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12/10 Presentations

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Today's presentations we're interesting and full of useful information. I thought Sam did an excellent job with her YMCA presentation at describing exactly how the organization was effective in terms of going global, reaching out to millions, and using its profits not to necessarily be the most technologically advanced in terms of equipment but to aid people in becoming members. Brian's presentation on the Texas Rangers was very informative as well. You could tell he really did his research because he expanded on a lot of topics on his slides rather than reading directly off of them. He even called in to inquire as to what the mission statement was since it was not clearly posted anywhere in his research. I think people had more time to see what the previous presentations were like and thus had a good idea about what information to present and how to go about presenting it. All in all, this was a very good day of presentations.

12/1 Presentations

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Today's presentations had a good variety of information. I thought the Steelers presentation was interesting in that, they opted not to use current forms of mass media advertising like Facebook and Twitter. While I think that might hinder the ability to reach out to more people, I think it enables the organization to retain its extremely loyal fans. It is a very bold move and something I admire about this team. I thought the presentation by Alexa on the Women's Gymnastics team was very good because she did not overcrowd her slides with alot of text or information. Her points were short and simple and she spent her own time elaborating on them rather than reading directly from the powerpoint. This kept the audience's attention because all of the facts were coming from her and not the screen. Emily's presentation on UnderArmour was very good. She used many pictures of products and logos that really depicted what the organization was trying to achieve. She too, did an excellent job at elaborating on her ideas from the slides. Everyone today was well prepared and able to really expand on their ideas.

11/24 Presentations

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The presentation that stuck with me the most today was Kristen's presentation on Nike. As a student-athlete, I receive a lot of Nike apparel since the University is sponsored by them. Being a relatively large organization, Nike had several differences from the smaller organizations that have been discussed previously. It was interesting to hear all of the similarities and differences in the two types of organizations. Kristen did a great job of presenting her information clearly to the class. Seeing as this was the second day of presentations I think people are doing very well. It will be good for people who present later on, such as myself, to be able to see what our classmates are putting in their presentations and how they are going about distributing information. It is very helpful to see presentations from all different perspectives and in various styles.

11/19 Presentations

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Being the first day of presentations, I thought everyone did very well. Yuri's presentation was the very first one and I thought she did a very good job explaining the structure and functions of the Federation of International Gymnastics. She seemed very well prepared and  made good eye contact with the audience. Andre's presentation on the Men's Basketball team was very informative. I really enjoyed learning about another varsity team and it's innerworkings at Minnesota. It was interesting for me to compare and contrast that team with my own. Alot of the information about setting goals and focusing on team cohesion were things that are emphasized on my team as well. In addition I think they are vitally important to having an effective organization. Some people read directly off the slides and didn't really elaborate on the information as much as they could but I thought these first two did a great job.

Decision making is a skill that all sport managers need to possess. I can guarantee that no person on this earth can make it through a job without making some sort of decision at one point or another. A decision is made when a few different factors are presented and a choice needs to be made between the alternatives. I have been a preschool gymnastics coach since I was fourteen years old. As such, I was in charge of anywhere between four and eight preschool aged children at a time. It was my responsibility to make decisions regarding what skills I would teach them, which area of the training facility I would use, and how to maintain their safety. Most of the time, we were given lesson plans to follow in order to move our students through progressions towards mastering a skill. We were told where to go, what to teach them, and when to rotate to the next event. However, sometimes another instructor was already utilizing the area that I needed to use. I then needed to take a look around the gym, assess what the most appropriate thing would be to do as a substitute, and execute my new plan. I knew what the risks of moving to a different location would be such as being forced to move again by another class, potentially being in the way of a preexisting class, or taking time out of the one hour allotment for my class. In another example, when I become a head coach for a collegiate Division I gymnastics team I will be faced with all sorts of decisions. I will need to decide who I want as my assistant coaches as well as what girls I would like to pursue in recruiting. When recruiting starts I will need to consider not only the skill level of the athletes but also their school transcripts. An athlete with immense talent but no desire to further educate herself will not be compatible with my programs goals. Therefore I would decide not to recruit her any further unless she decided to make some necessary changes. There will always be choices to make regarding my training plan. I have to decide how hard I will be able to push them and how long they will be able to train that way. It is a delicate balance between pushing your athletes and giving them a break because you have deadlines to meet in order to be ready for competition season but you also cannot wear your team out before you get to that point. Another important aspect will be choosing which six girls to put in the line-up for each meet. Some weeks, certain girls might be hurting from injuries more than others and I will have to decide whether it would be better to let them push through it or give them a break and put someone less experienced in. I run the risk of further aggravating my athlete's injury but I also run the risk of losing the meet by putting in a less reliable substitute. No matter what I do, I will always face decisions and make choices based on what I believe to be the best bet.

