This week I am coming to terms with how difficult it is to get back on track with MikesBikes after drastically falling behind. Our group has seen some turbulent times, which coincided nicely with the reading Learning and developing from managerial work experiences. Davies & Easterby-Smith (1984) describe ‘learning’ as short-term episodes, while ‘development’ is used for the long-term effects of individual managers. While I previously thought ‘learning’ covered all the bases, the ‘development’ of an individual is illustrated to be one step deeper into the learning process.
It was stated that managers (such as us in the MikesBikes simulation) that work in highly competitive environments are more likely of realising their self-development. In the practice rounds of the simulation, our team had smooth sailing all the way which gave us a sense of false confidence. Because we were doing well there was less to learn and develop from as there were fewer errors (or so we thought). However, after the detrimental first real rollover “the need for managers to change and adapt to changing circumstances” became evident, which is also one of the first steps of development. We were forced into situations that we had never experienced before which challenged our knowledge of the simulation, as well as our technical skill (in using MikesBikes), human skill (relationships among group members), and conceptual skills (knowledge of internal as well as external forces) (Katz, 1995). Davies & Easterby-Smith (1984) stated that “the amount of change and turbulence that was experienced in the company’s environment tended to be reflected inside the company in terms of opportunities for managers to develop from”. Perhaps I should look at the turbulence affecting our group as an opportunity for us to develop from. Another somewhat positive way to comprehend this tough time is if we are successfully able to get back in the game and become a ‘real’ competitor, it will mean that our group has become more experienced in learning from our mistakes as well as our environment, and in turn have developed over time, while other teams who have not faced turbulence would not have experienced and dealt with this before.
Although MikesBikes is only a simulation, I think that if we had really experienced each MikesBikes ‘year’ as 365 days, our team would have experienced some undeniable self-development. As one participant articulates, “…it was the fact of being given responsibility for a discrete area of the business or organisation that was critical to their development: the need to take decisions under conditions of risk and uncertainty and to implement the resulting plans was, in some cases, exhilarating.” which is exactly how I feel about our roles in MikesBikes. Each one of us has been assigned a specific role which is all crucial to the well-being of our company. We have been facing a lot of risk with our decisions after our first rollover and it is strenuous to attempt to rectify our respective roles without damaging the company further. It is evident that being in new and unfamiliar scenarios enables one to develop, especially if left to one’s own devices. I hope that we are able to have learned from the previous weeks and worked together effectively in order to rectify our position in the market. Only 5 o’clock will tell.
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
Katz, R. L. (1955). Skills of an effective administrator. Harvard Business Review, 33(1), 33--42.