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Thursday, December 5, 2019

My FLIGBY results

3 leadership skills needing improvement.  Outline plan of action to address use goals, timeline, and metrics.
1.  Making decisions.   The simulation stated that I wait for information before making a decision and this could be a problem in some situations. My goal is to ensure that I make prompt decisions when necessary without analysis until paralysis.  I would like to see significant improvement within 90 days.  I would track decisions made throughout each day indicating which ones I decided right away and those that I stated need more information. At the end of 90 days I should see an improvement of those decisions I answered right away by deferring fewer decisions towards the end of the 90 days.
2.  Addressing conflict.  The simulation stated that I do not necessarily address conflict head on, but tend to deflect to overcome the intense moments.  This is true I tend to try to get the parties to neutral ground and move on addressing the conflict later with the individuals.  I am not sure that this is a weak leadership skill, but I can see where there would be times to address the conflict as it occurs in a professional manner.  My goal is to find a better way of handling conflict as it is occurring within the next 90 days.  I will spend 14 days watching the conflicts, noting them, and my reactions. Then I will analyze to see when I deflected and why; as well as the results my approach had, if any.  The rest of the time I will engage more during the time of the conflict when appropriate and then deflect in other situations.  I will monitor how employees respond.  I will have improved in addressing conflict if I engage more with a positive impact on employees and the situation than if I deflected.
3.  Work on power I give to assertive personalities.  The simulation stated I gave those with assertive personalities because I give them thier way or allow them to barge in anytime they like.  This is an area that I would argue that I have become successful at with my years as a JAG and sometimes you have to let the assertive personalities feel they have some power or that they are being heard.  I understand for purposes of the simulation and majority of situations the leader has to maintain the power.  My goal would be to be more in control and not allow people to barge into office or demand time in order to get their way.  I will spend two weeks not changing any behaviors noting the number of times I gave the assertive personality the power or that I agreed with them on a proposal they presented.  I will note why I allowed or made the decision. This will be the baseline for my metrics to see if improved.  I will spend the remainder of 90 days not allowing the assertive people to barge in or demand time.  I will also ask for additional information or discussion on proposals. I will then look at the number of conflicts, the number of times I prevented control or decided against proposal and the number of times I allowed assertive behaviors or decided for their proposal.  If there is an increase in the number of time prevented by at least 50% then I have reached my goal to prevent giving too much power and control to others.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Playing FLIGBY

My individualized FLIGBY report highlighted that during the simulation, my three worst metrics compared to other players were empowerment, involvement, and delegating. I understand why I scored below in delegating; however, in the other two areas, I am surprised I was deficient in. I try to be as empowering as I can with my employees by giving them decision-making power; however, I could see how this could affect my level of involvement in the operations.
Delegation
            The plan of action for improving my ability to delegate will probably be the most straightforward. It is just going to take some practice. I have in my workplace and in my management career struggled with delegation. If it is a very sensitive project or task, I like to do it myself because if the responsibility is ultimately going to be mine for the task completion, I would like it done my way. In my current job, I am comfortable and trusting enough to delegate some projects to my employees; however, I occasionally check in on the progress. With delegation, another problem I have is that I rely on a few key people to accomplish tasks rather than delegate tasks outside of the normal to other employees. This is also because of my level of trust with those employees. I need to work on this as well.
 Goal: Delegate more tasks to all of my employees rather than just a key few individuals.
Timeline: As projects come in
Metric: Effective completion of a project by each of my employees
Empowerment
            Empowering employees is something I thought I did well in my job. I do my best to give individuals decision-making power. Upon reading the benefits of delegating from Gazda (2002) that by delegating you are giving employees a change for input which will make them more vested and empowered. It seems that delegating, and empowering are two metrics that go together. It makes sense that if I struggled with delegating in the simulation that I would have also been deficient in empowering my team of leaders. Again, the root of the problem is the same in my job. I only trust a few key employees with projects and the rest could potentially feel neglected and become unhappy in their jobs and with me as their leader. I need to avoid this at all costs. Improving this is vital.
            Hildula (1996) claims that the key to empowering your employees is communication. It is done through leaders providing employees with the information and tools they need to solve their own problems. I need to guide my employees to take on more responsibility through what I communicate and the language with which I communicate. This is easy for those key employees that I have, who are eager to take on more responsibility. The employees that I have who groan when I give them a task are the ones that I need to work on the most. I need to understand why they are behaving this way and what can I do to prevent it.
Goals: Communicate more with ALL my employees; Figure out why some of my employees are not eager to take on more responsibility: Address that behavior
Time: Immediately
Metrics: Employee satisfaction metric (yearly score)
Involvement
Involvement for me was also a fairly low score. This was also very interesting. In my workplace, I try to be involved in as many things as I can. I think why I scored low is because involvement includes being a part of activities until completion. I notice in my job I get really involved initially, but as other projects come up, I tend to neglect my involvement in the previous projects.
Goals: Focus my attention on projects until completion
Timeline: As projects arise
Metric: Number of completed projects



