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Well it's come to the time which at the beginning of semester I was counting down to.. the last of the journal entries. While I won't pretend that I now overly enjoy writing these journal entries, over the course of the semester I have slowly begun to see the value in reflecting each week and making an effort to evaluate the learning and experiences that have gone on.

To summarise our week of Mikes Bikes in one word - disappointment. For about the 4th week in a row we have suffered a decline in our shareholder value. I spoke about it last week in my journal that we really made a huge effort to sit down as a team and analyse where it was that we were going wrong. We had identified that we had good sales but terrible profit and subsequently began to start cutting costs that we felt were not providing us with the return that they should be. We did the same this week, where we all thought about what had gone wrong and came to the meetings with ideas and alternative strategies to try and help us regain some shareholder value. But once again we were met with disappointment. 

When thinking about the past week, I really struggle to actually articulate the problem. Purely because  myself and the rest of the team are kind of at a loss as to what it is specifically that we are doing wrong. We have great communication within the team, we have tried to stick to a thought out strategy and we have tried to be really deeply analytical of our decisions to source out the problem. So maybe I would put down our problem to lack of understanding or lack of skill at this game. How is that we are suffering this though and some teams are doing so well? Is it because we have misread or misunderstood the players manual, does it come down to pure luck in how your world is playing out or is it because we haven't grasped the key management principals behind running a business. When i say that, I mean not just understanding the theory that we have been taught throughout various courses but the actual practical implication of that and the financial and numbers knowledge needed to put things into production and advertising etc. I will admit that from the get go, I found the idea of running a whole business like this quite overwhelming. We were management majors not finance or operations majors, how were we to know how much capacity a factory would need to produce X amount of bikes etc. While we have come (somewhat) to overcoming this, maybe it was our fear and lack of confidence from the beginning that has lead to where we are today. 

I think that our firm is experiencing a revolution - " a period of substantial turmoil in an organisation's life" (Greiner, 1972, p38)  - and that we, as Greiner describes have failed to "see that many clues to our future success lie within our own organisation" (Greiner, 1972, p38). I don't believe that this has come about by lack of trying, but maybe just by lack of successful analysis of our failed decisions. I think back and wonder if we should have utilised Peter more in trying to understand where our decisions had gone wrong, considering he has played this game so many times before us. Maybe this stubbornness to try and sort everything out ourselves lead to our downfall. Asking for that extra help might have helped us to analyse the results we were getting better and I think that with 2 rollovers to come this week, Peter's help may be our last resort. The task for us now is to "fins a new set of organisation practices that will become the basis for managing the next period of evolutionary growth" (Greiner, 1972, p 40). While it is the last week next week, we as a team have decided to battle right on till the end. 

In moving forward into the last week of Mikes Bikes, into writing the summative journal and from coming away from this course, I found the reading by Clayton Christensen really enlightening. The main points that I felt resonated with me and how to improve on our issues for the final week and to consider when writing my final journal were firstly the idea that "if a company's resource allocation process is not managed masterfully, what emerges can be very different from what management intended" ( Christensen, 2010, p48). Unconsciously people always allocate their personal resources to things that will yield the most tangible accomplishments (Christensen, 2010) and I believe that throughout this course I have been more focused on trying to achieve well in Mikes Bikes rather than trying to apply the things that I was learning and analyse what I was taking away from it, which is something that I want to consciously make more of an effort to achieve.While we may not come top of the class for our SHV, I would hope that we still felt that we have gained a lot from the game.  Secondly the idea that "if you have a humble eagerness to learn something from everybody, your learning opportunities will be unlimited"( Christensen, 2010, p51). I have felt this throughout the whole semester that I have learnt a lot not just from the readings but also from my team mates. Whether it is their interpretation of the readings and how that should be applied to our firm or just their insight into the game.

 

References:

Christensen, C. M. (2010). How will you measure your life? Harvard Business Review, 88(7/8), 46-51.

Daudelin, M. W. (1996). Learning from experience through reflectionOrganizational Dynamics, 24(3), 36–48

Greiner, L. E. (1972). Evolution and revolution as organizations growHarvard Business Review, 50(4), 37--46.

