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.
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 reflection. Organizational Dynamics, 24(3), 36–48
Greiner, L. E. (1972). Evolution and revolution as organizations grow. Harvard Business Review, 50(4), 37--46.