How to use the honour system for student self-assessment

July 2, 2015

The JudgeThe honour system of self-assessment is quick, easy to use, and a valuable approach in the classroom. Here’s an example from a leadership development workshop

There is an accepted place for the use of carefully validated psychometric instruments as a contribution to personal learning and development. Such methods have to comply with regulations about preservation of anonymity of data collected, validity of the instrument, and permissions which have to be obtained from respondents completing the instruments.

There is also a case to be made for much simpler means of self-assessment. One of my favourite ways of doing this is through the use of multiple choice quizzes. Examples can be found at the end of each chapter of the new edition of Dilemmas of Leadership, a textbook for executives and graduate students. These quizzes were developed for self-study through the internet. In my example I selected a self-assessment approach out of creative desperation when the computer system failed  during the revision session of a personal development workshop.

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Concepts and Pragmatism: Applying original thinking in a Manchester Method way

February 12, 2015

HAKAM1624_1 (2)

Vikram Madineni

Applying theory to find practical solutions in professions like engineering is well-known.  The Manchester Method approach in the field of management comes from  applying the learning in one’s professional life and, leveraging trust and current experiences.

 

The Global MBA program at Manchester Business School gave me a platform to self-reflect and grow professionally, to learn the importance of communication and also to shape my future goals and ambitions

Personal Growth

I encountered many of the nuances of business management early in my professional life, but at first I had a hard time relating to decisions being made from a professional and personal perspective.

The dynamic nature of the Global MBA course work, diversity of people, need for team collaboration and applying theoretical frameworks to understand “why” and “how” part of the decisions, all have shaped my personal growth over the last 18 months.

The focus on teamwork is paramount and there is a regular need to improvise based on dynamics of team members. I have dramatically improved my group negotiation and implementation strategies. For this, I owe much to the information exchange with other students in multiple workshops across countries and partly to the self-reflection of my creativity reports.

By using theoretical frameworks of economics, marketing, operations, accounting, and leadership when answering individual assignments, I gained a better perspective of various factors influencing decisions being made within my own organization.

Manchester Method

The emphasis on “managerial oriented” application of concepts rather than academic discussions has been advocated in all courses. I got a better understanding of the principle after receiving feedback for my final marketing assignment. My thorough research was appreciated, as was required in an MBA course, but both examiners explained the importance of also arriving at practical solutions that could benefit the company.

In the induction session the program director [mention name] explained the importance of networking, teamwork, the value of working within a diverse cohort and building relationships.

This has been an enriching experience and it has helped me to manage assignments and projects in a more efficient and productive fashion.

Chartering the future – Social Responsibility

I dreamed of being an entrepreneur since I graduated from college and I got a new perspective after reading an inspirational book about the TOMS company written by Blake Mycoskie – Start Something That Matters.

I chose the book for my leadership assignment and published a post about TOMS and its CSR in Leaders We Deserve.

Around the same time, I became aware of the amazing work being undertaken by the Gates Foundation and within my own company, Ingersoll Rand, in providing opportunities to serve a social cause. I was inspired and motivated to change but also identified the lack of management experience in handling strategy or operational needs of social organizations.

Johnson. W (2012), “Disrupt Yourself”, discusses the concept of disrupting oneself to stay ahead or charting one’s profession career.

I embraced the opportunity to do the Global MBA program, and over the last year I have opportunities to learn and understand the business system at a functional and a strategic perspective. As I progressed through my learning I gained knowledge in operations excellence and insights of marketing for a non-profit organization.

I had to do considerable amount of research on TOMS for my leadership and marketing course assignments. I gained a deeper understanding and need to embrace social responsibility; and also the power of words, advertisement of conscious consumers, and era of storytelling successful companies. I discussed this concept with our company’s marketing team to rethink branding and customer connectivity. We needed a story; a story that connects with our customers and makes them our passionate advertisers.

