By: <Max Anderson>
The Human Aspect of Business
You would like to make lots of money, but where are you going to get it? People! During my first week in BA 352 class, I have come to realize that you can learn all the technicalities of business, have the best ideas, and incredible tenacity, yet still fail at getting the job you want or having your business idea become reality. Your leadership and communication skills are essential to success in the business world. The highest paid people in any corporation are not those who perform technical skills, such as designing airplanes, but who can lead, organize, and effectively communicate.
This course will help me continue to develop the leadership and communication skills I need to become a confident professional. Whether I’m trying to assemble the right team of people for an idea or interviewing for the job I want, my ability to communicate my personal brand is integral to my success.
Directing Emotion into Effective Action
Friday, October 11, 2013 is a day that has reinforced my feelings of disdain toward Bureaucratic overseeing committees as shortsighted and heartless. On the night of Wednesday, October 09th a fraternity and sorority at the University of Oregon were holding an unofficial function to celebrate the induction of new members into their respective chapters. Five women were sent to the hospital with presumably alcohol related problems. Unbeknowest to me, the Interfraternal Council (IFC) had suspended all unofficial functions for an indefinite amount of time. I was on my way to drop off a check for security to the fraternity which we had paired up with for a bid day function when I was told the horrible news. I felt frustrated and angry that something I had been organizing since June had been canceled in a matter of minutes. In the process, I talked with the HLC desk (which serves as an office for many IFC representatives) secretary to try to get the number of the VP of Accountability. My articulation of words during my conversation with the secretary was noticeably shaken and rushed as I attempted to persuade her to give me the number of an IFC representative who could address my issue. I succeeded in my goal of tapping into my emotions to become a more relatable and persuasive speaker, but failed in my overall delivery. In order to realize my goal of becoming a relatable public speaker, I need to learn to direct and mold those emotions into calm and collected words that can illustrate my feelings on a subject. In chapter on Sunday, I will need to better utilize my emotions to both “encourage the heart” of our members and direct my own productive actions. My feelings of anger and shock have resulted in multiple conversations with the VP of Accountability that have increased my working knowledge of the complex social regulations imposed on fraternities. When used effectively, emotions can be the fuel to power productive actions and personalized communication. However, when emotions are left unutilized or misdirected, they can cloud your ability to communicate and act effectively.
Relax, Reflect, Conquer
This wednesday my back was knotting up from stress. As the Greek Week Chair for my fraternity, I needed to lead the construction of a float that was to be used on Friday, type out a calendar of all Greek Week events relating to our team, and finish an important group project. I asked myself why I would willingly take on so much obligation. If I could just make it through the next seven days, everything would be ok. As I scrambled around to eat my breakfast and get dressed for the day, I remembered that I had made the vow to meditate on the previous day’s happening. After my three minutes of reflection and relaxation, the knots in my back disappeared and my general mood improved. I felt completely ready to tackle my impending obligations.Learning to appreciate your accomplishments and love oneself is essential to your ability to lead others. If you do not believe in yourself, few will be willing to follow you. By taking three minutes out of my day everyday, I can both lower my extremely sensitive stress level and build the high-level of confidence I will need to succeed in all aspects of my life. I have also learned that stress very rarely helps me to achieve greater focus on my goals. By taking a step back from the busyness of everyday life, I can manage my stress and improve my feelings of pride and self-worth.
Could something you’ve been doing everyday for the past 19 years of your life be wrong and annoying to others? As creatures of habit and culture, we often go through everyday life without fully considering the implications of our everyday actions. Recently I was confronted by my roommate about water spilling all over the bathroom-floor after my showers. I always waited until after I got out of the shower to dry myself with a towel. During the first 19 years of my life living at home, this had never been an issue for my family. I was a bit angry and felt that my roommate was being unreasonable. After absorbing and acting on his criticism, I realized that he was completely right! For the first 19 years of my life, I had always been forced to take off my socks or get them wet if I was wanted to enter the bathroom directly after my shower. There have probably been hundreds of socks throughout my life that were drenched in water for no reason! By drying myself with a towel while still in the shower, I can save lots of time and money on doing unnecessary loads of laundry.
I have been told by many people that I am “stubborn”. Writing down my roommate’s criticism created an emotional distance that allowed me to evaluate my past actions. For the rest of this term, I will continue to write down constructive criticism in order to become more openminded to changing my actions and beliefs. Although every external criticism may not be valid, I need to at least reflect on what was said.
