"Nothing good is ever easy". I can't remember who first said this to me, whether they made it up or quoted it off a movie, but I find it comes back to me time and time again when I am faced with obstacles on the way to something good. In a way this course reflects this mantra, the last obstacle before the final good of graduation after 4 years of seemingly endless papers. Not that I haven't enjoyed university, I merely find it is (at times) difficult, however I don't see 'difficult' and 'enjoyable' as being mutually exclusive.
Needless to say I found it a little bit nerve-racking to read Davies and Easterby-Smith's (1984) essay on learning and development when it suggested that formal management training may not be of as much use as we think it is - at least compared to on-the-job experience. Being a management major I couldn't help but wonder if this formal education is not going to get me anywhere, then what's the point? Though this was hardly breaking news, as I'm sure many of us have questioned the validity of our degree at some point during our university lives. Instead what I found most interesting about the Davies and Easterby-Smith's (1984) essay was the concept of novelty, and how facing it is possibly the best way for managers to develop.
In novel situations, Davies and Easterby-Smith (1984) say, our old learned behaviours are inadequate, and we must learn new ways to deal with the situation at hand. This is exactly how I felt when I was first put into a group and plunged into the relentlessly intricate simulation that is MikesBikes. Nothing I had learnt before seemed to be any use in this case, and 'novel' was definitely a good way to describe it (though during the early weeks of the course it probably wasn't my first choice of word to describe MikesBikes…). By adapting to the situation - and adapting well, might I add - we developed and grew because we were faced with novel problems which were difficult enough to hold our interest yet rewarding enough to motivate us.
Finally, after 4 rollovers and being the only team in our industry running at a loss after rollover 2, we've scored first spot in our market for our SHV. I know the game doesn't end here, and I don't mention this because I want to show how excellent our team is, I mention this because we have tried so hard and put extensive effort in to reach this 'good'. Had we been a team whom were all MikesBikes-savvy at the start this small victory would not have been as sweet - it would have been expected. As it goes, I feel that we have succeeded despite our slow beginnings due to the effort we've put in and sheer determination - which, I'm slowly learning, gets you further than you think. Perhaps it's the difficulty of these novel situations that make the 'good' just that.
Davies, J., & Easterby-Smith, M. (1984). Learning and developing from managerial work experiences. Journal of Management Studies, 21(2), 169-182. doi:10.1111/j.1467-6486.1984.tb00230.x