From unsuccessful to successful

Back to the time I was studying at Soochow University in China, I was the co-founder and  vice-president of a student organization call Model United Nations ( I think there is one in U of I as well ). As freshmen, being exciting and ambitious about our university life, two of my friends ( Mingrui and Xuxin) and I started this new student organization. We all had some experience with Model United Nations at high school and based on that we work out the basic structure of our MUN club. At the beginning, we all agree on the basic idea of this club is to encourage students to take part in MUN and improve themselves during the participation of this activity. In order to achieve that goal, we decided not to set boundaries between different departments of our club( just like a combination of One-Boss Arrangement and All-Channel Network),hoping with quicker information flows, they can work better and learn from the best of others. In addition, we thought, as a new club, this organization structure will help members know each other more quickly.

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However, things did not work out as we anticipated. Instead of cooperating with each other closely, most members are totally lost of what they should do. As planned, Secretary department is supposed to focus on the internal communication and managing our budget; Operation department should build connections with MUN clubs of different universities and look for sponsors of our activities; Operation department should work on the operation details of our activities. With this mixed structure, many students find they are more suitable for the jobs of other departments and their assigned works remained undone.Moreover , being no experience in student organization, most of them did not know how to coordinate the work of them other and have to come for us for instructions. Even worse, as commission members, we also did not figure put our roles. We still sticked to the scheme that meet together and work out what should do next together, which leads to the inefficiency since we could only meet when the timetable suits all of us well.

Aware of the drawbacks of our organization structure, we decided to make some changes to make it clear to everyone what to do next; what they should do; who is to look for help and how to cooperate with other members. Instead of asking members

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of different departments  to contact with each other directly, we encourage them to communicate with us first. Because, each one of us is responsible for a certain department, we can coordinate the work of two by the communication between us. In addition, we also reallocate the members to the department they find suitable as well.

By doing this rearrangement, we clarify our club’s character and who is responsible for what job. Students are also working at the position most suitable for them and it does release their energy and creativity. As commission members, we also understand who is in charge in what specific field. And this guides our members to ask the right person for help and order. What happened next proved we are right on this decision, in our first important activity: MUN Forum of Jiangsu Province, we did quite well as a team.

In the later analysis of our successful transformation, we found it relies on three points. First, in the first unsuccessful trial, most of members find their suitable positions and committed to it. Second, the privity between us ensures the communication quick and fluent. Third, the previous structure did make most members more familiar with each other and did give them some hints of how to cooperate with each other.


One comment

  1. profarvan · September 29, 2014

    In some sense you learned a valuable lesson. Structure matters for group function and initial structure may be far from ideal. Further there is the issue about how group members learn what they should be doing. Who teaches them? How much to they have to figure out on their own? In a group that is just starting out, those learning issues may be masked because the larger mission may seem to command what to do. But those learning issues are there.

    I liked the conclusion of this piece. Groups do function better if the members know one another and get along. It seems you initial experience encouraged that even if it didn’t all go according to plan.


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