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This week¿s readings appropriately focussed on the great variance in a company¿s chosen strategy and the potential pitfalls to avoid. Having finished the practice rollovers and as Peter said ¿removed the training wheels¿ it was time to sit down and thoroughly consider the elements that worked and those that didn¿t in our decisions. Our group found that what we initially believed to be the best strategy was in fact just one, narrow approach to the task and although we stuck to what we trusted for the first real rollover, we do have a few new ideas and considerations that will no impact our decisions for the rest of the semester.

In regards to the readings I found them particularly interesting and thought provoking, not to mention extremely useful for the beginning phases of our market simulation. In breaking down a strategic vision, Kim & Mauborgne (2002) argue the need for focus on three fundamental qualities – focus, divergence and a compelling tag line. I found myself agreeing with all three and was able to apply them to our Mike¿s Bikes group. Our group chose to remain focussed and centred around elements of the game that were pivotal to maintaining our strategy and consequently we were able to reduce our expenditure in other areas that we believed would not play a significant part in this ideal. However I now understand that there is a significant difference in being focussed and being short-sighted. Time (and not necessarily a lot of it) will tell which end of the spectrum we lie on. Upon reflection I think our team could have taken a much deeper look into the market to truly analyse what trends were/could be emerging. I also believe the areas we chose to cut costs in or avoid expenditure in, should still have been considered to ensure that we were optimising our chances of success. Right now, I believe us to be short-sighted and our company¿s value curve (Kim & Mauborgne, 2002) is likely to reflect this. In the upcoming rollovers I think our approach may need some reconsideration and restructuring.

Additionally we chose not to succumb to the pitfalls of a diverging approach (Kim & Mauborgne, 2002) to our strategy. As Kim & Mauborgne discuss, there comes a point where altering your strategy to the market and your competitors can in fact have negative impact on your company¿s well being. I struggled with this concept as I was initially a firm believer that the ability to be flexible and dynamic in market conditions that have a somewhat unpredictable nature to it was a positive and desirable attribute in a company. However I then came to comprehend that if we chose to react on the market alone, without any underlying strategy, we would always be one step behind everyone else – we would never be ¿price leaders¿ as Peter mentioned in class. I believe for our firm to find the correct balance we must understand that we need self-efficacy in our strategy but understand that small adjustments (in terms of specific expenditures) may be needed. However, I now understand that a re-evaluations and uprooting of an existing strategy is not always the best choice.

Complimenting this was the discussion of blue versus red ocean strategies (Kim & Mauborgne, 2004). The former encompasses all existing industries in which companies fully understand and are able to predict market actions and reactions, where as the latter comprises companies that alter the existing boundaries, fuelling the engine of growth (Kim & Mauborgne). I found this article simply re emphasised my understandings from the previously mentioned article; that reaction to the market is not the only avenue for success. I hope that our team will be able to realise, implement and execute a blue ocean strategy before too long and I strongly believe that our overall strategy needs to reflect and align with this. After all, how can we possibly expect to be leaders when we focussing on the past and what we can do to follow it. My current job entails elements of learning and development programmes for internal training and it has taught be that the company is genuinely market focussed but also recognises that in order to truly separate themselves from their fellow, high-profile competitors, they need to encourage innovative approaches to training (structurally and methodically) and always remain one step ahead. One thing that I would like our team to adopt in the near future is a degree of comfort with risk and unpredictability that will facilitate a blue ocean strategy. Without this confidence and comfort the reality of us realising our goal may simply be well-intentioned optimism that lacks conviction.  In light of these readings, there is certainly plenty for me, not just as CFO but as a part of a team, to think about and will have to get the creative juices flowing before we are ready to take the next step.

References:

Kim, W. C. & Mauborgne, R. (2002). Charting your company¿s future. Harvard Business Review, 80(6),76---83

Kim, W. C. & Mauborgne, R. (2004). Blue ocean Strategy. Harvard Business Review, 82(10), 75--84

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2 Comments

  1. Hi Chloe, (not sure why I just greeted myself...)

    Even though I wrote this journal just a few days ago, it¿s strange how much your opinion of your own work changes after reading another person¿s journal. I think the format Peter has given us for our reviews this week helped to get  me back on track to make sure that I¿m actually following the reflective process correctly, rather than simply stating what our group got up to this week. After reviewing Jd¿s journal, I can appreciate the power of questions in the reflective learning process. It might seem obvious to some, but until I reviewed Jd¿s journal that used alot of questions, I didn¿t really understand how it would help me.

    I think I have managed to grasp the early stages of Daudelin¿s reflection process – articulation and analysis of the problem. I displayed this in the second and third paragraphs where I state how our team had ¿focus¿ in relation to Kim and Mauborgne¿s (2002) article. Similarly, I believe I have reached the stage of ¿analysis¿ in Bloom¿s taxonomy and demonstrate this where I discuss how our team could have taken a much deeper look in to the market and not been so short sighted in our strategy and general approach to the simulation.

    In order for me to reach the higher stages of synthesis, I think I need to be a bit more creative in my problem solving. By just stating that our team needs to ¿take a deeper look into the market¿ I do not really give myself any foundation to work with on how I may do this. Will I need to consider the reports for all the different areas of specialisation? Or remain focussed on the financial statements but try to generate a greater understanding of the impacts the variables have? I think a combination of the two is needed as I should not be losing focus on my role as CFO. I mentioned in an earlier journal that my financial background is very limited so I think I really do need to work on my understanding of the implications of financial decision making. Additionally, I think it has been a bit ignorant of me to not make a bigger effort to look at the other sectors of the game and how they are all intertwined. The impact certain departments e.g. marketing have on my financial areas may be greater than I thought and I think in recognising this just now, I may have reached the stage of ¿synthesis¿ but again I need to be creative to really get into the specifics of how to solve a problem. I think this will be the biggest hurdle for me to overcome before the end of semester and the final journal is due.

  2. Hey Chloe!

    Thank you for posting this journal! It is one of the best learning journals i have reviewed so far and i feel like theres nothing that can be improved! 

    The main thing of which you have demonstrated learning is how the two readings had concepts that tied in together. You have grasped the concepts outlined in the readings such as Kim & Mauborgne's (2002) three fundamental qualities of strategic vision, blue and red ocean strategies etc. I especially like how you have written the third paragraph. You outlined the concept, mentioned you struggled with it and then showed your understanding of it. I have not seen many people do this in their journals so well done!! I also like how you have taken ideas from the readings and linked it back to your own experiences within your team. 

    I agree with your own comment that you have reached Daudelin's reflection process which is very impressive. And I have seen this in the example you have mentioned above and same goes for Bloom's taxonomy. You have shown the stage of analysis through out the journal, and especially when you identified that your team is short sighted. 

    I have read what you have written for you to improve, but I am a bit confused as to what Peter has asked of us. I think he has asked us to mention any improvements you could make to your learning journal and as I said earlier I am finding it difficult to fault your journal. What you have written in the last paragraph of your comment is ways in which you can become a better CFO for your team which is awesome that you're thinking about that. My advice would be yes, do look into other sectors of the game because they are all linked. A decision in finance, can affect a decision in operations and vice versa. I the ops manager for my team and therefore i have to work closely with all aspects of the game so its something i HAD to do, and was not an option. But it is always good to get a feel of what everyone else is up to as well but yes of course do not lose focus on your role as CFO. That should be what you specialize in.

    Thank you for sharing your work! I have learnt so much after reading your journal. I find it really hard to reach Daudelin's reflection stage, and im always at application. After reading your journal I am understanding how this should be written properly better! It'll definitely help with the massive end of semester assignment

    Good luck x