Original Thinking Applied

One of the most enjoyable workshops and one that I can vividly recall is the Accounting workshop! Marketing, Operations, CIB and all other workshop assignments helped me to gain a deeper understanding of the fundamentals but Accounting was very focused on one particular aspect of the organization or situation. I probably have never spent 6-8 hours analyzing just 3 sheets of papers before, the Balance Sheet, Cash Flow and Income Statements! It was a workshop in which I truly realized the potential of applying the thinking – understanding what financial ratios really mean, challenging whether the numbers are really telling a true story, what should the company or an investor be looking for.

Our group spent hours endorsing and debating each other perspective. I remember our professor being intrigued by the new metrics and ratios that we identified and how we linked them with a balanced score-card strategy. The level of analysis and realization of the importance of certain metrics all helped my immensely in applying the learnings in the business simulation course.

The business simulation course was another opportunity to bring all our learnings together for the first time and I enjoyed the challenge of managing and competing against my peers. Managing finances, building on equity, improving net margins, borrowing cheaper capital were all a result of application of deep analysis of the company’s financial statements and the market. This was also an opportunity for us to apply the concepts of strategy, adapt dynamically to market changes and build a road map for the future profitability. This gives me confidence in my ability to manage business operations in certain roles like strategic integrator, program manager in companies like TOMS or Gates Foundation.

 Leadership

My perspectives on definition of leadership have gradually changed over the course of my student and professional life. Growing up, my father was a leader for me; responsible, knowledgeable, humble and passionate. I inculcated lot of those values and owe my growth to his leadership skills as a parent. My views on leadership skills expanded during my career at Ingersoll Rand while working with my peers and my manager. We were now in a dynamically changing environment and it was educating to understand the need for a leader to find a “balance” – compassion and setting expectations, leading and allowing to lead, teaching and allowing to learn and most important of all humility and approachability.

The Manchester MBA program has expanded my horizon further on leadership traits and I was introduced to the concept of Servant Leadership. The ability to build a vision and then inspire and influence people to adopt and engage is truly a remarkable skill set. In this era of social consumerism the ability to reach out to people who are remote and influence their decisions is a differentiating attribute of the new generation leader.

The new era of conscious consumers and employees is suited in supporting and associating with a leader who is empathetic and is committed to social responsibility.

 


Argentinean men’s national soccer team: a leadership success story to copy

October 16, 2014

Carolina MayleCarolina Mayle

Having Lionel Messi, the best player in the world in a team may bring dilemmas of leadership or at least dilemmas of ego. But not with Sabella as the coach. As a non-playing leader he encouraged others including Messi to share leadership responsibilities. The story suggests something beyond the sporting arena

Lionel Messi was not born as a leader. But “he was something special,’ recalls Vecchio, Messi’s second coach at Club Atlético Newell’s Old Boys, an Argentine sports club based in Rosario, Santa Fe.

Sabella’s distributed leadership approach

Sabella is not the typical football coach. He is a conservative, analytical and detail-oriented individual. He fines young football players for breaking rules. Troublesome stars are dropped, including veterans he believes may not fit his strategy. Sabella transformed leadership dilemmas into a team strength, based on what is known as a distributed leadership scheme.

Messi and Mascherano

As part of a team, Messi needed emotional support and for that he would give back reciprocal support to the team with the promise of scoring a goal anytime. But still, the teams also needed an emotional leader. For that, Sabella summoned Mascherano. Both, Messi and Mascherano, can be taken as charismatic leaders, but with different approaches.

Attributional and emotional aspects of leadership

According to Jayakody (2008) a leader may be assessed for attributional factors or emotional ones:

Leader extraordinariness, the attributional approach – refers to the follower’s belief that the leader is beyond any ordinary person in many, if not all aspects of human attributions.

The emotional approach refers to the follower’s belief that the leader is an ideal representation of whom the follower expects the leader to be. Mascherano was even called “the captain without the [arm]band”

How this distributed leadership worked in the field

In the FIFA World Cup 2014 Semi-final against The Netherlands in Sao Paulo, it was goalless after extra time. The game went to penalties. If Argentina wins, it will be a place in the final for the first time in 24 years.

Mascherano was captured on camera speaking to goalkeeper Romero. ‘Today you’ll make yourself a hero’,he said. And the stopper did. Mascherano;s words inspired Romero in saving two penalties, as his side ran out 4­2 winners.

