a) When I first saw the team I could easily understand that this was a group of friends working together. They are all extremely motivated since they are artists with a true passion that drives them to do the best they can.
This was my first impression because it is obvious that all the team members get along really well due to the way they interact with each other.
b) This team is composed by six members:
- Ami James is a very confident and strict man that seems to be the leader of the group. I can deduce this because he is controlling everything around the shop they are all working in.
-Chris Nuñez is Ami’s business partner. He also seems to have some power of decision within the group, but not as much as Ami. He has a more relaxed attitude towards other people and situations.
-Darren Brass seems to be a very smart and generous man. He keeps a lower profile than the other members who were already mentioned. It seems to me that he is also a very optimistic person who is always in a good mood.
-Chris Garver is older than the other group members and has more experience. He does not get very involved in personal issues because he is a very simple person and tries to avoid conflicts.
-Yoji is the team member with the least experience since he is still learning. Therefore he almost does not have any power of decision. We can see that he is always paying attention to what others do so he can learn as much skills as he can.
-Kat Von D is the newest member of the group. We can see that she is still getting used to working with the others and does not get involved in too many conflicts since she does not know that well.
c) The goal of the team is to “stay on top”. Which means that they are already one of the best in their area, but they will try to maintain that position by offering a good service that is customer-oriented, which means that they want their clients to always be satisfied. Another important factor is the fact that they also need to make a profit by providing this service. They are trying to be the best of the best in their area of expertise by continuously learning.
d) I think the main motivational factor is their passion. They all have a passion which is tattooing and that is what keeps them going and trying as hard as they possibly can. This is the main motivation for all of them. They are not all equally motivated to achieve the same goal though. For instance Ami is more focused on making a profit and having a more organized team and that is what motivates him the most, whether the others seem to be more motivated to satisfy customers by doing what they love.
e) The team members have a lot of things in common which are mostly their motivation –same interests and passions- and their ambition. They also have a lot of differences. For instance the attitude they have towards the business –some are more stressed than others. And also their ways of spending their money –some like to buy whatever they feel like with their money while others think it lacks of respect.
f) Commonalities and differences can create agreement or conflicts between the members. When they all agree about something it is very positive for the team as a whole, but when there are conflicts between members because they disagree on something it has a negative influence in the way they work. If there is a conflict there is more tension that keeps the team from moving forward to a new idea.
g) This group is a group of friends so they interact with each other in a very informal way. They are very extroverted with each other and feel very at ease. Since they are so close, there are also a lot of emotions that can get in the way. They also respect each other and pay attention to what everyone has to say. There are no actual rules for interaction between the members, only the fact that the follow values such as respect, comprehension and generosity.
h) This team’s biggest strengths are their union, team spirit and motivation. On the other hand this team’s biggest weaknesses are also the fact that they are so close that sometimes emotions can get in the way of their performance.
1.2. Student number 346829:
a) My initial impressions of the group as a whole is that they are highly motivated in satisfying their customers. Making tattoos is not just a job for this group, it is their way of life. For example during the episode they turn down the requests of their customers, because they don’t think it will look good and therefore they would not be satisfied. They all have a ‘’tattoo history’’ and they all like living the ‘’tattoo life’’. Everyone helps each other in the group, most designs are a little bit of every artists talent in the group.
b) Ami James: Is the true leader of the group. ‘’Guards’’ the financial status of the group and does that more than his business partner. Basically he is the manager who is always thinking about the future of his company.
Chris Nuñez: He is Ami’s business partner. Strikes me as someone that just lives day by day. During the episode he is spending large amounts of money, which his business partner is worried about. I think Chris does not think a lot about the future of the company, which he should do, as he is the co-owner of the company. He is taking the success of the company for granted and I wonder what would happen if the company had a sudden downfall.
Darren Brass: I think Darren is a guy that wants to keep the customers satisfied, even if he needs to turn down requests from customers. During the episode there was a guy that wanted a specific design on his arm, but Darren told him that some details would not look good, and I think that if the customer had not come to terms with Darren, he would have just sent him away. So he is always looking out for his customers own good.
Chris Garver: He did not play a great role in this episode, but he strikes me as very helpful, because he is helping everyone out with their designs, while finishing his own work.
Yoji Harada: An artist that was still learning, but is now going to work fulltime. Also a very honest person and keeps within the limits of his knowledge. Also does not have a big role in this episode.
Kat Von D: She is the new talent from LA. I think she is the person who enjoys tattooing the most of the whole group. When she talks to customers about their tattoos and draws designs of them, she is very involved and almost treats it like she is going to make a tattoo for herself.
c) They are trying to maintain their spot on top of the tattooing business
d) Their life is centered around the whole tattoo-world and that is why I think they want to stay on top in that world. I think that desire to stay on top of their world motivates them very much. Not everyone in the team is equally motivated. Chris is I think not as motivated as his partner. He tends to ‘’forget’’ the objective sometimes and just leans back as long as they are on top. They also have other motivations that drive them, other than the objective. Almost everyone in a group seems to have experienced a difficult period in their lives and consider themselves lucky to be in the position that they are in now, that is also a big motivator to stay on top, because now they have the opportunity to enjoy things in life that they could not before.
