Reflective Writing
A Personal Reflection

Part I

Self-Assessment on my Knowledge, Skills and Attitudes

In going through the entire process of completing the module ‘enterprise management project’, I have found that I had improved a lot in the several areas.

Self-awareness and self reflection skills. A lot of time in this module is about critically analyzing own self. Thus, I had learnt a lot about myself, and began to aware of my thinking style, my habits and my attitudes. This is important as if only I able to observe myself, I can correct myself without relying on others feedbacks. This is truly useful for me, because I soon started to realize my long unquestioned habits or assumptions. Many of my previous beliefs or thinking may be wrong. I had learned to questions my thinking, my thoughts, my assumptions as well as my belief system, and by doing that, I can ensure that my actions is more appropriate and my points is more valid in performing projects or solving problems in daily life.

Group work. After participating in group work, I learned more about how to be a good team member in a team. I had also gained more experiences on how to better fit into team discussions, how to respect team members as well as how to utilize the strengths while mitigating the weaknesses of each of the team member. I soon learned the many theories about team work are correct. There are certain rules to be followed to ensure effective team work, and by following these theories, a team can surely perform better than any particular individuals. However, if these practices are not present, the team can become a very ineffective and worst method to work towards completion of a project, as team members may waste time doing unproductive and instead anti-productive activities.

English speaking skills. The more I force myself to speak in English, the more fluently I am able to speak in that language. This is not same as in my past projects, where I had Chinese teammates, where without any pressures, I can fast to revert back to my comfort zone and speak in Mandarin for communication purposes. Thus, under a pressured situation, I can be forced to speak in English, and by undergoing such stressful period for a certain of time, I started to get more used to speak in English. Perhaps it is true that without pressures, someone cannot really learn something.

Communication skills. I started to learn more about communication skills while interacting with team members. I realized more that communication is a two way process, and both listening and talking are equally important for a true communication process to take on. In contrast, my communication process in the past had been one-sided. This is not effective as I often not able to take in new data or information from the other party. Without understandings on the others’ point of views, it is very hard to proceed with effective and meaningful communication, as people will ultimately engage in self-explaining or defending own positions or ideas. In order to seek understanding from others, it is more important for me to understand the others first. For this, I had been trying hard to cultivating new habits to listen more, and talk less to ensure I more able to understand the other perceptions. This will in turn enable my ideas to be communicated to others, as people will realize that I actually am listening and responsive to them.

Problem solving skills. There are a lot of problems to be solved in this module, be it those technical or analytical problems, but also very often; it is about interpersonal or people-based problems to be solved. I started to learned that problem solving require skills, and more importantly, a new mindset and attitudes. Without training, someone can be not effective in problem solving. I was used to be easy to get angry, anxious frustrated and tend to have a give-up attitudes in solving problems, or when is troubled with difficulties. However, as I was forced to solve so many problems in this course, I soon started to realize that no matter how I am unhappy, I still have to solve the many problems. Such a change in mindset eases the problem solving stage significantly. I learned that to view problems as challenges, and when I understand that if I able to solve big problems, I can become more fulfilled, I will become more readily and happy in solving difficulties.

Identifying Personal Development Needs

In the process, I had come to realize that the more I learn, the more I discover that I still have so much to learn. I am getting more awareness on my weaknesses, and what I should improve on. Not only is that, by going through the process and being troubled by the many difficulties facing me in completion of the project, I started to learn that success require me to have more knowledge and skills (in management), not to mention of having a better attitude. In this section, I will outline some of the important personal development needs as follow.

Communication skills. Sadly, I still cannot communicate well. To listen attentively and then to adopt the many important skills and habits required in effective communication is not something easy for me. It is my second nature to force my perceptions on others. I tend to rush to provide my stands, and slow to accept the ideas from others. Without conscious efforts, I cannot easily adapt to the new habits that enable me to communicate effectively. Perhaps I need more training to do so.

Critical thinking abilities. I also notice that in order to be successful in solving problem and managing a team of people, it is important to have critical thinking ability. I tend to have straightforward thinking style, and that is something to be changed. Critical thinking abilities are required even to identify the root causes of any problems, and to understand the real issues surrounding a problem, or the many intricacies of executing or completing a project.

Leadership skills. In a successful and effective team, a strong leader is always necessary. Without a strong leader, conflicts in a group can hardly be solved effectively. Besides, a strong leader is definitely crucial to lead a team, in a united manner to solve the many problems facing the team. However, that is not truly the case in our group work, as without a powerful leader, it is hard for the team to come into agreement on certain issues. Also, the many disagreements in the team will required more time to solve. That would be different if a strong leader can lead the team, particularly if the leader has in-depth knowledge on the nature of the problems to be solved. Thus, that motivated me to learn more on leadership skills, as it is important for me to take up the role of leader, particularly when nobody is assuming the responsibilities.

Impacts to Future Employability

By going through the course, I had learned a lot. I do believe that I had also improved a lot, which will contribute for my career in the future. In the context of employability, the module had prepared me in the several ways as follow. Firstly, I had improved a lot in my communication skills. This means that I can more able to speak confidently in workplace, as well as having a better chance to impress the employers. Besides, as I can speak more fluently in English, I will be easier to get employed in many countries around the world, as English are often used in running or conduct of businesses around the globe. That had also enhanced my confidence level. Besides, by practicing solving problems, I learned to become more persistence, and having a positive mindset and attitudes towards challenges presented to me in life. Such attitudes will surely propel me forward faster in my career in the future. Not only is that, as I become more aware on myself, I can take personal change initiatives, as in the long run, bit by bit improvements will add up to change my capabilities and skills greatly. This means that I will become a much better, skillful and knowledgeable person, which is all highly attributes in workplace in the future.