References
Gazda, S. (2002). The art of delegating. HRMagazine, 47(1), 75-78. 
Hildula, L. (1996). Improving employee empowerment: Certified public accountant. The CPA Journal, 66(1), 70.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Employees First

Professionally, a good example of when my employer’s mission didn’t align with the goals, ways when they didn’t live up their expectations by putting their “Employees First”. This was a couple of years ago, so yes I have seen major improvement.  They have contracts with certain insurance companies, some contracts state we are to take a certain number of claims each day and even be available on holidays when they are closed.

Some organization leaders expect their workers to put their lives on hold, placing the organization first on all occasions (Lawon, 2016, p. 74). This is true because there was a situation when an insurance company was so swamped with calls where we had to help take their overflow claims and deal with their angry customers, when insurance reps failed to return calls.  Some even closed early, some adjusters weren’t following up with their employees where it was very frustrating for the employees. Employees were threatening to quit, some even quit.

I feel that the company failed in their mission to put their employees first, because we were swamped with calls, there wasn’t much help, and they weren’t communicating or even training employees to help. I would have suggested splitting up the tasks between teams and adjust the mission.  To overcome uncertainty among workers and managers about engagement, educate them (Lawson, 2016, p. 75). They have updated the mission where employees are given more satisfaction and come first!

References
Lawon, K. (2016). New Employee Orientation Training. Retrieved from https://web-b-ebscohost-com.libauth.purdueglobal.edu/ehost/detail?sid=8e1eb599-1dc1-4bf4-899a-71cb1f588e52@pdc-v-sessmgr03&vid=13&format=EB&rid=13#AN=1107620&db=nlebk

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Example Multiple Choice Questions by Blooms Taxonomy Level


Examples of Multiple Choice Items at the Levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy
Level 1: Recall 
Definition: Remembering previously learned material; may involve the recall of a wide range of material from specific facts to complete theories, but merely requires bringing to mind the appropriate information.
Example:
A three-year-old child can usually be expected to:
  1. Cry when separated from his or her mother
  2. Have imaginary friends
  3. Play with other children of the same age
  4. Constantly argue with older siblings
Level 2: Comprehension
Definition: The ability to grasp the meaning of material; may be shown by translating material from one form to another; by interpreting material (explaining or summarizing), by estimating future trends (predicting consequences of effects).
Example:
The termination process is MOST often associated with:
  1. Evaluating goals and accomplishments
  2. Implementing a plan of action
  3. Setting limits
  4. Developing a contract
Level 3: Application
Definition: The ability to use learned materials in new and concrete situations; may include the application of such things as rules, methods, concepts, principles, laws, and theories. 


Example:
Mrs. H has had little energy to care for her young children or her house since her husband died a few months ago. She has no income and little food. The protective service agency has become involved since her children were left unsupervised. What is the FIRST goal to work toward in implementing a treatment plan for Mrs. H?
  1. Help her grieve her husband’s death
  2. Get a volunteer parent aid to help with parenting skills
  3. Help her get AFDC and food stamps
  4. Refer her for medication for depression
Level 4: Analysis
Definition: The ability to break down material into its component parts so that its organizational structure may be understood; may include the identification of the parts, analysis of the relationships between parts, and recognition of the organizational principles involved.
Example:
A seven-year-old boy is brought to a child guidance clinic by his parents for treatment. The boy is hyperactive, has violent temper tantrums, is difficult to control, and gets along poorly with his peers. He has a history of a difficult, high forceps delivery, projectile vomiting, and was a fussy, irritable baby. The social worker should:
  1. Refer the child to a neurologist
  2. Begin psychotherapy with the parents
  3. Ascertain what the parents have done to reinforce this behavior
  4. See the parents and child together for therapy
Level 5: Synthesis
Definition: The ability to put parts together to form a new whole; may involve the production of a plan of operation or a set of abstract relations.