Messi lead from a different perspective in the same situation. He was the first to kick the penalty that ended in a goal.

Beyond football

Learning about distributed leadership should be part of any managing career in order to participate in teamwork. The Argentinean football team highlights developing a strategy to enhance each participant’s capability to commit to the team’s goals.
Their success of the field has changed my way of thinking about distributed leadership, influencing me to deal with dilemmas and going beyond the ‘normal’ assumptions (e.g. of the ‘one leader of a team) not only in my work life, but also in my personal life.

References

Drayton, J. (2014) Mascherano tells Romero ‘you’ll make yourself a hero’ before Argentina’s shootout win over Holland

Jayakody, J. A. S. K. (2008) ‘Charisma as a cognitive affective phenomenon: a follower-centric approach’,. Management Decision, 46, 832-845.

The author

Carolina is a Senior Purchasing Manager at an international consumer goods FMCG, completing a global part time MBA


What I want to become: An exercise in creative leadership

May 11, 2014

Here’s an exercise in creative leadership. It takes five minutes to complete. Try it out for yourself or for your friends or with people you work with

Pantograph

You can do this exercise using an A4 sheet of paper, or a flip chart or using a computer or tablet. I will describe it for working with a sheet of paper but it is easy to translate for working from a flip chart or computer.

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1 First you take a piece of paper and make two columns by drawing a line vertically down the middle of the page

2 Then at the top of the left hand column you write
I want to become ……

3 Then you complete the sentence with your wished-for future dream in no more than three additional words. It may be a professional wish or a personal one.

4 At the top of the right hand column write a statement about some quite different wish. You can select from this list of wishes suggested to me in the past. Select something as far away as possible from your statement in the left-hand column:

Airline pilot
Nobel Prize winning scientist
Famous explorer
Famous peace maker
Role model for children
Olympic athlete
Respected family person
Great teacher

5 Write down quickly ten ideas that would help you or someone else achieve the wish in the right-hand column. Let your imagination rip

6 Take a short break

7 Now turn your attention to the left-hand column

8 Look at the first item on the right and see what needs to be changed for it to suggest something in the left hand column

9 Write down the first thought that seems to connect with your own wish, opposite the first item on the right.

10 Repeat the process with the next item from the right hand column

11 Keep repeating the process. It will always be possible to find a connection for each idea

12 Take another short break before identifying idea you like most for a first step towards you reaching your dream

Why the exercise works and what might prevent it working

I know the exercise work because colleagues and I have tried it out on creativity courses around the world countless times. I expect it to have worked for you as a subscriber to Leaders We Deserve. The basic principles are derived from application of techniques for re-framing thoughts and visualizing future actions.

Sometimes it doesn’t work. There are various possible explanations for this. Most are to do with the specific circumstances under which the exercise was carried out. If it didn’t work for you, A conversation though the comments section of LWD may be found helpful. You can also find out more from courses and many books about creative problem-solving.


Decision dilemmas? Listen to the little boy inside you, says Van Persie

August 18, 2012

Comment

In his the much-publicised move from Arsenal football club to Manchester United, Robin van Persie could have chosen to sign for the wealthier club Manchester City. In making this difficult decision, he produced a quote which will appear in future sporting anthologies, and maybe even in a business textbook or two.

“I always listen to the little boy inside of me in these situations – when you have to make the harder decisions in life. What does he want? That boy was screaming for Man United”.

Don’t forget the little adult

This is part popular psychology, part from a life-skills manual for personal development. The idea offers one way of dealing with dilemmas or hard-to-resolve decisions. ‘Listening to the little boy [or girl]’ allows us to escape from the tyranny of a logical “either or” . In this case it might have been Either go to a weathier club, or to a club I find more attractive but which has fewer resources to buy top players

The approach overcomes decision paralysis. Hoever, it tends to work better when combined with ‘listening to the little adult’.

To follow

A post examining how the arrival of van Persie was in a week which saw Manchester United’s stock rise among its fans and fall on the New York exchange.


Andy Murray may need more mental map-making for Open success

April 21, 2012

Andy Murray has shown a willingness to learn through his new coach Ivan Lendl.