Organizational culture is one of the most recent introductions into the field of organization theory and as such does not have a concrete definition. Various theories have been presented and all have some of the same general ideas concerning values, beliefs, basic assumptions, and shared understandings. these are commonly accepted as forming the basis of an organization's culture. culture is necessary in sport organizations in order for managers to be able to implement these ideas as well as to provide employees with an understanding of the organizational activities (Slack & Parent 275). Culture can be divided into two subcategories: thick and thin (Slack & Parent 276). In a thick culture, members of the sport organization agree about the importance of certain values and employ them in their daily routines. This type of culture helps to hold the employees together through the use of stories, rituals, rites, and language.  An organization with a thin culture will have differing values based on what part of the organization is being looked at. This obviously creates for a weaker cultural tie between employees. The management of a sport organization's culture can be accomplished by five primary mechanisms (Slack & Parent 285). Leaders should pay attention to things that happen and can be measured in order to reward good behavior accordingly. The way a leader handles a crisis can also have an impact on culture. After such an incident occurs, it is understood that learning has taken place and those values that underpin the organization's culture have been reinforced. A more direct way to reinforce values is for the leader to talk the talk and walk the walk. They lead by example and help to directly influence those around them by teaching and coaching. People are more willing to follow someone if they see that their leader truly believes in what he or she is saying. Rewards and punishments also need to be allocated according to behavior. Finally, managers need to be thoughtful about employment decisions. People who fit with the organization and believe in its values are certainly going to be hired. However, organizations need to be wary about hiring people solely because they are consistent with the rest of their employees. New ideas are beneficial and can help an organization if they are implemented the right way. Top management will eventually realize that change is the only way to keep an organization alive. Though values remain constant, the way in which the company goes about things will shift. This awareness will lead to confusion where managers agree that change needs to happen but they are unsure as to how that will come about. This confusion will lead to one new manger being elected who then presents his or her vision to the rest of the employees and begins to implement it through experimentation. These are all ways that organizational culture can be managed and, if necessary, changed.

Leadership

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Leadership will always be influenced by various contextual factors such as actors, processes, culture, structure, and environment. I have come to experience these factors first hand through my new captaincy of my team this year. The first thing to be considered and understood is the structure of your organization. In this situation, as much as I would prefer not to use this term because we implement a rule of equality amongst members, my teammates would be my "subordinates." In turn, I answer to my coaches as well as the booster club representatives as well as any other administration who might be involoved with our organization. With that knowledge, I began to see how all of these actors worked with one another and what type of culture emerged from the interactions. From being on the team for two years already, I was fully immersed in the team culture. However, it was an entirely different story after being elected captain. Suddenly, I was much more involved in discussions with the coaches and the booster club chairs as well as dealing with team issues. Though I am the captain, I am also still a member of the team and abide by the same rules that everyone else does. Therefore, I assume an acheivement leadership style (Slack & Parent 298). I treat my teammates as equals and welcome their opinions and help. I set high standards for myself and expect the same out of each other girl on my team. I would consider myself to employ charismatic leadership in my position (Slack & Parent 302). The captain is elected by her team's annonymous votes without any campaigning or promoting. I believe that I was chosen because I already had some of the characteristics that are most desired in a leader. I am a self-confident person with a very strong conviction in my values and beliefs to be used toward bettering myself and those around me. I have always tried my best to be a role model to others because I believe actions speak louder than words. I set high expectations for myself and give everything I have to attaining those goals and I think that my teammates recognize that and mirror it in their own lives. I am confident in my ability to rally my team and enable them to reach their goals. I can effectively communicate with my coaches about issues concerning the team or anything else that needs to be addressed. I feel very strongly about standing up for wha I believe in and sticking true to your beliefs. For this reason, I am not afraid to walk into the flames and take the heat for any of my teammates if I believe it is the right thing to do. I can take responsibility and know that I am following my own convictions by standing tall--something I hope my teammates recognize. We are all there working towards the same goals and are involved for the right reasons. This does not mean that our group is drama-free and void of conflict. With fifteen young women, there are bound to be disputes. Usually I can recognize those issues and either help mediate or let them run their course based on what I think would be most appropriate. I abide by the same rules as everyone and therefore follow m y coaches' plans and processes for attaining our goals. I am confident in my abilities as a leader and a captain and why shouldn't I be? My team believed in me to put me in this position and I am embracing it and using it to do everything I possibly can to make this team and this organization everything it can be. What can you do to become a better leader in your organization? Do you think a leader will be more effective if they are charismatic or transformational?