Example:
A fourteen-year-old girl refuses to attend school despite pleading by both of her parents. A physical examination reveals no medical problem, and a joint assessment by the social worker and psychiatrist indicates no apparent reactive element instigating the sudden school avoidance. The girl appears depressed; she herself is unsure of why she is not attending school. The BEST intervention by the social worker is to:
  1. Recommend that the girl remain home for at least another week without pressure
  2. Intervene with school authorities to provide her with home tutoring when absent
  3. Urge all concerned to apply pressure to achieve return to school and arrange an
    appointment with the girl
  4. Begin to assist the family to explore alternative schools for possible transfer

Article adapted from information obtained from Dr. Chuck Dzuiban, RITE, UCF, 2011

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

A simple teaching technique


A simple teaching technique that helps students learn; now there’s something few teachers would pass up! This particular technique involves a four-question set that gets students actively responding to the material they are studying. They analyze, reflect, relate, and question via these four prompts:
  • “Identify one important concept, research finding, theory, or idea … that you learned while completing this activity.”
  • “Why do you believe that this concept, research finding, theory, or idea … is important?”
  • “Apply what you have learned from this activity to some aspect of your life.”
  • “What question(s) has the activity raised for you? What are you still wondering about?” [You might need to prohibit the answer “nothing”.]
Dietz-Uhler and Lanter, who authored the set, had students in an introductory psych course answer the questions about a Web-based activity that they had completed in groups. Alexander, Commander, Greenberg, and Ward used the set to promote critical thinking in an online course. Their students answered the questions before discussing a case online.
The question set is versatile. Here are some examples of how it could be used.
  • Use the four prompts as a way to summarize an in-class discussion, adjusting the wording of the questions: “Identify one important idea that you learned during this discussion,” etc.
  • Have students answer the questions about a reading assignment. Dietz-Uhler and Lanter had students write 100-word responses to the first three prompts. Written answers could be shared in small group discussions.
  • At the beginning of class, give students five minutes to write answers to the questions as a way of reviewing notes taken in a previous class session. Or, have students submit answers online before class and use sample responses to review the material.
  • A version of the question set could be the template used to provide peer feedback on a paper. (What’s one important idea presented in this paper? Why does the author think the idea is important? Is that idea important to you? Why or why not? What question(s) do you think the author still needs answer?)
  • Use the questions as way to end and evaluate a course. (What’s one important idea you’ll take from this course? Why do you believe it’s important? How does it relate to your life? What are the next questions you want to find answers to?) To answer these questions, students must reflect on their learning. Their answers might cause teachers to reflect as well.
Does this question-set have an effect on student learning? Yes, it does! Dietz-Uhler and Lanter’s students who answered the four prompts before taking a quiz did significantly better than students who completed them after they took the quiz. The average quiz score for those answering the questions first was 74% (SD 25.48%) and 59.18% (SD 29.69%) for those answering them after the quiz. The second author group analyzed the level of critical thinking in the online discussions of a case when students answered the four questions before they participated in the discussion. They discussed two other cases without using the prompts. Critical thinking scores were significantly higher when students used the question set first.
If the technique is used in a dissimilar way the same results aren’t guaranteed, of course, but you can test your results. Short of an empirical analysis, you can ask students whether the questions enhanced their understanding. When asked, Deitz-Uhler and Lanter’s students said that they did. You also could decide to make a critical assessment of the questions’ effectiveness.
Sometimes I think we gravitate toward fancy techniques—the ones with lots of bells and whistles. It’s nice on occasion to wow students, but it’s not always necessary. A technique like this showcases a simple but useful way students can interact with the content. It’s a teaching technique that becomes a study strategy capable of moving students toward thinking and learning on a deeper level.
References: Dietz-Uhler, B. and Lanter, J. R. (2009). Using the four-questions technique to enhance learning. Teaching of Psychology, 36 (1), 38-41.
Alexander, M. E., Commander, N., Greenberg, D., and Ward, T. (2010) Using the four-questions technique to enhance critical thinking in online discussions. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 6 (2), 409-415.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Apple's Business Strategy and Climate Change


