The end of the quarter

 

Here we are at the end of yet another quarter. Amid finishing projects and final papers I felt at a loss of what to blog about. Then, the thought of being so busy with life and school work seemed to be an idea in its self. I an eagerly completing my final work in the last week of the quarter. How are all of you Antioch students doing with the week sprint to the finish?

Life seems to repeat itself, because this time last year I took a week vacation to Jamaica and then wrote a reflective blog about the trip and my experiences. Here I am a year later, and I am going back to Jamaica at the end of this quarter. This time I am writing about it before I go.

My concerns are primarily centered around school. Finishing all my coursework is at the top of the list. I have one paper left to finish, an art project for a psych class, and more team editing for my Capstone Project. Secondly, I have to plan my course load for next quarter….which will be my last quarter before graduating. Third, I have to make sure all my paperwork for completion and graduation are in order. Lastly, I have to pack and gather all my tickets, itinerary and everything I need for the trip.

All my efforts will be worthwhile. I am looking forward to two weeks of warm sun and clear water before beginning my last quarter here at Antioch. What are your plans for the student break?

A Change of Pace

As I draw near to the end of my second to last quarter here at Antioch I’ve taken this moment to reflect on my choices in classes this quarter. I am a MAOM program student, which means that I have taken primarily MGMT classes since I have begun. This quarter I chose a different path, since I have completed all the required classes for my program. I have enjoyed the classes and the students I took them with, but I felt it was time for a change. One of the truest things I’ve learned as a student here is that true growth and change is sparked by discomfort. I chose classes outside of my program in order to have some new experiences with different students. So this quarter I took a 1 unit MGMT class and 6 units of Psychology classes as electives, in addition to finishing the Capstone Project in my program…..but I’ll write about that another time.

The result was that it was truly refreshing to have classes with students outside of my program. After having the same classmates for almost two years, it’s nice hear some new view points and their personal experiences. On the other hand, the downside was that I was a fish out water in those classes. While they were taken as electives, those classes seemed to be preparing their students for clinical and therapeutic roles and positions. So, while I craved something different….it was not quite what I expected. At the end of the day, I am happy with my choices because every experience is valuable. So, I recommend that anyone that is ready to take electives in their program should keep an open mind. Perhaps, you too may need a change of pace.

A Hurricane to save the day

While many of us students are busy with classes and papers, I hope that you have not overlooked an important intersection of events recently. The two events I an speaking of are the election campaigns and hurricane Sandy. While these two events do not seem related, I assure you they are. In the news and online, many are comparing our current president’s response to Hurricane Sandy to George W. Bush’s response to Hurricane Katrina. This comparison of response is extremely important as we near election day. The current consensus is that President Obama has preformed extremely better than George Bush. While Bush is not up for election, he still represents the republicans in this comparison. President Obama has preformed so well that even the Governor Christie of New Jersey (a republican and one of his toughest critics) has applauded his response to hurricane Sandy. With such a close Presidential election on the horizon, this natural disaster has shed a new light on it for those that may be on the fence post between democratic and republican votes.

Generational Differences in the Workplace

Generation conflict can cause an organization a lot of money in productivity.  At no other time in history have five generations co-existed in the US. Labor force, Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, and the most current Gen2020.  This is due because people are living longer and working longer.  This mixed, multi-generational environment is a new challenge for management and HR teams.  Falling under one generation does not necessarily mean you were born during the years within the range but if you meet the characteristics and values of the generation.

Several of the prevailing issues are the different workforce behaviors, and those who are unfamiliar with collaboration tools but are expected to work in a setting with possibly four other different generations.  Generalizations and stereotypes exist in an attempt to understand trends.  By having your employees understand how work is done differently in different generations, collaboration between groups tends to happen.  Understanding the different needs go both ways.  “Social learning” is a new concept that employees learn from each other.  Management has learned that by pairing up employees from different generations and by providing them the training, they can both teach each other and develop working relationships.

You can learn more about strategies for understanding–and overcoming–generational differences by reading “Generations at Work: Managing the Clash of Veterans, Boomers, Xers, and Nexters in Your Workplace.”