I have a confession to make: I have come to three group meetings extremely hung-over. As I look to improve my performance as a team member, I now grudgingly realize that days are not separate entities. I can’t stay out until 2:30 AM on Thursday with my friends and expect to perform at a high level during our Friday morning group meeting. As I look to develop as a professional and individual, I need to do a better job of keeping work and play separate. Unfortunately, mitigating this problem is not simply an individual matter. I will need to have a discussion with my roommates and fraternity brothers about throwing parties at our house. For instance, I was planning on going to bed early last Saturday so that I could wake up early Sunday to work on homework. Instead, waves of people started arriving at my house at about 9 o’clock with silly outfits and alcohol. Before I knew it, the speakers were blaring and people were playing beer pong in the basement. With the University Libraries closed, I decided that I might as well go out that night because I wouldn’t be sleeping or studying anyway. Again, I was surprised to come back on Halloween night to a group of 20 people partying at my house at 12:30 AM. In an effort to create a more conducive study environment at my house, I have reached out to my roommates about holding a weekly meeting to discuss issues pertaining to the household happenings. I need to do a better job of discussing issues I may have before situations get out of hand.
On a positive note, I feel that I have done a good job of inquiring into ideas brought up by the group. I frequently ask my fellow team members to elaborate on their ideas and then provide possible improvements. For instance, I suggested that we focus more narrowly on international emerging markets after we had a long discussion about whether educating LCB students about all International markets was too broad. Furthermore, I feel I do a good job of keeping our group on track when we are getting off topic. For example, one team member was discussing at length his experience in the PWC case competition. I asked him if there was anything from his experience that we could use for our own international case competition.
To become a better communicator, I need to commit to discussing issues when they arise, not after the problem is effectively over.
Convincing others to believe in your ideas takes time. During the most recent feedback session with my group, I learned that I have not been advocating my ideas strongly enough. Many times I will briefly mention an idea without dedicating the time necessary to see it become accepted by my team. I was told that I do a good job of thinking outside the box and finding great research, yet I oftentimes let those with stronger personalities dictate the discussion topic, and thus the end result of collaboration.
During the group session in which we were finalizing our first draft, an issue arose regarding whether or not to include the three CIBER (a program created by the Federal Government to increase the global business education of college students) objectives found from their website. Myself and one other group member felt very strongly that CIBER provided a past model in which we should base our Global Business Center because it would give us funding and legitimacy. The CIBER program had been created back in 1988 in order to better prepare US workers to operate within a global economy. The opposing group members rebutted our claim by saying that the CIBER Objectives were too far reaching and not focused on our original needs statement; LCB students need the ability to integrate with non-western cultures. After about 15 minutes of discussing the issue, I felt that we were going nowhere and conceded to have the CIBER objectives taken out of the first draft of the proposal. I thought we could rehash the issue another day. Fortunately, the other group member on my side continued to advocate for keeping the CIBER objectives and we reached a compromise: we would include the objective which most closely related to our need.
This instance demonstrates my need to develop a better patience for processes. Although I did manage to continue a (relevant) dispute for longer than I usually would, I did not fully see the process through. Going 20 minutes into a debate and then conceding your viewpoint is a complete waste of time. Both sides of an argument usually have a reasonable basis. The opposing group members were right that two of the objectives did not focus on our need. In order to spend less unnecessary time on an issue, I will attempt to find common ground in the group upon which we can create a reasonable compromise. Likewise, If I feel that I have an idea that is worthy of consideration, I will say at least three sentences advocating my idea. Conversely, if I can not come up with the sufficient evidence to support my claim, I should be willing to toss it.
The Ladder of Inference in Dating
Our beliefs directly effect our actions. Throughout my life I have time and time again formed false conclusions that have adversely affected my dating life. From the very first girl I asked on a date, to one of my most recent experiences, I let my suppositions ultimately dictate the outcome of my dating experience.
The first date i ever asked a girl on would have happened if I had not come to rash conclusions. This girl and I had been friends for more than half the year when I decided to finally “man up” and ask her on a double date. She told me she was busy with flute lessons and homework but would be interested in rescheduling for another time. I quickly moved up the ladder of inference: she was using the homework and flute lessons as an excuse to avoid me because she was not actually interested. I told her that it was ok if she wasn’t interested in going on a date. She responded by saying if that is what you think, then fine. After talking with several of her friends, I was shocked to realize that she was actually interested. I had let my beliefs and lack of self-confidence dictate an unfortunate outcome for both parties. If I had stopped and fully evaluated the situation without coming to rash conclusions, I probably would have had a short, yet valuable, high school dating experience with this girl.
