December 15, 2005
Overall, I feel that I have learned a lot in this class and I have really enjoyed the class. I really like the way you taught brining in the experiences of yourself and us in the discussions. I really feel that this helps us the most. Having our experiences included, we could come up with answers to problems we have in our everyday life. As for the assignments, I feel that all were pretty helpful. The only complaint I have is that I would have liked more time for the webquest presentation. This wasn't a huge problem though because we still did fine. I don't really think that you need to change anything for the course. I feel that things went really well the way they were. Thanks for a great semester and happy holidays!
December 7, 2005
Mary Jane Problem
I had some problems back when I worked at McDonalds as a Key Manager. I had trouble with speaking up and giving feedback. I didn't tell my team how they were doing or give them constructive criticism. This prevented me from getting a raise I was really looking forward to. The other thing I was working on at the same time was getting drive through times down. I finally just started speaking up more. I think my biggest problem at the time was that I wasn't mature yet. I had problems getting along with other managers too at the time and ultimately lost my management position. I was in highschool at the time, and I feel that I could handle a management position now. As for now, I don't really have any problems like that, but I would think the best way to overcome them would be to think about my job and think outside the box. The way to solve these kinds of problems are to decide what the problem is, then think of a new and innovative way to fix the problem.
November 30, 2005
Something that has tipped
The thing that I have found that has tipped recently would be what I mentioned in class: compact fluorescent lightbulbs. It's funny, I have been telling people that come in to the store for years about the long life and energy efficiency of the compact fluorescents, yet nobody wanted to spend the $4-$7 per bulb. It took the media, the news specifically, to get people to realize the benefits of compact fluorescent bulbs. I think that it tipped because of the news stories that were on and I heard Oprah had something about it on. I think that news reporters, and possibly Oprah too fall under the category of mavens, or maybe salesmen, according to Gladwell. News reporters find out a lot of information and they relay it to the general public. This is why I see them as mavens. I happen to know someone that was kind of an innovator to this epidemic. A manager that used to work at my store has had all fluorescent bulbs in his house for a long time. When the epidemic tipped, which was last weekend, all the early and late majority started buying the bulbs. Last weekend, our store was almost completely wiped out of compact fluorescent bulbs. This is a good example of the law of the few. The few in this case are the mavenish newscasters.
November 17, 2005
The part of the book I found to be most interesting was the Law of the Few. Some examples that Gladwell gave were: "80 percent of the 'work' will be done by 20 percent of the participants, 20 percent of criminals commit 80 percent of crimes", and "20 percent of motorists cause 80 percent of all accidents". At first I didn't remember ever hearing of this rule before and was interested in it. After some thought, I realized that just a couple weeks ago, in my finances class, we had a speaker in that talked about insurance. This speaker gave us that statistic. He told us that 20 percent of the population are in the majority of all accidents. I find it interesting how the theories of this book really relate to real life things. Gladwell uses so many real life examples. I also find the Law of the Few more interesting now that I have remembered a situation in my life where it has come up. I didn't know it as The law of the Few at the time, but I do now.
October 25, 2005
Virtual teams and Breeze are an excellent tool for meeting. Groups can meet while being in different places. It is also possible for people to work from home. Even though I feel that it is a good tool, I would rather just meet with my group in person. Since we were all on campus anyway, it would have been just as easy to meet in person. I think we could have gotten more done on our project meeting in person. That's not to say we didn't get anything done. We got a start, but meeting face to face we would have been able to come up with a better plan of attack. Like I said though, virtual teams can be a very useful tool.
October 19, 2005
Reflections on Emotional Intelligence
Overall, I feel that Goleman's book can be a powerful and helpful tool. It is an excellent place to start with emotional intelligence. I found it helpful in making me more aware of my emotions. The five competencies I feel were pretty inclusive and complete. The one thing I would like to see though is how to use the information gained from this text to make improvements in your emotional intelligence. It is one thing to be aware of your emotions and their effects, but it is another thing to be able to fix that problem or control your emotions. Some exercises or even suggestions on how to control impulses and become more emotionally intelligent would be great. Other than that I think this was a great place to start, for me anyway, and it is a good tool to have.