e) They are a group because they have the same goals and they look out for each other. I would almost say it is like a family. They are all very honest and helpful people, especially towards each other. They differ in opinion about how to spend money, how to attract more customers and how the manager of the store should be like.
f) It does not have that much influence on the way they work. Even when Ami was furious with Chris about his spending, at the moment they got back to drawing designs they all seemed to put those problems on hold. I think that is a very strong side of this group.
g) They all seem to interact in an extremely helpful way with each other. It seems like the unwritten rule is: ‘’If someone in the group is having a problem whatsoever, you need to help him.’’ Ami could not make a tattoo of a small penny, he did not have the skill to do that, so Kat gave him some tips and eventually ended making the tattoo. They are not afraid to talk about their strengths and weaknesses in each other, and everyone knows what the strength and weakness is of every individual in the group.
h) Their biggest strength is that they easily help each other and recognize their own strengths and weaknesses. When they are making designs they leave their problems out of it. Their biggest weakness is that they give each other to much ‘’space’’. Chris should be critically questioned about his spending. Instead they all just kind of let him do what he wants. During the episode he was spending a lot of money and the only time a group member showed his angriness with his behavior, is when Ami got mad and walked away. Instead of addressing the problem as a group they seem to walk away from it. This could lead to more tensions in the group.
For this group exercise we chose a Television reality show called Miami Ink (episode 1 of season 3). In this show a group of friends are working together in a Tattoo shop that is very well known.
The team we are analyzing consists of a group of six people: Ami James (the official leader of the team), Chris Nunez (his business partner), Darren Brass, Chris Garver, Yoji and Kat Von D.
After watching the episode we could all conclude that the main goal of this group is a very clear one: “stay on top”. Which means that this group wants to provide a good and honest service for its customers by trying to maintain its position on top of the Tattoo business.
We compared our individual views about the team we were focusing on. After presenting everyone’s vision we could see that sometimes we had the same opinion in the same subject. We all had the same views when we talked about the team’s motivation and the way they interact and cooperate as a team.
However, sometimes we had very different points of view. For instance some of us thought that this team was organized as a hierarchy, while others did not. We also had different views on the weaknesses of the team as well as in the relations between the team members. And sometimes we also disagreed on whether some of the behaviors of the team members in the show were right or wrong.
To back up each other’s arguments we gave specific examples from the show itself and focused on the group members’ behavior to better understand what the other people were trying to say.
Moreover, while we were talking about the behaviors of the team members we also noticed that sometimes the people of the show would discriminate and have prejudices about other people. For instance we could see that the people inside the group had prejudices held against people who did not have tattoos and thought they were not good enough or not experienced enough to work as a manager inside the shop. Besides, we also got to see some prejudice when one member of the group treated a client in a different way because he and the customer had the same disease. The tattoo artist felt a bigger empathy with this particular customer because they had some things in common. Furthermore, inside the group some other prejudices were held against members who spend more money than usual, this was seen as a lack of respect.
Their biggest strength is definitely that they are a union, who care about each other. The team is also very passionate and motivated to make good tattoos and satisfy the customers. Their need to do everything to satisfy the customer shows that they want to make profit in an ethically responsible way. Customers often vary in personalities etc., that is why it is a strength that the crew is very open-minded to ideas of the customers. As a group they have the same goal and their friendship connects them even more, and enables them to deliver better work.
Their biggest weakness must be their lack of managing skills. They seem to know little of how to manage a shop. Everyone seems to be able to apply for the job of manager. A car mechanic who knows nothing about managing, just dropped by the store and they let him ‘’manage’’ for a day. We feel that they sometimes are too proud and communicate with their customers in a very inappropriate manner. What we also noticed is that they don’t give each other feedback, which could lead to tensions within the group if group members keep building up anger towards each other.
They involve too many emotions in their work. They do not have a code of conduct, no behavior rules, they just act as friends while they are trying to run a business. There is no strategy for the future. They are just focusing on making tattoos and forget to focus on managerial strategies. They lack the managerial skills needed to successfully run a business, for example: the way they tried to recruit a new manager.
A good move for them would be to get a good manager who can work out a business strategy for them. They could hire a recruiting company to get that manager. We also think that they should do a management course. The course takes just about six months and it is only in the evening a couple of times a week. We strongly feel that that they should meet up every week to give each other feedback and develop a code of conduct. They should try not to get involved in the problems and privacy of the other teammates (e.g. Chris’ expenditure).
To meet up once a week to give feedback about the work, then they can solve their problems every week together and maintain their friendly, close and informal environment.
In short we can say that the group we have observed run a successful business but not really in the formal way you should run a business. They have a lot of strengths as described above but still they miss a few necessary points as it should be in a formal successful business. The group work very well together but they don’t have a strategy for the long term. Today you can have a good day in business but how about tomorrow? The friendly environment in which they are working together can have a lot of positive effect in the group, but this behavior can also disturb their mail goal. In short we would like to give the Miami Ink group the following advices:
First of all find a good manager for the company who can develop a strategy for the long term. Get a code of conduct; too much friendly behavior can disturb the work environment. Besides this they must give each other feedback and assess each other’s behavior and doing within the group.