Apple Inc. has made great strides in helping reduce their impact on global climate change. According to Apple.com (2019), “each device is measured by its impact on our carbon footprint and how environmentally friendly – and safe – its materials are (para. 3). At Apple, each year we issue a public environmental responsibility report to show our progress toward environmental sustainability.
Apple’s environmental plan, according to Apple.com’s (2019) environmental responsibility report, us and a significant number of our suppliers’ power comes from 100% renewable energy sources. We are sourcing our products with renewable and recycled materials and expect to move to fully using recycled materials for all of our products. We are decreasing the energy use of the products we sell and are focused on continually reducing our carbon footprint. We are attempting to transition into a zero-waste company. We are composting, reusing, and recycling. Research is being conducted on how to reduce and eliminate what is unable to be recycled or composted.
Research is being conducted on better sourcing of chemicals. We strive to understand how the chemicals we use affect the environment and people. We have a Regulated Substances Specification that encompasses every chemical that is used by Apple and our suppliers. Through this we place restrictions on the use of certain substances. We are constantly looking to innovate our products to reduce harmful materials.
According to Worland and Alter (2019), the current Republican presidential administration strongly disbelieves in the effect of global climate change; however, the Democrats have debated and scientist of strong evidence to support that climate change is happening and humans are contributing to it. Worland and Alter (2019) also state that “more than 70% of Americans now understand that climate change is taking place” (para. 5). Regardless of what the legislation dictates, most of society understands that climate change is necessary and company’s that exhibit good stewardship toward the environment will have a more favorable public perception. Here at Apple, we will continue to improve our environmental stewardship and reduce our effect on global climate change.
Climate change legislation will undoubtedly change the products consumers have access to purchasing. With stricter laws on climate change, it is drastically changing our culture. It will make consumers and businesses alike more conscious of how we are affecting the planet, but the current laws do not place a strong emphasis on climate change, but many companies are taking the proactive approach as you stated. With the inevitable increase of the strictness of climate change legislation, companies that are taking the proactive approach and going above what current legislation dictates are going to more profitable in the future. 
It is fascinating to me that Apple is not only focused on reducing their impact on climate change, but are so aware that they understand how to make their clothes regionally to accommodate that athlete's competing in that region. That truly is understanding your customer's needs from a business standpoint. It really helps maintain their brand and competitive advantage. If the GDP does fall, the preparation Apple is doing now will help the company through the economic downturn. 

References

Apple.com (2019). Environmental responsibility report. Retrieve from https://www.apple.com/environment/pdf/Apple_Environmental_Responsibility_Report_2019.pdf
Worland, J., & Alter, C. (2019). A New Climate for Climate. TIME Magazine193(12), 30–34.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Google's Business Strategy

Google is continuing to move to broaden its business allowing it to obtain access to more desired investment options in its market. We can see in particular that, through information and hi-technology, Google is directing its focus to ways to gain competitive advantage.
Google may attempt to enter industries with existing competitive advantages, such as mobile phone platforms, advertisements or online payments, by acquiring an existing rival, in which case the acquisition cost is likely to capitalize entirely on the profit potential of the target company.
Once Google joins a sector such as operating systems, there will be a fair competition with Microsoft and as such all businesses must compete to provide the best operating systems to gain a broader market and high revenue. The strategy of diversification provides a competitive advantage. Maximizing income is the primary desire to create a company. This is why Google attracted its customers by offering a broad range of products by joining other businesses.
Google’s business strategy is diversification whereby the company has ventured in different businesses. From the case study, Google lacks a clear vision simply because it has taken numerous diverse directions at once making its identity mixed-up. The establishment of Alphabet Inc. as the top management of Google elicited mixed reactions as some people saw it as just a thoughtless technology based expansion over shareholder interests which according to them lacked a clear vision. Lacking a clear vision by venturing into several markets rendered Google into direct rivalry with many web and software companies like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, Expedia, Honeywell, Verizon, and Netflix (Grant, 2016). 
Diversification strategy creates competitive advantage. For instance, when Google enters into a business like operating systems, there will be a healthy competition with Microsoft and as such both companies will strive to offer the best operating systems in order to secure a wider market and good returns. The ultimate intention of starting a business is to maximize profit. It is the reason why Google was enticing its clients by offering a wide range of products through joining many businesses (Rugman & Verbeke, 2017). In my view, profit is one of the reasons for commencing a business. Therefore, a company will always choose a strategy that satisfies its needs. In this case, Google had to develop a plan that would ensure that it continued with its operations as a going concern. The stiff competition faced from other established firms in various businesses made Google to announce plans for restructured operations.
As a search engine, Google performed well in the market due to its simple design and superior page ranking. It is the reason why the competitors and other individuals were accusing it of using the wrong strategies. The demand for their products was significantly growing despite the condemnation from critics. It is therefore evident that Google’s innovations enabled it to gain a competitive advantage over its rivals in the industry. Among the threats that Google encountered, stiff competition from rival firms prompted the company to restructure its operations. Establishments like Amazon which deals with online trade, Apple in mobile platforms, Facebook, Microsoft in browsers, Expedia, Honeywell, Verizon, and Netflix in streaming videos compete with Google for the same market space. According to the Federal Trade Commission, Google had violated its monopoly power by using anti-competitive tactics (Grant, 2016).  
Google requires change. The refocus plan should attain the company’s intended objectives by dwelling on the businesses or products that best suits and adds more value to the brand name of the company. Products or businesses which fetch more revenue should be given priority and those that face stiff competition and do poorly in the market should be abandoned. Above all, Google need to contain measurable outcomes and communicate a clear and common vision that could sail it through the corporate strategy.
Reference
Grant, R. M. (2016). Contemporary strategy analysis: Text and cases edition. John Wiley & Sons.
Rugman, A. M., & Verbeke, A. (2017). Global corporate strategy and trade policy. Routledge.
Bakos, Y., Treacy. M. (n.d). Information technology and corporate strategy: Competitive strategy research.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Google becoming alphabet

