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While doing the readings for this week I quite easily noticed some similarities between the reading and my own experiences in the mikes bikes simulation. The reading focuses on the potential for growth that comes from looking closely at your operations, with the idea that it is possible for companies to miss out on growth opportunties and strategies due to the distance of decision makers from them. The distance between our teams and our operations in Mikes Bikes is obviously not as large as in a real life company but the idea is the same.

After a long streak of successful weeks, we had one challenging week (a few weeks ago) that resulted in us having huge amounts of leftover stock. We recovered pretty well the week after, but then it happened again this week. This is something that I feel could have been avoided on the first occasion if we had followed the strategy of looking at our operations under a microscope. We could have avoided it the second time if we had just looked at what the cause of this problem was. We made the mistake of having a blind flying growth strategy at a level even bigger than that described in the reading. Nevertheless it was a valuable lesson and I feel as if it helped me understand the reading a little better. The main theme I got from the reading was that it is important to keep an eye on as much of your operations as possible. Obviously it would be impossible to do this in a real organisation but there's no reason that it can't be done in Mikes Bikes. From my position as the team's CFO, it is my job to meticulously comb through our company's financial statements and look for ways to cut costs and maximize profits. This is something I would say that I have done a reasonably good job in each week. The problem with this is that I was doing it week to week and not looking at the statements in a way that I could notice long term trends in the statements. Had I done this, I would have been able to properly note the lowing growth in our country and raise more of a protest when our CEO decided on the levels of production for the week.

It would be possible for us to say that it's impossible to accurately estimate the demand in the simulation or that we had no way of knowing the effects of our competitors decisions but that would be falling back into single loop learning. This course is about double loop learning and we need to be able to admit where we went wrong in order to stop this from happening again. 

 

References


Argyris, C. (1991). Teaching smart people how to learnReflections, 4(2), 4--15

Baghai, M., Smit, S., & Viguerie, P. (2009). Is your growth strategy flying blind? Harvard Business Review, 87(5), 86---96.

4 Comments

  1. Hi Jacob,

    Compared to the learning journal you did on week four, you obviously had a better understanding of the readings this week. You pointed out some main ideas from the readings such as "it is important to keep an eye on as much of your operations as possible." and "potential for growth that comes from looking closely at your operations". The team experience you used in paragraph two was interesting and I totally agreed with you that you have done a reasonably good job as a CFO! Moreover, you did really good on linking back to the previous reading as well (i.e. single/double loop learning).

    However, for some rooms of improvement, I thought you could use the recommended structure which is "problem, analysis of problem, testing possible hypothesis." I liked how you actually applied you position as a CFO to the main idea from the readings, but it would be great if you could analysis more about the ideas from the readings. That would show a clearer understanding of the readings.

    Overall, a good learning journal with a clear structure. Good job Jacob, out great CFO(smile)

  2. Hi Jacob, compared to your week 4 learning journal you have improved by showing a depth in relation between Mikesbikes simulation and using relevant materials from the reading. It flows very well and easy to understand. You have also indicated the main problem and hypothesis to solve it.

    I would suggest to elaborate your context more and link back to more example you have in Mikesbikes and provide more explanations to them with hypothesis solutions, like you said you will be making more elaboration, I believe that will contribute greatly to your learning journal.

     

    Overall, great effort and keep it up!

  3. Hi Jacob

    After re-reading your reflection from week 4, this is a significant improvement. 

    You highlighted the problem of excess stock and the process which lead you there for a second time. You mentioned that you failed to learn from your first mistake and it took a second time for the lesson to really kick in. This isn't the first time that I've seen people put confidence as the reason behind their failures, so hopefully you will learn from your mistake. You talked about your "blind flying growth strategy" and how your problem was in operations. You then seemed to find the solution in simply being aware of this next time and not being caught in a trap of excuses. Finally you concluded by incorporating the idea of double loop learning into this context. Bringing in ideas from past weeks with is really valuable leading up to your summative journal. 

    I feel that you are capable of expanded the ideas in this reflection further (you said you were aware of this) in an attempt to find some deeper insights. Ideas such as: why did we think this way, are we still thinking like this, are there other learning opportunities that we're missing, how can I facilitate improvement, do others know about this problem, etc

    And generally speaking, using this framework (and explicitly name-dropping a few of the key terms) will help you structure your reflections from a higher grade and quality.  

    (a) Articulation of a problem. (b) Analysis of that problem. (c) Formulation and testing of a tentative theory to explain the problem.(d) Action (or deciding whether to act).

     

  4. Hey Jacob!

    Not quite sure why so many people received your name to give you feedback? Also for some reason, I can't seem to find my comment on your week 4 reading reflection (nor can I find them on my own profile) so unfortunately I won't be able to see if my comments have made any difference. 

    Compared to your week four reflection, it is clear that you have a much better grasp on the simulation, the course and the readings. It was great to see you incorporate theory from readings from a few weeks ago which shows you are still engaging with them. 

    Speaking from a CFO position point of view myself, I definitely do agree that it can be difficult to simultaneously keep an eye on both short-term and long-term financial strategies and also advocate that in front of and sometimes against others. The fact that you point this out means that you are becoming more self-aware and reflecting to a greater depth. 

    It was good to see you've also followed a clearer format and structure for your reflection this week in comparison to week 4. 

    For next weeks journal it would be good to see you address more potential solutions and tentative theories to add some forward-thinking aspect to the reflection. 

    Overall, well done and keep up the improvements!! (smile)