It’s a humbling and reassuring concept that failure doesn’t just happen to me, (being the poster-child for what not to do as a student) but that even professionals are subject to the pitfalls that failure can encompass. The reading this week also helped me see that in order to see a change there has to be an understanding as Argyris states, to ‘learn how the very way they go about defining and solving problems can be a source of problems in its own right’ (1991). I found this to be relevant in the Mikes Bikes Simulation over the past couple of weeks. As my group has been doing well and leading the market in China, it was a surprise when we found out that although we were doing well and were managing to define and solve problems within our teams, it became a problem for us as we may have limited the growth of our market and therefore hindering our ability to grow our own company. In my role within my team I had to reflect and ask myself whether there was any ideas that I had from an HR perspective that would help our situation but instead our team met with Peter, seeking advice from someone with more experience.
Getting a little personal with my own experience in Commerce, it is safe to say that I had a rather rough start with the Stage 1 papers (especially accounting) having only ever done one AS level business paper at school. Coupled with a careless attitude and not enough focus on my studies (amongst all the hype of the ‘first-year’ experience), I found myself failing far too many papers than ‘desired’. And as Argyris explains, on a single loop learning level, I found myself shifting my blame and becoming defensive over the fact that I was hard done by, rather than reflecting inwards and admitting that not going to any lectures and doing all assignments last minute is usually not ones formula to accounting success (1991). I underwent a process in which I asked myself questions such as: Is commerce the right thing for me? Am I doing too much outside of University? Can I better manage my time and whether or not I was taking advantage of the help available? When I sat down and went through these question I found that although I was embarrassed and didn’t want to admit my role in it, it made me accountable and triggered a new found desire to do better and in learning this lesson through failure, I feel better equipped this year to manage myself better at University.
Argyris, C. (1991). Teaching smart people how to learn. Reflections, 4(2), 4--15