Even in the early days of Google, cofounders Page and Sergey Brin would let their minds wander to other seemingly impossible projects beyond the already ambitious task of building a search engine to change how millions use the Internet. Nearly 17 years after founding Google, Page and Brin remain as ambitious as ever, if not more so. Yet, the day-to-day management demands of running Google, essentially an elaborate $400 billion advertising business, increasingly weighed on Page in particular.
     The high-profile structural change may offer many benefits to Google: more C-suite opportunities and autonomy to prevent promising executives from leaving; an improved organization for acquiring multi-billion-dollar businesses; more transparency for Wall Street about Google's many varied investments. Ever since Page returned to the CEO role at Google in 2011, he has been debating possible changes to the organizational structure that would allow him to maintain broad control of the business he created while nonetheless giving him more freedom to pursue new ventures (Seth Fiegerman 2015).
     Not only does the structure of Alphabet offer more appealing slots for these big new ventures to grow and potentially be spun off one day, the name change might also help protect Google proper, which is by far Alphabet's biggest money maker. As one former exec put it to us, "How can you take big swings when everything may hurt the Google brand? “Google, like many established technology companies, is also competing against the growing number of billion-dollar startups, or Unicorns, to hire and hold on to its top talent. The option to have more C-suite jobs across the company may help.
The idea seems to be to allow Google to remain focused on things related to its mission while Alphabet can expand into new areas without the burden of explaining how everything supposedly fits into Google.
Alphabet is a new company being created by the founders of Google that will take over everything currently run by Google. Call it a conglomerate or holding company, Alphabet will become the new parent of Google and for other companies like Nest that are currently owned by Google. 
Reference 
Seth, F. (2015). The inside story of why Google is becoming Alphabet now retrieved https://mashable.com/2015/08/11/google-alphabet-timing/

Friday, November 22, 2019

Queue management

Waiting in line is common phenomena in daily life, for example, banks have customers in line to get service of teller, cars queue up for re-filling, workers line up to access machine to complete their job (Cagle, 2011). Therefore, management needs to work on formulae, which will reduce wait time and create delighted customers without incurring an additional cost. Generally, queue management problems are trade off’s situation between the cost of time spent in waiting v/s cost of additional capacity or machinery (Cagle, 2011).
The waiting line or queue management is a critical part of the service industry (Cagle, 2011). It deals with the issue of treatment of customers in sense reduce waiting time and improvement of service. Queue management deals with cases where the customer arrival is random; therefore, service rendered to them is also random (Cagle, 2011). A service organization can reduce costs and thus improve profitability by efficient queue management (Cagle, 2011). A cost is associated with the customer waiting in line and there is cost associated with adding new counters to reduce service time. Queue management looks to address this trade-off and offer solutions to management (Cagle, 2011).
Proper handling for the waiting lines is crucial for business success. Analyzing the cost-profit resulted from available alternatives is playing essential part in the desirable success. Many technical solutions were developed during decades for how service providers can improve their service delivery time. Restaurants, and others service providers’ companies, need to ensure proper handling of queuing time to maximize their profit generation and reduce associated tangible and intangible loses from undesirable long waiting lines.
References
Cagle, C. J. (2011). Capacity position and financial performance: longitudinal evidence from U.S. manufacturers. The University of Texas at Arlington.
Investopedia web site. (n.d.). “Queuing Theory”. Retrieved from: https://www.investopedia.com/terms/q/queuing-theory.asp
Sztrik, J. (2012). “Basic Queueing Theory”. Retrieved from: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/848f/a1f48ad9d3edb24b05667f15cfc633eb8f69.pdf
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