Unfortunately, that wretched ladder of inference has extended all the way up to even last year. I was having a pleasant dating experience with another girl, when I decided to again hurdle myself up the ladder of inference. I sent this girl a text to ask if she would be interested in hanging out during the weekend. After three days of no contact, she sent me a text: “hey”. I replied back, “hey”. She didn’t respond to my text about hanging out that weekend (even though she had texted me “hey” earlier that day), so she must not be interested in hanging out ever again. If she’s not interested in hanging out ever again, I should try to end things on amiable terms. I sent her a text later that night based on my suppositions; ” I had a great time with you. I truly wish you all the best in life.” She responded with a text that said: “what!!??”. I responded by saying (roughly): ” What am I supposed to think? You didn’t respond to my text to hang out this weekend. I’m sorry if I came to hasty conclusions, I would like to continue”. Her response was basically: “Let’s just be friends”. Again my false belief brought about exactly what I was trying to avoid; ending my contact with this girl. Despite other signs that she was interested, I fell back into my own reflexive loop in which I only used those observations which reinforced my belief that she was no longer interested.
The technology of the 21st century has brought people closer together than ever before, yet also leaves people very open to making rash inferences about their communication. For instance, a girl took three hours to respond to my text, therefore she is not interested. My generation no longer use calling as the main form of communication, so we can not read the intonation of a person’s voice to judge their reaction to us. Many times we are left to make assumptions based strictly on electronic characters shown on a screen. As I move forward in my dating life, I will test my assumptions without moving to the top of the ladder of inference. Instead of coming across as needy and insecure by asking: ” are you interested in me?” or “are you interested in continuing?”, I will send a text, or better yet just call, that says: ” Just want to follow up to see if you got my text, I know things are hectic”.
One does not always realize the impact of our actions on others. This tuesday I asked my roommates if I could use a Safeway Coupon that would give us a free 20 pound turkey if we spent $150 dollars. One roommate was completely on board. The second angrily told me not to use the coupon because there would be no room in the fridge left for him. To resolve this dilemma, I asked if we could use his mini-fridge to store the turkey before Thanksgiving. He replied that I couldn’t because he was planning on taking the mini-fridge to storage this week. Despite his concerns, I was determined to use the coupon anyway. I reasoned that if he wasn’t willing to have the turkey in the fridge, I could just donate it to Food for Lane County. My roommate (who had previously agreed) told me while at Safeway that I should make my own decision whether to use the coupon. Proceeding to checkout, we came up $7 short of the $150 needed to apply the coupon. In my single-mindedness, I decided to toss a few more items on the conveyor belt to reach $150. I picked out the biggest turkey I could find and headed home. While putting my groceries away, it dawned on me that my second roommate was right; there was very little space in the fridge for him to put any groceries he may want to purchase. I texted the dissenting roommate to see what I should do with the turkey, even though he had made his views very clear. Unsurprisingly, he did not reply. Upon the dissenting roommate’s return home, I asked what he thought we should do with the turkey. He told me that he wanted to get someone to take over his lease because he felt disrespected. Shocked, I replied that I was incredibly sorry and would take the turkey to Food for Lane County immediately. The dissenting roommate bowed out of our dispute by saying that he would just use the minimal space remaining to store his groceries.
Unfortunately my tenacity sometimes results in a complete disregard for others. I can become so focused on a goal that I forget to consider another person’s perspective, even when it had been clearly laid out for me only hours beforehand.The simple act of buying the turkey, even if I was to immediately give it away to charity, completely went against what he told me not to do. The dissenting roommate is much more compassionate and selfless than I am, so of course he would not tell me to give away a $27 turkey. I forced an issue, violating a boundary that had been clearly outlined. Overall, my tenacity can lead me to reach my goals, but oftentimes at great cost to myself and those around me. The process of writing down constructive criticism, such as being disrespectful, gives me the emotional distance needed to affectively evaluate a situation or conflict. By writing down my roommates viewpoint, I gained clarity on why he was angry.
To mitigate the immediate issue, I plan on apologizing to my second roommate and explaining exactly what I have realized during this reflection. During the next inevitable conflict with one of my friends or roommates, I will spend at least 15 seconds immediately after trying to see things from their point of view.