October 12, 2005
I worry most about falling into the Pleaser role. I usually like to avoid conflict, and as Fujishin puts it, "the pleaser attempts to avoid all conflictby giving in to the wishes of the others." I don't want to give up my opinion just to avoid conflict. I won't necessarily give in all the time, it depends on the situation. If I am in a group of people that I know well and that I am confortable with, I am less likely to give in and more likely to give my opinion. On the otherhand, if I am in a group that I don't know well or that I am not comfortable with, I may not be as likely to give my opinion. I don't think I would completely fall into the pleaser role because I don't think I would do "whatever it takes to dissolve or neutralize the disagreement," as fujishin says. I feel that some disagreement is necessary to come to an agreement and to come to the best compromise.
The best way to avoid this role would be to voice my opinion all the times and try to get more comfortable in the groups. It would probably be helpful to have everyone introduce themselves and give a little background information before starting the task. I would also just have to work on bringing up my opinion even if it conflicts the others because it is pretty likely that someone else is thinking the same thing.
September 28, 2005
My mission statement:
To live my life to my fullest potential, use all my skills and knowledge to be successful in my career, and to devote plenty of time to my wife and family when we start one.
It wasn't terribly hard to develop my mission statement since I was able to come up with it in fifteen minutes. It did require a lot of thinking though about what I want to do with my life and what really matters to me. I don't know that I really liked the process we went through to develop it though. I felt that some parts of that didn't apply for example question one didn't help with my creating my mission statement. There aren't any big accomplishments in my life yet. I found it hard to answer that question too since I haven't done a whole lot as far as my career of choice (landscaping) yet. The other questions were helpful though and they got me thinking about what matters to me and what my strenghts are. In regards to my role in a team, I want to apply my full potential to the benefit of the team. Like my mission statement says I want to use all my skills and knowldge in my career especially in a group situation so that I can have an impact. As for my career, I want to be successful so that I can support my family and to do this I intend to apply all of my skill and knowledge to excel in my career and stand out as a designer. I also intend to balance work and family life and spend plenty of quality time with my family.
September 19, 2005
The inventories in the Fujishin book make you think of things you don't usually think about. I mostly thought of the positive aspects when I answered the questions and didn't have answers of things I needed to work on except for number 5 which asked for things that I needed to work on. When I answered the first two, I kind of felt 'big headed' because I answered with things that I feel are my strengths: reliable, hard worker, fast learner.... When it came to the six months to live question, all my answers included my wife and family. I didn't have anything adventurous on the list. As for my communication behaviors, I felt I was strong in the voice, disagreement, and overall attitude areas. I felt that I wasn't as strong about sharing my feelings, and was weakest in nonverbal communication. As for things that I need to improve (inventory 5) I need to make more eye contact, be less sarcastic, and be more comfortable with speaking to larger groups. I found it hard to answer the thanksgiving list and found it to be kind of strange, but I am thankful for my ability to learn rather easy. Overall the inventories were very interesting and they made me think of things that I don't really think of normally.
September 13, 2005
An Effective Landscaping Team
An effective team in the landscaping field would need characteristics retating to social skills and the ability to work well as a team. There are different steps to producing a landscape that don't necessarily have all the same people involved in. The first step is the designing. A designer views the site and produces a plan that has to be detailed enough that the foreman can install it. Sometimes different aspects of the plan may be installed by different sub-contractors. Here is a list of things that could (this isn't always the case) have a seperate sub-contractor: decks, cement work, ponds, retaining walls, and others. These people could be different than the crew installing the plants. Therefore it is extremely important that the various foreman have good communication skills and can work well with others. The designer, as well as needing to answer questions and work with all the parties doing installation, must be a good listener and be able to transform the clients wants and needs into a landscape. These several groups must be able to work together and coordinate from the beginning of the job through the end.