 

4 Comments

  1. Hi Georgina, 

    Although your group has struggled to increase it SHV, I see from the reports that you did have a positive profit, so thats a step in the right direction. Being in the same world as you, our team has found it difficult to increase our SHV significantly as well, it seems that India, due to its competitiveness, is a tough world to figure out. 

    The thing that really helped us, was to go back to our last successful year and cut our costs dramatically so they were in line with that year, although it seemed like a step back, it enabled us to start over, so to speak.

    I enjoyed your reflection as it really showed what your team was going through, your application of the Greiner reading was used really well. I too found the Christiansen reading to be really interesting, thinking of ways we can use what we have learnt in other areas of our life.

    Good luck for the final two rollovers.

     

  2. Hello Georgie,

    • I liked your viewpoint of this simulator being "overwhelming". I too felt this way at the beginning but I think it was attempted to bridge the gap between university and a real job. Even though elements of this paper are very unrealistic, I think it will help us all in the future especially in terms of dealing with other people in a working environment.
    • You have integrated the information in the readings well throughout your journal. In your fourth paragraph you have taken the readings and applied it to your company by saying "I think that our firm is experiencing a revolution" which I think is clever as you show you understand the reading but also show the understanding of how it is related to the real world.
    • I too have considered asking Mr Smith for help at times, but then again I have also enjoyed not asking. I have enjoyed this paper as we haven't really been told how to do things but instead been forced to try things, and learn from our successes and failures. I think not asking has lead to the ability to write these journals because it is a fine line between asking for help and learning something and asking for help and not learning something, rather just get told the answer and enter it into the simulation. I have heard from friends that Mr Smith never answers the question directly (in order to help us figure it out ourselves) which I think is smart, but I have liked being independent this whole time even though we have not done as well as i would have hoped.

    Well done though Georgie! Thoroughly enjoyed reading your journals throughout the semester.

    Tim

  3. Hi Georgie, I felt like your experience that you had with the journal and simulation is very similar to mine. The journal entries seemed a little weird initially, but I have too also realised the importance of them. In addition, the simulation does put you in a situation where you had to collaborate and overcome obstacles in order to get a positive result. I guess it is a part of the whole learning process. Your paragraph where you demonstrated your understanding of the reading and how you applied it to your personal experience was very well put. It shows you have highlighted the coalition with what you have read and how you applied it. Overall it was a good journal entry, and I hope you and your teams results pick up this time around! Good luck (smile) 

  4. Hi Georgina,

    The learning journal you have written this week has been extremely insightful and enjoyable to read. The structure of this journal incorporates Daudelin’s reflection process extremely well, thus it has rendered your reflection to be at the very high levels of Bloom’s taxonomy.

    My team is operating in your region as well and I can confirm that success is not easy due to all the markets being fairly stable with a few key players at the top while the others suffer. With regards to how you approached your problem of a declining SHV, I sympathise with you as you seem to have done exactly what my team did when we had a decline in SHV. As for a possible solution to help you with that, all I can really say that may be helpful is to look at successful team’s learning journals to see what they have done and try to use that as an indication of what to do for the final two rollovers.

    From where you state “great communication within the team, we have tried to stick to a thought out strategy and we have tried to be really deeply analytical of our decisions to source out the problem” and “come down to pure luck in how your world is playing out”; it appears that luck does actually play a significant role in this simulation, however maybe that’s what business is like in real life? I read one of Sir Richard Branson’s books recently, in which he refers to a large amount of luck being a factor to his large scale success.

    Lastly, I have really enjoyed reading your last parts of this reflection as you have done a good job in summing up what this course appears to really teach us. From when you state “While we may not come top of the class for our SHV, I would hope that we still felt that we have gained a lot from the game” and “I have felt this throughout the whole semester that I have learnt a lot not just from the readings but also from my team mates. Whether it is their interpretation of the readings and how that should be applied to our firm or just their insight into the game”, you have incorporated the readings well in this journal; and I feel the exact same way with regards to learning from your team members.

    Overall, this journal is of high quality. I believe if you incorporate a lot of this, in combination with your other journals, you will be well set up for a very good summative journal.

    All the best for the final two rollovers & summative journal.