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I managed to take only a brief look at the readings this week. My first impression is that they seem to reinforce the value of acquiring useful, applicable and practical knowledge and skill versus just abstract knowledge and skills or abilities which don't connect meaningfully with practice. Davies's (1984) article seemed to explore this concept through the lens of managers needing to learn and advance in acquiring useful skills through effective analysis of experience. Sometimes this happens, sometimes it doesn't, implying that the capacity for learning needs attention. Katz's on the other hand looks at what skills and abilities make great managers and which are more or less superficial. The readings bring to my mind the question as to whether my team is learning the right things? Are we developing new skills and abilities that actually matter? Have some of us become more effective in what we are doing and other have not? 

Our business performance has not been great for the past two turnovers. Our sales and revenues are great, but our overheads are way too high. If we can maintain the same market share but reduce costs we should start to do well again. I think we have got into this situation largely because we have not really mastered the ins and outs of the simulation. Since doing really well and placing highly in the first practice roll overs we may have become really comfortable. I think that doing well early on actually put a hold on our learning. We must have begun to lack motivation to do better because we were really happy with our performance as it. The question was raised as a group this week about how we are feeling with our performance and whether we want to up the game or not, but there was no indication from any of us that we want to make more effort than we already are. So in terms of whether or not we are learning the right skills and abilities, I think we could do much better in this regard.

In terms of whether there is a difference in performance or learning capacity between team members, there is definitely one team member who in my opinion puts in more effort and contributes with greater dynamism than the rest of us. She is eager to study and learn each week and often comes with new ideas and offers greater depth of understanding to the rest of us. 

One thing I think wee should be doing as a group is to share our own reflections each week. Surely if we did that we would be able to become aware of room for improvement, develop greater unity of vision and purpose and attain higher degrees of dynamism. I'll pose this question next week and see what the response is. 

 

References:

Davies, J., & Easterby-Smith, M. (1984). Learning and developing from managerial work experiencesJournal of Management Studies, 21(2), 169--182. doi:10.1111/j.1467-6486.1984.tb00230.x

Katz, R. L. (1955). Skills of an effective administratorHarvard Business Review, 33(1), 33--42.

2 Comments

  1. A really interesting reflection. I feel as though your team has some similar issues with my team, in terms of becoming comfortable after succeeding and then having overhead costs that are much to high. I think you have answered your question of whether you are developing new skills, acknowledgement of the areas where you have to improve relates directly to the weeks reading about learning from experience, without the issue of spending to much, you would not have been able to develop the skills to identify these types of issues.

    You have followed the steps of reflecting very well, from highlighting the problem (poor business performance, complacent, lack of motivation), suggesting reason for why and how the problems have happened and then suggesting a solution (sharing reflections). 

    The reflection was very well written and easy to read, I think that if your team, much like my team, can manage to cut costs, while maintaining sales figures you should be on track for a big improvement.

  2. Hay Jeffery,

    Along with your group, as well as Matthew's, our group was in a similar position where we were riding high but have come crashing down in recent weeks. I agree with the idea of becoming too comfortable and it is something none of us should do as I guess it is pointing out that business is always changing and we have to be able to adapt and probably also try predict these changes.

    You say that becoming comfortable "put a hold on our learning" which I can see happening but I think these journal reflections have been quite handy for teaching us to reflect not only when things are bad but when things are going well. Seeing as these reflections are compulsory perhaps you fell into the same trap that I did and reflected on the readings and tried to link it to an aspect within the simulation/group decisions rather than looking at the problems and then using the readings to help solve those problems. I know this is what I often did in order to make my reflections a bit more substantial. I have therefore tried to change the way that I wrote my reflections and instead tried to solve the problems we had, or talk about ways we could improve (if things were going well) whilst trying to relate it to the readings.

    Also you say "So in terms of whether or not we are learning the right skills and abilities, I think we could do much better in this regard" - I was a bit confused as to what skills and abilities you were referring to... Are they reflecting skills? Ability to sit down as a group and reflect on things that could be done better if things were going well? This would help the reader plus enable you to go into even more depth.

    Otherwise it was a well written essay. Well done.

    Tim