My tenacity can lead to many accomplishments, but must be mitigated by thoughtful reflection of opposing views to avoid disregarding others.
The “Real World” is less than two years away. As I look to transition to being a working professional in a few short years, it is imperative that I continually evaluate my professional development. Throughout the course of this term, I have displayed most of the attributes of a professional. Overall, I deserve a grade of 46/50 for professionalism because I was consistently prepared for class and group meetings and was respectful of others, but deserve deductions because my class participation was average andwas a few minutes late to several group meetings.
I gave myself a grade of 10/10 on participation because I submitted every class assignment on time and came well-prepared to group meetings. Throughout the term, I can say with all honesty that I read every article assigned, from start to finish, before the appropriate class. Furthermore, I submitted every blog post and assignment on time, each completed to the best of my ability. In group settings, I finished my assigned portion of the written proposal and presentation before the appropriate group meeting.
Throughout this ten week period, I arrived late only a few times to meetings and class time, always by less than five minutes. I deducted one point from punctuality for those two or three times that I was tardy. I showed up early or on time to each of the nineteen BA 352 classes and to my meetings with Todd Milbourne and the writing tutors. Throughout the course of the term I was nearly always punctual; I estimate I was late only three out of about 50 total meetings, each time by less than five minutes.
I gave myself a 7/10 on class participation because I contributed to class discussions/activities on a fairly consistent basis. For instance, I tied our previous night’s reading of the ladder of inference into the class discussion during 2B. I volunteered to present our group’s “want ad” to the class during 4A. Even though there were many instances in which I did seize opportunities, there is still ample room to further participate. Overall, I deserve a 70% on my class participation.
Throughout BA 352, I was always respectful of my team members, professor, and tutors. When I received a failing grade on writing assignment #1, I scheduled an appointment with Mr. Bramhall to find out how I could improve my business writing, even though this would not improve my grade. Rather than simply get angry at the two writing tutors I saw, I used this as an opportunity to reevaluate my learning. Similarly, when my group universally agreed that I was not advocating my ideas strongly enough at the midterm reviews, I made a concerted effort to have my ideas and opinions better known. During the final review, many of my teammates thanked me for insisting that CIBER be included with the Global Business Center. During group meetings, I turned off my phone so that I could devote my full attention to our discussions and activities. I gave myself a 10/10 on respecting others because I made a consistent effort to address feedback and stayed focused on the task at hand.
Finally, I gave myself a grade of 10/10 on initiative and motivation. During our group’s proposal, we found that the International Business and Economics Club (IBEC) is an opportunity available to LCB students’ to increase their global business understanding. I decided that rather than just skim their club’s website for information, we needed to take a firsthand look at what a typical club meeting was like. I attended the Week 8 IBEC meeting and took notes on demographics and club proceedings. To further evaluate the club, I talked to the president after class to see what types of activities they did throughout the year. I published my findings on Wiggio so that everyone could review and comment on my findings. I saw a writing tutor following the first and second revisions of writing assignment #1. Overall, I utilized nearly every opportunity to learn.
With less than two years remaining in college, I need to develop the traits of a well-rounded professional to secure a job in a competitive market. In this class, I have displayed good, but not great, professional conduct. In order to improve my professionalism, I will need to improve my participation in large group settings and be punctual to all my obligations.
Personal Leadership Development
Leadership is a relationship, not a strictly defined position of authority. Even those who are inherently quiet and less likely to pursue power can take an active part in the leadership process. Through the course of the term, I have come to recognize my personality traits that do and do not translate into effective leadership.
I was recognized by my teammates as being creative, however I frequently allow these out-of-the box ideas to misguide my focus. In the midterm peer evaluations one team member said:“ Sometimes I feel like the group comes to a conclusion on something, and then you later disagree after we have already moved on. Greater focus on what was agreed upon earlier.” Unfortunately, being on the “same page” as everyone else has been a problem since I was nine years old. Following a weeklong Boy Scout camp, I was given the “space cadet” award, denoting someone who seems to not grasp the reality, at our Court of Honor. My future bosses will not be tolerant of someone who fails to follow directions. After our last group meeting preparing for the final presentation, my group said that I needed to come up with two examples of ways in which campuses can meet CIBER mandates. I made two new slides outlining Ohio State University’s three week study abroad program in China to meet the study abroad CIBER mandate and Texas A and M’s research on the effect of oil prices on the US economy to address the research requirement. None of the members of my group wanted these two new slides included because they thought (rightly) that it would distract from the overall focus of the presentation. In order to better sync myself with a group, I need to ask more clarifying questions before proceeding to complete my assigned task.
