It has been another week of disappointment and confusion. My group really does try very hard to crunch the numbers and work out solutions to our issues. But what we had thought to be a good solution turned out to be the opposite. We have the lowest Share Holder Value, no profit, no cash, the dog has crashed his bike and I am at a complete loss as to what to do next. We had gone to see Peter during the holidays as a group for some advice and had come away feeling quietly confident. So with the extra time over the holidays we had worked extra hard on trying to find a solution. Everyone was happy with the solution and we applied the decisions.
I am struggling to articulate a single problem to focus on for this week’s learning journal. There are several which deserve my attention. First, why did the solution fail this week, second how do I lead the firm as CEO when I am not really sure what went wrong, and third what do we do next? After some deliberation I have decided to focus on the first problem as I think that if I can work out what went wrong this week I can then figure out a management strategy for my firm to figure out what to do next week. I also felt that I have discussed the other two problems in previous journals.
So our “solution” for the last week involved a lot of fine-tuning suggestions given to us by Peter in our meeting. We tried as best as we could to reduce most of our costs, so we could increase production. I tried to look at the results as objectively as I could and noticed a number of anomalies. Somehow we managed to stock out of three out of four products yet we have no profit? Second our idle time was high, but we were not making enough products to supply demand? Both of these had me confused. It seems as though our fear of running out of money prevented us from maximising production as our bikes are very expensive to make and because we did not sell out the previous time our sales forecast was even lower than what we were planning anyway. Whilst I was deliberating this in my mind I was surprised by some of the messages coming in from our group, most like me were confused; one individual seems to have kept quiet during decisions and was only now telling me how we should improve. Was this some evidence that our firm was descending into groupthink? (Buchanan & O'Connell, 2006). I was surprised, as everyone else seems to have a strong opinion and is willing to share their thoughts on every decision. In addition I go out of my way to check that every member agrees with our choice for more controversial decisions, so it seems unusual that this person could not share this information previously. My second conclusion was that it seems that despite our excellent results with SoloMike and with the practice roll-overs our firm does not really understand how to calculate what we have to do to resolve issues. What I mean by this is that even if we know that we have to increase sales we are struggling to figure out which decisions will affect this and if we change these what will be the domino effect in other areas.
I have decided that what would be most effective is to run a performance meeting as detailed in the readings this week and to try and get to double-loop learning from our single- loop learning (Argyris, 2002). I have thought closely as to what I would like to discuss with the team but since the meeting will take place early next week I will be unable to discuss the actual content of the meeting in this journal entry. Unfortunately we seem to just be problem-solving on a week by week basis simply because we have gone into a sort of survival mode. This is because we have no profit so our only focus is resolving this as we believe that everything will fall into place afterwards. I believe we also need to start considering that domino effect of all our decisions and to start having a closer look and predicting what our competition is doing in the market as this seems to also play a large role in our problems. I really hope this will help us do well next week; I am starting to run out of ideas…
Argyris, C. (2002). Teaching Smart People How to Learn. [Article]. Reflections, 4(2), 4-15. doi: 10.1162/152417302762251291
Buchanan, L., & O'Connell, A. (2006). A Brief History of Decision Making. [Article]. Harvard Business Review, 84(1), 32-41.