Part II

Assessment on Personal Performance/ Contribution

In cooperating towards the success fulfillment of the group work, I have been able to contribute in several manners as follow.

Contributing ideas. Generally, I am a creative person. Very often, I have a lot of different ideas, on different things. Perhaps my thinking style is very different to others. Most of the people have very structural thinking style and habits. They are highly logical. In contrast, I often have more unstructured thinking habits. This enables me to think out of the box. In working as a team members, some of my ideas are useful for completion of the projects. For example, when findings a solutions to some problems, even as tiny as where and when to meet for group meetings or discussion, I often able to suggest proper avenue convenient and preferred by others. Apart from that, when we are discussing on the possible options to be included as recommendations in a project, I able to suggest many ideas, which can then be evaluated by other team members.

Following up with works from all team members to ensure timely completion of tasks being assigned to each of the team members. Because I am a person that is anxious if any tasks are properly performed in a timely manner, I tend to keep an eye on the work done by the team member. I can be relentless in pushing or persuading others to complete the works assigned to each others, via SMS, phone call, email reminders and constant MSN messages to keep everyone aware of their responsibilities and duties. To a certain extent, this enable the team to complete the tasks assigned faster than expected.

Bring the discussions back to topic when it strays away from the important issues to be discussed. I have a strong focus on objectives and goals. This makes me to keep an eye on the key objectives to be achieved, as well as if the team or I are progressing well towards attainment of the objectives. As a results, I tend to get very fats to notice of the topic being discussed may not contribute to the success of the project. Thus, I contribute by saving a lot of time for the team. As it is important to keep the most important things as the most important things, my ability to sense when things are not progressing towards fulfillment of goals are ensuring that the tam able to utilize time in a more effective manner.

Share my knowledge on the Chinese market as I am the only Chinese in the group. Apart from that, I did able to contribute certain knowledge that is only available to me in the team. This is truly the essence and meanings of team work, as each team member bring forward the distinctive skills, and work in a complementary and supportive manner to perform better in a team structure. As I am the only Chinese in the team, I able to inform other team members on my experiences and observations on the Chinese business environment and culture in China. This is important, as people from different background may not understand why Chinese behave in certain ways, and why the certain business practices that are so successful in western countries, can be not effective at all in China. All these enable the team to learn new knowledge, as well as providing more insightful discussion to the projects.

With critical reflection, I also discover that I have certain weaknesses that are constantly preventing me from contributing more to the team work. All these should be addressed seriously, so that when such weaknesses are mitigated, I can better contribute to team work or even personal achievement in the future. These weaknesses include:

Too fast to jump into conclusion. There are many times I am too anxious to jump into conclusion confidently on how to solve a particular problems. Perhaps this is due to overconfidence tendency behaviors. This is not a good thing in the team, as sometimes, more information should be gathered, and more discussions are necessary to reach a better conclusion. I had been too anxious to complete the tasks assignment, in the shortest time as possible. Such tendency for efficiencies may not help the effectiveness of the team work. For this, I shall try to slow down my tendency for fast completion of any work, and try to slow down my decision making process, so that better decisions can be made after more comprehensive data or evaluation had been obtained.

Not taking the required efforts to listen to other ideas, or to see things from other’s perspectives. I found that I am highly sticky to personal view points, and that has been limiting the effectiveness of communication between my team members and me. By holding my personal view point too strongly, it becomes harder for me to accept the opinions from other team members. In fact, I simply ignored the many viewpoints of others. Instead of listening, I may be talking or prepare to talk. But that prevent me to see the view points of others, and without two way communication, it is hard to people to come into consensus. Besides, I have also had to admit that my personal opinion or personal assumptions may not be relevant or correct. Besides, it is better for a team to consider a particular issues from several perspectives (i.e., this is one of the advantages of working as a team).

Not having structured work flow or steps to guide the team discussion or work process. I am a more emotionally dependent or impulsive person. That means, I may not think in the sequential or logical manner most of the time. This can be good to generate new ideas, generating more creative ideas or even to think in an unconventional way. However, that is not a good qualities in structuring work flows and team work, as these activities require clear structure and system to make it works. Besides, if I continuously think in an unstructured manner, people may be hard to understand why I think in a certain way. Effectively, all this means that in certain situation, fully rational thinking abilities can be useful and important.  Thus, it is important for me to train up my mind to be able to analyze things in more systematic manner.

References

Block, P., (2000) Flawless Consulting: a guide to getting your expertise San Francisco, California: Jossey Bass Pfeiffer

Boud, D., Keogh, R., and Walker, D., (ed) (1985) Reflection : turning experience into learning Kogan Page

Meredith, J.R., Mantel, S.J..(2010) Project management : a managerial approach ,7th ed., International Student Version, John Wiley

Proctor, T., (2005) Creative Problem Solving for Managers: Developing Skills for Decision Making and Innovation, 2nd edition,  London, Routledge

Schon, D., (1995) The Reflective Practitioner: how professionals think in action, Ashgate

 

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