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October 10, 2013

Can you achieve anything?

Today's class led to an interesting discussion on whether people can achieve anything they want too. For the context of achieving business excellence, this is a paramount feature. If you believe you can not achieve your goals, quite simply you will not. When I was 13 years old, I became extremely interested in a band called blink-182. I got it into my head that I wanted to be like the bass player, so without any knowledge or prior experience, I decided to buy a bass, learn every song by them with the aim of being able to play it (vaguely) competently. This commitment to picking up an instrument I had no experience with, never mind the fact I had no musical experience, seemed destined to fail to those around me. My mum bemoamed the fact I wanted to spend over £100 on an instrument she was convinced I wouldn't touch after a few weeks but, and to her amazement, I was commited in my mind that I would achieve my goal. Hour after hour, week after week, I would practice and play, and within around 8 months I had achieved my goal. Even to this day, I still play, and have surpassed my wildest expectations composing my own music and performing live on a BBC Radio show and performing shows in a former band at sold out venues with over several thousand people in the venue.


This theory applies to reaching business excellence. Quite simply, if I esatablished a new supermarket in the UK, people around me would believe I was doomed to fail, as the market is dominated and the market share is almost full. Whilst it may seem extremely difficult to achieve my target, I have more chance of suceeding if I am convinced myself that my venture will be a success as opposed to thinking it will not work. Sometimes a positive mindset and approach is needed to drive yourself on to your goals.


October 09, 2013

The group work (and MBE learning environment)

Just a quick blog, but whilst reading a very exciting chapter of Deming's 'Out of the Crisis', my mind began to wander to the theme from today's class of time management and the MBE learning environment.


Some people, including myself, are daunted by the amount of study hours we have to do! In comparison to my undergraduate degree, I never had 11 hours or more of classes a week at uni (and sure I was supposed to do private study as well as that) but here at WMG, I am in for 11 hours a day at uni!!! Secondly, a few people have publicaly expressed doubts over the MBE learning environment, criticising the fact they are not lectured and have to do all this private studying and research along with working in their groups for the mini projects.


I don't know about you, but I would be a lot less inclined to do all this private studying and reading of Deming's books (along with other journals etc) if it was not for the fact I am in a group with five other people I really do not want to let down! Add to the fact that if I were in lectures every minute of every day I would potentially kill myself (metaphorically of course) and would certainly not spend my evenings reading more about the subject area!


So I have to say in this blog, I am really enjoying the MBE learning environment so far, and I am finding it much more fulfilling than any other form of education I have currently had. Now to stop procrastinating on this impromptu blog and get back to Deming's book...


October 08, 2013

Money and Deming?

Today's class again brought about some interesting views and topics, one of these was instigated by Paul Roberts. He offered the students in today's class a 'reward'; £1000 for the person with the best PMA for our CBE module, and that the person with the lowest mark would be kicked off the course. This created a heated debate. Interestingly, Paul asked one of the students, Ana, who happened to be sitting next to me, whether she would help me or not if the reward of £1000 was not available. Ana said she would help me, then Paul asked again if she would help if the £1000 reward were on offer, and Ana struggled to decide before saying that she would not help me!!! (She later insisted to me that she would help, even if one million pounds were on offer for the best marks in the class!!!).


Anyway, the point this highlights links to one of Demings arguments over competition within an organisation. I thought it was an interesting tactic used by Paul to highlight this. Collectively as a class, we are encouraged to help one another, as it develops ideas and encourages learning from students, as we pick up points of view that we may not have otherwise considered. However, once a compeitive element is added, in the form of financial reward for the most successful student, this idea of helping one another goes largely out the window, as students want to keep their ideas for themselves, in the hope it will ensure that they come out top of the class.


This in a business enviornment, perhaps in the form of financial bonuses or promotion opportunities, could have an extremely negative impact on a businesses' performance, as individuals or seperate departments within an organisation may fight against each other and not help each other out. This is a contrast to the idea of a Learning Organisation, where knowledge is freely shared between different branches and divisions to help achieve maximum efficiency and productivity. This practical experiment by Paul highlighted the negative impact internal competition can have on a group of people. Furthermore it highlights the importance of one of Deming's points that co-operation is needed rather than compeition, as businesses are already competing against rival organisations!


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  • I like your comment Mayo, I did try to listen and engage the people in my team, but what tended to h… by Benjamin Roberts on this entry
  • This is a very beautiful piece of blog ben and i am so glad i bumped into it. Its so sad that we all… by on this entry
  • Ben, thank you for initiating this thread. I feel that it is sad that some people have come to the e… by Paul Roberts on this entry
  • Thanks for you feedback though! I will consider how I work with people in the future and change how … by Benjamin Roberts on this entry
  • That's a valid point you raise and something I have been considering. I acted as the leader in the t… by Benjamin Roberts on this entry

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