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.
Argyris, C. (1991). Teaching smart people how to learn. Reflections, 4(2), 4--15
Baghai, M., Smit, S., & Viguerie, P. (2009). Is your growth strategy flying blind? Harvard Business Review, 87(5), 86---96.