe mallet was being thrown, I used hand gestures and physically walked over towhere I thought was a safe distance. This leaves less room for ambiguity andtherefore less likely to cause an accident.Thefinal step in the brief before sending people to their positions was checkingunderstanding and to see if anyone had any questions.
No-one asked questionsbut to ensure my team had a sound understanding of what we were about toundertake I asked questions to people on the spot such as “how long have we gotfor this task?” and “where do you stand while the mallet is being thrown?”. Bythem giving me correct answers to these questions, I was happy that theyunderstood and sent the team to their positions to begin.· Being able to review my ownactivity to a lead a team through a complex activityOncethe task was completed, I gathered the team for a debrief to gather theirfeedback about me and the task. The team agreed the task was completedsuccessfully, which it was. Then they went on to say what they thought wentwell. The team said that the delegation worked very well particularly as it waswith a contingency plan in mind. We finished well within the time limit set inthe brief.
Everyone had a job to do come the end. In terms of my ability tolead, they mentioned that I delegated from the beginning with a clear idea ofwho I wanted where; I had planned the task in enough detail that everyone knewwhat we were trying to do and the diagrams helped with this and that I listenedwhen someone had an idea that was better than my original plan.Theteam also gave their opinions on what didn’t go so well or what I could havedone better. They said that while the people on side A were busy, the people onside B weren’t and I could have kept them more updated with what was going onand I was quite quietly spoken at times.
In the future I could try to speak abit louder and try to keep everyone in the loop about what’s going on with therest of the team. By doing that I can keep their focus and interest in the taskso that when I do need them, the task is at the front of their mind.Theteam said they learned that keeping the plan simple, but also detailed, can beeffective. The relative simplicity was highlighted because we hadn’t used allof the resources available. They mentioned that point as something to recommendto anyone attempting that task.Myfacilitator agreed with what my team had said in the way of feedback.
He’d alsopicked up on that it appeared to be well thought out, the use of diagrams washelpful and the delegation of specific roles in view of a plan B waspotentially crucial so it was necessary to split up the two people with therelevant skill just in case. As well as the quietly spoken and keeping peopleupdated points, my facilitator also mentioned I hadn’t gone into enough detailon the way the basket was going be attached to the rope and the effect this mayhave on the water.Duringthe task, we had to divert away from the original plan of using the string tiedto the karabiner to tie to the thick rope and the basket to sit in thekarabiner. Instead the string was tied to two corners of the basket and thatkarabiner attached to the basket’s handles and a loop that was made in thethick rope. This was done stabilize the basket to reduce the risk of waterfalling out. This was an idea propped by the members of the team on side Awhich I decided was a better option.Myfacilitator suggested that in the future that I look more into the much finerdetails of a plan such as what’s mentioned above as well as the things talkedabout by my team.
He agreed with what we learned through doing the task, thatif you keep it simple there’s less to go wrong and would also recommend thatconcept to someone else attempting that task.Likemy team and facilitator, I thought we achieved the task and within the timescale and worked very well as a group. I praised the team during and after thetask to keep up morale and motivation as described in Maslow’s Hiearchy ofNeeds. Everyonewas clear on their role to achieve the task. I felt like I had planned the taskwell and had built in a plan B just in case. The original plan had involved atest run of the loop and basket where a smaller rope would be transported incase I decided we needed to make two tripods. However due to lack of time weadapted the basket as talked about previously and put the water container inthe basket to complete the task.
I think we stuck to the health and safetyrequirements well throughout the task.Again,I agree with what I didn’t do so well during that task. I have always had aquiet voice which sometimes means people don’t hear as clearly when they’re faraway. This can lead to misunderstandings and me having to repeat myself.However, on this task there weren’t any. In hindsight I can see how me notkeeping half my team updated could have negatively affected their performance.On a task on a much larger scale that has the potential to be a failure point.A final aspect I thought could have been better was lack of concurrentactivity.
Upon further reflection I realise there wasn’t a lot of need for itunless we had to execute the plan B.In thefuture I would go over my plan a few more times to ensure I’ve thought aboutevery detail and considered more eventualities. I am naturally quiet so I’munable to do a lot about that however I can try to sound more confident andassertive in my decisions to compensate.
If I feel volume will be an issue Icould introduce an alternative communication method such as radios.Ratherthan learn, I have a greater appreciation for simplicity in tasks. I haveproven that not all the equipment is needed to complete the task.
I havelearned that I can have more confidence in the future because I have succeededin leading a team.Iwould recommend anyone else to continue going over details of the plan over andover again to try and iron out more potential realistic problems. For thefuture I want to continue using the IIMAC structure, the 6 functions ofleadership (define the aim, planning, briefing, executing the plan, evaluatingand communicating) and I have set these four goals to continue my developmentas a leader:· Feel more comfortable duringthe brief.
I will measure the progress by noticing a difference in the way Ideliver a brief e.g. less stammering. I would require to be delegated tasks bymy manager.
This will give the team more confidence in me as a leader. This isan on going goal because I can continue to improve.· To look through the details ofplans more. I can measure how far I’ve come when if a problem is highlighted Iwill have some sort of solution to it. To help me complete this I would requiretime and perhaps ask other opinions about what they think.
Fewer mistakes willbe made and could save time if something goes wrong. I’d like to get to a goodstandard of this within 3 years when I might have taken on some bigger tasks.· Speak up when I have an idea.
I can measure this by noticing that my ideas or elements of my ideas get usedin solutions. I would require to be involved in team tasks as a member or as aleader. My idea may create a solution to a problem or inspire a solution fromsomeone else. I’d like to see an improvement within 6 months.· Communicate better with allsub teams that I create. I’ll know I’m making progress if I can see moreengagement in the task even when they’re not directly involved.
I don’t requireany resources except a team to lead. It helps to motivate a team when they feelan integral part of the task. I would like to have improved within 2 years. Bibliography · IIMAC Briefing Module· Network Rail 10 Life SavingRules· 6 Functions Of Leadership· Maslows Hiearchy of Needs