This week's readings provided an important breakthrough for me. Prior to this week I would do readings but generally focus on the reading at hand, and not how it relates to my other courses' material. The readings this week made me feel very comfortable about my degree and the level of knowledge that I have derived from it. For the first time, I found that while doing the readings I was not only able to understand what the point that the authors were trying to get across, but also relate it to what I have learned in previous courses in order to give it additional meaning to myself. In other words, I was reaching the higher levels of analysis and synthesis from Blooms taxonomy while doing the reading instead of having to go through multiple times first.
Although I agreed with much of what the Spreier, Fontaine, & Malloy (2006) Leadership Run Amok reading had to say, I still felt as if it was a little off. This reading points to leaders who are overly focused on achievement as a problem faced by many organisations and even a cause of failure for some. I believe that a better reason for these businesses failing is that these leaders are too focused on short term achievement. My first reason for coming to this conclusion comes from the Collins, (2005) reading about level 5 leadership. This was full of examples of leaders who had been focused on long term achievement for the companies they ran. It was also full of examples of leaders who had focused on short term results while they were in leadership positions, that fizzled when they left the company, which according to them showed the world what amazing leaders they had been. The difference between these two types of leaders was not how much they focused on achievement but how much they focused on lasting achievement. The level five leaders were able to recognise that they were working towards something larger than themselves and work towards the continuity of their organisations. The leaders of the comparison companies had huge egos and saw themselves as the most important part of the organisation and therefore only worked towards results while they were the leader of the organisation.
Aside from the level five leadership reading, I was also able to relate what was said in the Spreier, Fontaine, & Malloy (2006) reading back to what I have learned in my marketing papers. There are four eras in the history of marketing; the production era, the sales era, the marketing era, and the current relationship marketing era. The problem with the leaders in this reading was that they focused on strategies that were too similar to those from the first three eras of marketing. Like the leaders from these eras, the leaders in the reading focused primarily on achievement in the present and short term goals. Leaders like these are good for giving organisations a kickstart in difficult times but their focus on the short term can be detrimental to the future of the organisation when rivals are occupied with long term goals.
So what does this mean for me? Obviously I can now say that I have a much greater level of understanding for the course material from my marketing papers but more importantly I think I understand the idea of this paper a little more. The purpose of MGMT 300 is to learn how to learn and adapt to situations quickly. Prior to taking this course I did not make a conscious effort to reflect on what I had learned in my other papers, meaning that I had far fewer opportunities to learn from them. Learning about Bloom's taxonomy and Daudelin's steps of reflection has taught me what I should be able to do with my course material and how to do it faster. Because of this I was able to reach the higher levels of learning at a much faster pace. Finally, Daudelin's final stage of reflection, action, for this week does not come from what is in this weeks readings (since I am not in a leadership position I do not see how I can relate readings about how to be a good leader to my life just yet) but from what I took out of them. After this week's reading I have learned the true importance of reflection and higher levels of learning. Since I did this without even realising it at the time, surely making a conscious effort to reflect and reach the higher levels of learning will allow me to learn at an even faster pace.
Collins, J. C. (2005). Level 5 leadership: the triumph of humility and fierce resolve. Harvard Business Review, 83(7/8), 136--146
Spreier, S. W., Fontaine, M. H., & Malloy, R. L. (2006). Leadership run amok. Harvard Business Review, 84(6), 72--82