All Aboard! Onboarding and the Future of Organizational Socialization

 

    Worried about productivity? Fear company turnover?  You might want to consider onboarding, a form of organizational socialization that introduces new employees to the culture of a workplace. Through activities like meetings, get-togethers and lectures, onboarding provides new employees with a stable foundation to build their careers on. This has a tendency to increase productivity and fuel positive relationships between employees and their companies.

    Onboarding is enthused by many different factors, but divided into three primary ones: new employee characteristics, new employee behaviors and organizational efforts. This helps companies string together individual strengths that are compatible with organizational mores. Many companies use different socialization tactics that either nurture or challenge the employee, a good example of this would be the 1986 Jones’ Model, which builds on another model that identifies six sections that organizations can take to introduce socialization to a company. The Jones’ Model narrows those six dimensions into two categories that focus on institutional socialization and individual socialization. The institutional method focuses more on onboarding from within whereas the socialization model leaves the new employee to navigate on their own.

    While the results of onboarding are mostly positive, there have been doubts. One concern is that of “hand-holding” that could possibly distract an employee from their responsibilities. Onboarding is not for every company, as many adhere to more rigid ways of building productivity in new employees. But for the most part, onboarding has proven successful, and as with the rest of life, with the right amount of support, anyone can go above and beyond.

Reflection on Immunity to Change

Desire and motivation aren’t enough to see change through.  Therefore, it is best to first understand what you seek to change and then determine your desire to fully commit to implementing it.  I understand that change does not happen overnight, it requires serious dedication.  Yet and still, in my experience, I know it is easy to fall off track and lose sight of the goal.  At times I am consciously aware of what I need to do yet I lack motivation to continue to implement the change I started to pursue.  My actions become inconsistent and/or I psyche myself out.  Eventfully, though, I realize I do not have to begin my transformation in a drastic manner, I can revamp my approach and start with baby steps—Kaizen.

This particularly correlates with how I feel about the mannerisms I am trying to change.  For the most part, I consider myself to be a well-rounded individual who understands we all encompass unique differences.  However, in knowing myself, I accept that I am not and will never be perfect.  Thus, I am continually working towards becoming a better person.  I admit that I need to be a better listener, have better control of my emotions, and even become a better delegator.  Conversely, my “one big thing” is control issues.

I was already aware of my areas of weakness, nevertheless, Kegan and Lahey helped put the significance of my weaknesses into a perspective I had never considered.  I was content simply knowing that there were a few things I needed to work on.  I did not want to think about every aspect of my faults—it makes me feel uneasy.  It truly is a slap in the face once you realize you are unconsciously blocking your own path to success.  With that being said, I appreciate the self discoveries that spawned from reading “Immunity to Change.”  Not only am I aware of my faults and consequences they may cause, now I am also aware that I have the ability to create a game plan by using an immunity map to overcome every obstacle blocking my path to success.

Organizational Transparency

Increased transparency is a consequence to the digital age.  A transparent organization shares information purposely beyond the boardroom with both members and nonmembers alike.  Organizational transparency encourages, honors, and engages with the public.  Transparency is the degree to which an organization shares the following with its stakeholder publicly:

  • Leaders are accessible and straightforward.
  • Employees are accessible and can reinforce the public view of the company by providing superb customer service, when appropriate.
  • Ethical behavior, fair treatment, and other values are on full display.
  • It’s culture.  How a company does things is more important than what it does.
  • Successes, failures, victories, and problems are all communicated.  Results of business practices, good and bath are communicated.
  • Business practices are aligned with the business strategy.  Misalignment can results in disaster.

The reasons why certain organizations have productive and lively workplaces go beyond hiring efficient employees and paying competitive wages. Workplace transparency can increase employee happiness, productivity and decrease the turnover rate. The responsibility of introducing transparency into the workplace falls upon the shoulders of management by keeping employees up to date with workplace changes. Communication is key; it can be as simple as carbon copying your employees in your emails.

Thanks to the evolution of social media, transparency is no longer an option.  It is in the organization’s best interest to talk openly and behave ethically.   Some recognized transparent organizations are Wholefoods, La-Z-boy, and PriceSmart.  These organizations model openness and integrity. When organizations announce their motives to the public it allows the public to hold the company accountable.

The Glassdoor provides an inside look at jobs and companies.  It includes salary details, company reviews and interview questions. Before your next shopping trip or when applying for your next job, check out what others are saying about this organization at http://www.glassdoor.com/index.htm