During the first half of the term, I partied on three out of five Thursdays. During the midterm peer evaluations I committed to not partying on any of the remaining Thursdays because I needed to come more prepared to our weekly Friday morning meetings. I kept my promise, and as I result I came to Friday meetings more energetic and ready to work. In the working world, I need to do an honest assessment before staying out late on a weekday.
One of my main weaknesses as a leader, cited in my Leadership Development Plan, is my ability to talk expressively in front of large groups of people. During the final presentation, I did not stick to my talking points, as I had advised myself to do in the Leadership Development Plan. I am not someone who can quickly articulate new ideas. As a result, I made contradictory statements about CIBER, limiting the effect of my portion of the proposal. The transition between slides was awkward because I could not hold the clicker and turn my stapled notes. I will never again staple notes on a presentation. As a result of making contradictory statements and awkward slide transitions, I became visibly uneasy and did not maintain “ a natural voice”. On a positive note, I did receive positive feedback for thanking Team Business as Usual for explaining CIBER during the presentation before us. Before I transitioned to the next presenter in our group, I summarized CIBER’s relation to the proposed Global Business Center, telling the audience to remember these two words relating CIBER to the Global Business Center: “framework and funding”. As a presenter, I improved my ability to articulate ideas simply and establish ethos with the audience, but will need to consistently practice presenting in order to speak more expressively. During my next presentation I will strictly stick to my talking points and use smaller note cards.
I stated in my Leadership Development Plan that I would meditate for three minutes at the end of every day in order to better appreciate “incremental steps and small wins”. Meditating made me more spiritual and relaxed, but did not incite a greater appreciation for processes. I found that meditating is a time in which you eliminate all thoughts and relax, not encourage broad reflection on your day. Rather than meditating, I plan on keeping a journal for one month. Keeping a journal will hopefully cause me to reflect on my development and personality, as these weekly blog posts have been successful in doing. For my next big goal or assignment, I will look back through the journal to better appreciate the process of completing a task.
During the midterm peer reviews, my teammates told me to advocate more for my ideas. “ Occasionally he will concede his point of view during a dispute if stronger personalities in the group speak up enough.” I committed during the midterm development plan to being more firm in articulating my ideas, but may have gone too far: “Sometimes, when group decide to cut his idea of the proposal because it is not fit in our project. However, he is a little upset, and standing too long for his idea, it makes for the progress slowly.” During our team’s editing of our written proposal, I spent between 30-45 minutes insisting that we include CIBER certification as part of our proposed Global Business Center. Eventually we hit the point at which we were just repeating our previous arguments, and finally compromised. In order to be more efficient at advocating for ideas, I need to realize the point at which all arguments have been made, and then attempt to compromise.
My main weakness in emotional intelligence, as discussed in my leadership development plan, is self-awareness. I frequently do not realize the way in which my actions come across to others. I am by nature an “individualist”, or what others would call selfish. I rarely attempt to help others, unless they have first assisted me. This tit-for-tat attitude comes across to most people as uncaring and self-centered. During week three, I was unwilling to help my roommate wash dishes because I had not made any of the dishes. These weekly blog posts have caused me to reflect deeply on my personality. This reflection has caused me to re-evaluate actions such as refusing to help my roommate wash dishes. After the final presentation, I came home to a sink overflowing with dishes. For a few minutes, I debated whether to tell my roommates to wash their dishes. After reflecting, I realized that one was studying for a midterm and the other had the flu. I ended up telling my roommates that I would wash the dishes, but they were expected to “pick things back up” the following week. Beyond this class, I plan to continue to proactively evaluate my actions. Keeping a journal should harvest new insights into my personality.
From my team experience, I learned that there are no concrete divides between different forms of leadership. An effective leader must change his/her role to become a challenger, doer, or thinker. He/she will not only step up when needed, but also lessen their influence to allow others to assume control when appropriate. Leaders need to be flexible in incorporating new ideas, even those diametrically opposed from their own, into their decision-making process. To continue to improve as a leader, I must continue to develop better public speaking skills, patience for processes, and be in sync with group happenings. Leaders should willingly tolerate criticism and new ideas. Beyond this class, I will continue to evaluate how I can become a better leader and communicator.