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Feedback was given to the Design for America Johns Hopkins & MICA Studio that fellow MBA students really enjoyed working on projects with the MAMBA (MBA & Master's in Design Leadership) students as these students are skilled at performing effective team norming practices and handling conflict resolution. For the MAMBA students, these skills are taught during their major specific design classes. To assist these non-MAMBA MBAs, I led a team to create a short workshop to teach some of the practices that MAMBAs use every time we lead a team.



My Team approached this problem by surveying non-MAMBA students to understand what they were interested in learning. We received a lot of feedback from those surveyed that students often felt uncomfortable being the person that led sessions to set team norms, especially the tougher questions like, "How will we resolve conflict?" Once all the research was complete, the team synthesized the feedback and determined four major focus areas. How to understand team make-up, how to establish team norms, how to check in with the team, and how to handle conflict. In order to keep the voice of the customer alive during the creation of the workshop we asked a non-MAMBA to join the workshop creation team.

Workshop Creation

To ensure the students attending the workshop would be engaged we created an agenda that balanced delivering information and the teams actively practicing what they were learning. My team also wanted to make sure that when the participants left the workshop, they had a tool that they could reference to remember what they had learned. Small cards were created with reminders of the steps that were completed throughout the workshop and clipped onto small carabiners so students could easily carry them on their backpacks.

Most importantly, we wanted the workshop to be fun! This was event that MBA students were choosing to attend outside of class to develop their leadership skills. Many hours were spent ideating out of the box activities, storyboarding the student experience in the workshop, and the final list of activities were "body stormed" by the workshop team.

Workshop Execution

To start the workshop, students were divided up into teams and led through a DISC activity to understand their team members strengths and how conflict can arise from opposite strengths.

From there the students were taught about Norming, Storming, and Performing in teams and asked to share their own experiences from previous group work. Understanding their team member's personalities and the Teaming frameworks, the teams were tasked with setting up their team norms. 

The students then simulated removing "hazardous waste" from a contamination zone given different stressors.

With remaining time the students were led through a debrief so they could reflect and share out on the strategies they had learned and what they used when faced with a conflict during the Waste Challenge.


A survey was developed and sent to the workshop participants for their feedback. Many participants expressed they felt empowered to establish and execute team norming practices next time they led a team.

Waste Challenge 

Client Johns Hopkins Carey Business School Student Ventures

Role Project Lead | Design Director 

The Challenge

To teach MBA students the language and tools for establishing Team Norms and handling conflicts within teams.

The Solution

Created a 90 minute workshop that walked students through different phases of the Team Norming process in connection with an activity simulating a high stress environment.

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