We examine how the learning will require reframing not of broken racquets but of mental maps

As Murray was heading for defeat against Tomas Berdych at the Monte Carlo Masters event [April 20th 2012] he smashed his racquet in frustration at his failure to find a strategy to cope with his opponent’s muscular game.

Coping with the unexpected

The defeat was not particularly unexpected. Although Murray is higher ranked, Berdych’s game is suited to Monaco’s clay court surfaces. Murray’s preparation has been hampered by unusual circumstances (withdrawal of three opponents through injury in the last few weeks, including in his last match). But the unusual has also to be coped with. The manner of the loss suggested Murray had not found a plan to deal with ‘events’ and with Berdych.

The post-match interview

We can examine the post-match interview for signs of the Scot’s mental state. I borrow from the principles of mental map-making which are being taught to business students including those at the Miami location of Manchester Business School programs not far from Murray’s own training facilities. The mapping approach attempts to examine the way an individual (or a group) may be ‘reading’ a situation and making sense of it by testing assumptions, and maybe changing his or her mind through mental reframing or conceptual map-making.

In post-match interviews Andy usually shows evidence of an acute mind actively engaged. That is in itself unusual, and compares well with evidence from interviews with top sports figures generally (I am thinking of the vast majority of interviews with fooball players and many managers). I have added my own ‘map testing’ interpretations of Andy’s maps.

“At some points today in the match I did well, and at some points I didn’t do so well,” said the Scot.
[Map reading]

“Today is a good match to learn from because I was playing a top player who played very, very well.
[Recognising the need to learn by map-mapping]

“I hung in, in the first set. Then in the tie-break I got a few lucky bounces. He missed a couple of shots that he hadn’t been missing.
[More map-reading]

“At the start of the second set he obviously started playing better and my level dropped – as the scoreline suggests.”
[map-making? He concludes that Berdych gained an advantage by playing the better better and that his own level dropped. He bases it on the evidence of the scoreline. He lost the set heavily].

Some tentative conclusions

A post-match interview may only reveal a glimpse of a player’s thinking processes. There may be deliberate withholding of information. And there is the possibility of ‘knowing more than can be said’. Just on the evidence, it seems to me that Andy Murray has untapped potential which if released will increase his chances of winning his much-coveted first Open Championship. He shows he has the mental equipment to reflect and develop his game further.

Although not obvious in the snippet of interview above, he is adequately motivated (over-motivated, some may say. His reflections stop short of acknowledging the dilemmas he faces. Can he rely on his exceptional defensive skills or should he attempt to be more aggressive, for example?
Maybe some more reframing of his mind sets will produce less reframing of his racquets.

Acknowledgement

The image could have been of Andy’s racquet. I suspect it’s not. It comes from the excellent tennis blog This tennis.

Update

A few months later Andy Murray won the US Open, with ample evidence that he has developed the necessary mental reframing.


Andy Murray: Advice from a chess trainer

March 4, 2012

After his change of coach and some evidence of strengthening his mental game, Andy Murray may be may be interested in advice from Stewart Reuben, a chess trainer who used to play odds games with Bobby Fischer

This week [March 2012], Andy Murray avoided a slump in form after a good performance in the opening grand slam of the season. His play in the tournament has been consistently strong. Even his serve percentage held up well until the final. LWD has commented for some while on his potential, and on recurring patterns in his play. Our observations are not backed up with any direct experience of competitive play. For this I draw on a shared platform of understanding of more experienced commentators which seemed pretty well summed up in the Guardian’s analysis of his Dubai performances:

Murray ought to be able to lose a final without forensic examination of his disappointments in big matches …[although] he is getting closer with a sound, improving game and an on-court demeanour that is noticeably calmer since he took on Ivan Lendl as his coach in January. He beat [world No 1] Djokovic on Friday with as good a service game as he has produced in a long time but it let him down against Federer, even though the winner’s 50% first-serve rate was only two points better. It is tough for Murray to overcome the ingrained instinct that he has a better chance of winning from the back of the court, even on his own serve. These fine calculations are often split-second ones and it is more comfortable for him to rely on trusted strategies.

