For a second week in a row now we have suffered a set back in our Mikes Bikes rollover. We sat much more focused this week in our meetings and tried to strategically analyse why we had failed last week and thought we had hit the nail on the head with what to improve on, but alas we didn't hit gold again. While sceptical that there is another force playing around in our markets, we are really at a loss as to what to do to stop this steady decline.
While our team has taken on a very team based approach to Mikes Bikes, we do still run our group with regards to the different positions that we have. Seeing as I was late to the course, I was allocated my position, therefore taking on what happened to be one of the key roles without much knowledge. The role of operations manager is one that I understand in concept, however in practice i sometimes feel that I am playing a bit of a hit or miss game. "An administrator is one who directs the activities of other persons and undertakes the responsibility of achieving certain objectives through these efforts" (Katz, 1995, p 91), as operations manager I have a key role in directing the team in all aspects of manufacturing and production and whilst doing so am taking on the responsibility of trying to achieve the goals that we have set for that week and for our overall strategy. However as I stated above, while I have read and re-read the Mikes Bikes handbook, I still feel like I'm lacking the real skill to nail this position.
Why is it that I'm feeling like this? Is it because I didn't have the experience of everyone else of the individual rounds, is it because I have mis read the manual or do I feel like i'm struggling because this game like the real world is so unpredictable and not able to be aced?. Successful administration or execution of a job is based on 3 key skills according to Katz, and I feel that to begin with I am lacking in the first aspect of this - the technical skill. The "understanding and proficiency in a specific activity" (Katz, 1995, p93) or in my case the lack of proficiency may be contributing to the decline that we have been experiencing.An example of this is when we launched a new product and ended up having 80K of lost sales. While I had done the equations to work out planned production and worked out everything to the best of my ability I was just stumped when this number came in. How was I meant to have any idea that a new product would have that number for demand?
The way I have begun to deal with this is by using the 2 remaining skills outlined by Katz - human and conceptual to help improve on my lack of technical skill. I have been able to utilise the knowledge of my team in clarifying when things are seeming uncertain and by thinking not only about the decisions that I am making for production but thinking about them in conjunction with the rest of the decisions from other areas of the business.
Daudelin, M. W. (1996). Learning from experience through reflection. Organizational Dynamics, 24(3), 36–48
Katz, R. L. (1955). Skills of an effective administrator. Harvard Business Review, 33(1), 33--42.