Leaning from a Chess master

Stuart Reuben is a distinguished English chess administrator and teacher. One of his valued pieces of advice to young chess players is that weaker players tend to choose the cautious move against stronger players. This is a strategy which favours the stronger player. I can confirm from personal experience of playing as one of a hoard of amateurs against a visiting grandmaster taking us all on simultaneously. Too often, the chess bunnies play passively as their games drift away.

Reuben (a world-class poker player, by the way) encourages us bunnies to seek dynamic positions, avoiding trying to keep it simple as a primary factor in selecting each move. Not quite simple. The weaker player has also to avoid recklessness. In my case, this often shows itself as a futile attempt to break out of the passivity trap by being foolishly aggressive, a dilemma facing the chess player.

Over to you Andy

So there you go, Andy. If snooker players like Steve Davis and boxers like Lennox Lewis have found the value of chess as a metaphor for strategy in another sport, why not add it to your training regime. You may find ways of adding these vital percentage points to your play at crucial moments of important matches.

Acknowledgement

Image of Stewart Reuben from the Atticus website


Murray gets to Cincinnati semis but is he improving?

August 20, 2011

Andy Murray advances to the Semi Finals in the US Open warm-up event in Cincinnati. He believes he is making good progress. But has he made any significant improvement in his play over the last two years? [Opinion piece]

Five years ago there were these two promising young tennis players. Both were seen as likely world No 1s and likely grand slam winners. One fulfilled his potential. The other seems to have stalled.

Novak and Andy

Novak Djokovic progressed to become World No 1, grand slam winner, and favourite to win the US Open. Andy Murray is hanging in there at World No 4, which is still a great achievement, but looking increasingly in need of a quantum leap in play to fulfil his early promise. Few insiders doubt his talent at individual shot-making. He identified a need to get superfit and did something about it. On his day he has beaten the best in the world, including Nadal and Federer (both of whom were knocked out of the Cincinnati Open while Murray progressed to the Semi-finals.

From the bottom of the pile…

As my Tennis Ranking is not No 1, even in my own family. My observations on Murray’s tennis don’t count for much, unless you believe in the merits of a fresh perspective from the bottom of the pile. My professional knowhow is more about the processes through which people reach personal development goals.

Murray tries too hard?

There is one theme within personal development which suggests that you can be over-motivated. So bizarrely, Murray may be trying too hard. His self-abuse remains evident on court. He is too aware when a shot lacks perfection. And when he is not blaming himself his anger gets rechanelled towards his coaching staff (the membership of which changes rather too regularly in comparison to the stability of the Djokowic entourage.

The latest self-help effort

There seemed to be another conscious effort to loosen up in this tournament. Murray comes on court with a smile on his face. But it is a smile which reminds of the sad efforts made by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Gordon was notoriously uncomfortable in the public eye. His body language was poor, as the coaches like to say. Someone hit on the solution. Act confident, Gordon. Show you like it out there. Smile.

But the smile became a grimace of pain

It never really worked for Gordon Brown. The smile became a grimace of pain. If anything it gave comfort to his opponents.

I’m just hoping it will not do the same for Andy Murray.


Tennis watch: Andy Murray development update

August 16, 2010
Andy Murray of Great Britain wins the Cincinna...

Image via Wikipedia

Andy Murray’s progress is followed in the build-up the US Open 2010. The notes have been prepared for students of leadership, coaching, and personal development.

Sunday August 21st

Murray v. upbeat about Cinci defeat. Thinks conditioning gained was pefect for Open. The Guardian was not as convinced

Friday August 19th

Murray’s run at Cincinnati ends in quarters. Loses tight game to Mardy Fish. Murray’s plea for a match outside the heat of the day is turned down. He is clearly worried by the heat. Hits physiological wall after winning tight first set tie break. My medical advisor says quitting court for cool comfort break may have made things worse as he needed medical attention soon afterwards for dizziness. Also reported assorted twinges. Possibly good break for a couple of weeks before Open. But will we need a Murray Knee Watch next?

Thursday August 18th

Murray sneaks past Gulbis in 3rd set tie break. Looked fatigued in heat (and slumped in chair afterwards). Win in doubt as Gulbis big-hits way to first set and then until final breaker. Next up in quarter finals Mardy Fish who beat Murray in last two match ups.

Wednesday August 18th

And so on to Cincinnati masters event.  Bye in first round. Second round M played a bit hot and a bit flat looking troubled for a while when Chardis attacked rather wildly.  Said he found surface difficult and needed practice later in the day before round three against tougher Gulbis.


Monday August 16th 2010

Andy Murray had defended his title at Toronto by beating Nadal in the semis and Federer in the final. At the start of the tournament his play and his longer-term plans seemed in disarray. He retains the tag as the strongest player around who hasn’t won an open championship. Admired aspects of his play include considerable natural talent, wide range of responses to opponents shots, and good fitness level (despite natural physical weakness of the knees, and earlier suspect fitness levels).

Earlier in the week I suggested that progress should be judged against longer-term patterns of on and off court behaviour. Murray’s play reveals high-level of performance competence repeatedly mixed with lapses of concentration. Losses to more aggressive powerful players have been too frequent. In play, a pattern of scrambling brilliance has sometimes failed to compensate for weaknesses in serve and a preference for counter-punching. Off-court he has had uneasy relationships with coaches. He recently parted company with his coach (but retained the other members of ‘Team Murray’. At 23, he has reduced displays of truculence on court.

My recent comments were that under stress, older patterns of action come to the surface. In tterms of a well-known personal development adage, “if you always do what you’ve always done you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” Under stress Murray may revert to a rather timid style that will cost him important matches.


Murray v Malisse: “If you always do what you’ve always done you’ll always get what you’ve always got”

August 12, 2010

At the Toronto Farmers Tournament, an ATP ranking event, Andy Murray and Xavier Malisse both replicated patterns of play familiar to spectators who have followed their careers.

Murray versus Malisse, August 11th 2010. Murray started tentatively, waiting for his opponent to over-stretch, then dropped serve, continued to struggle with first serve percentages, and seemed unable to cope with the weight of the Malisse shots. Malisse, [image above from wikipedia] who had been showing good form in the run-up to the tournament, appeared confident and threatened to overwhelm Murray. Murray scrambled and frustrated Malisse who failed to convert the break and a set-point. Murray grabs the set and starts to play better. Malisse starts to play worse. Murray wins the second set easily to progress to the third round. In statistical terms, Murray has achieved more success as a professional tennis player than Malisse. Currently No 4, he has reached as high as No 2 ranked player in the world. But there are signs that neither player is meeting the expectations either of themselves or of their fans.

Breaking old patterns of play

There are explanations for Murray’s performance. But there is a more disturbing perspective from which it might be concluded that both players will remain with unfulfilled ambitions unless they find ways of breaking out of the old patterns of play. Both are regarded as exceptionally gifted players naturally. Murray is now repeated described as the most talented player around who has not won a grand slam. Malisse is a little like the veteran Tommy Haas, another two promising talents who never quite got to when they should have in Tennis.

Why the expectations gap?

We have examples of players who demonstrate a principle of all viable systems from stable combinations of atoms to stable systems of planets, with stable systems of organisations and humans in between. A viable system replicates actions (behaviours in humans and other animals) which define its functions and relationships with its wider environment. In human development terms we go on doing what we have always done, demonstrating what is meant by personality and competences. Training may help sort out potential distortions to the basic pattern. This in sport as in other walks of life is helped by sensitive coaching.

Nevertheless, under stress, older patterns of action come to the surface. In the homely terms of a well-known personal development adage, “if you always do what you’ve always done you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” According to the adage, and viable systems theory, Murray will under stress revert to a rather timid style that will not succeed enough to win grand slams. Malisse will win some great matches against higher-ranked opponents, but will also struggle to reach tournament finals.

Is it all pre-ordained?

Now that’s the big question. If it means “will Murray win a grand slam?” or “will Murray ever get to World No 1?” I am not as confident as I was a year ago when he seemed to be ironing out weaknesses in his game. Now I’m not sure I know the answer to either question.