Business Management Course Review

The lecture series during the course of the program was indeed highly informative and provided me with knowledge gained from practical experience by successful businessmen. Each lecture was distinct in approach and enabled us to understand the dynamics of business and all its related aspects. During the first week of the course I learnt about the first step or stage in business management which stresses on building a business and the excitement which comes with it. However, I learnt from Pau Reubens that along with excitement and eagerness, one should also have the correct approach and attitude in life, which sets one in the right direction.

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Reid and Crisp (2007) state that when people working in organizations have good managers to lead and guide them and have the potential of challenging their abilities in addition to providing them with the necessary support, they “can overcome obstacles and achieve amazing results”. This supports the theory and importance of strong yet supportive leadership qualities among managers. The primary objective of all businesses is to achieve success which is directly determined by the pool of knowledge and talent which the workforce in their organization possesses.

Stressing on the importance of attitude, Reubens explained that without an attitude things cannot be done right and accomplished. Giving several examples, he informed that even when one gets a new job, the awareness that something should be done and accomplished is of crucial importance. For instance, in any business venture, there will be opportunities which must be used effectively and efficiently to generate business and increase sales and profitability. How you make the most of these opportunities is a crucial aspect of business management and there must be certain strategies one must have in order to achieve the goal.

The lecture explained that business opportunities can be gained business managers must make the most of atmospheres which are enjoyable and relaxing, such as places where there is good food or music. While selling biscuits to a company like Safeway or Cooles, the manager should preferably choose from a place or destination like a restaurant or a joint where the atmosphere is relaxing and conversation will be easy and light so that the chances of hitting a deal are greatly enhanced. One of the most crucial aspects of business is to save as much money as possible for the future as it will be easy to take quick investment decisions if one has enough savings for the future.

Paul Reubens provided several strategies and ideas to start a new business enterprise with minimum expenses and resources. From his lecture I learnt that starting a new business venture does not require too many resources and one can begin even at home or in a garage. The initial two to three years can be used to gain popularity and become well known and getting popular is not easy and requires hard work, sincerity and dedication.

One of the most important lessons which the lecture taught me regarding starting a new business is keeping in mind the risks involved. Risk management involves appropriate planning of a business, which is one of the most vital aspects of business management. A plan has to be devised and this plan should be extremely simple at first.

Paul Reubens stressed on the importance of communication in business and his experiences of devising a simple business plan in which he used letter to communicate with his business associates, including suppliers as well as customers. Reubens used the medium of letters to convey his thoughts and ideas to his suppliers with whom he was extremely polite and professional and written communication ensured that all his correspondence was saved with them for future reference, leaving nothing to memory as in the case of verbal communication. Reubens also communicated with his clients through mails and found that once he had gained a few clients, mouth publicity brought him more clients and new customers.

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Research confirms that “leaders aren’t born, they are made”, which makes it crucial for mangers to understand the importance of effective communication in leadership. While it is an accepted fact that efficient leaders motivate their teams to deliver results, it is also extremely essential to understand different communication styles of leadership and the situations in which they can be effectively applied. Research also confirms that ccommunication is of crucial importance in leadership and the two have been “linked” together (Flauto, 1999). Since interactions and communication are an important and indispensable aspect of effective management it is essential for leaders to comprehend their communication styles which impact their ability to collaborate so that they can sculpt their communication style to enable them to succeed in organizations (Wieand, Birchfield and Johnson, 2008). By addressing personal styles of communication and addressing their limitations and challenges identified in their styles, leaders would be able to develop the ability to realize the barriers to effective communication and enhance their collaborative techniques to produce productive outcomes within the organization they function (Wieand, Birchfield and Johnson, 2008).

When customers like a service or product, they are bound to share this with others and this is one of the most potential aspects which help a business to grow steadily over time. When you have clients who are satisfied, they often refer more clients to the business. However the lecturer Reubens also informed that he would take a lot of risks, but would be extremely cautious while selecting an item for selling to his clients. His risk taking would focus on the different strategies and plans he would devise while selling items to his clients. Reubens asserted that risk taking is an essential aspect of business management and business entrepreneurs are not likely to succeed without risk-taking behaviour in business. However, Reubens reiterated that risks must be calculated and must not be taken rashly without any prior planning.

Another very crucial lesson learnt from the lecture is the desired goals which the business entrepreneur must devise keeping in mind the needs and wants of customers. Once customer needs are understood, delivering products and services becomes more systematic and productive. Goals should be devised keeping in mind the product, the potential customers and what they seek from the product including all their needs and expectations. It is also essential to bear in mind the suppliers and what they can and are likely to offer. Reubens also stressed that in businesses where there are employees, goals should be planned keeping in mind the potential of the employees and whether or not they will be able to achieve the desired outcome. Undue pressure or expectations could lead to unachievable goals which will be unlikely to meet. He referred to eeffective management as the power to influence others to work towards common organizational goals in order to achieve the desired objectives through their input (Islam and Ismail, 2008). Effective managers are those who “create a proper climate in which employees can develop to their fullest potential” and ensure their optimal participation (Steers and Porter, 1983). One of the ways in which effective managers can influence employees positively is through their participation and involvement in the decision making process.

My research on employee involvement enlightened me regarding the active participation of employees in the decision making processes which ultimately leads to the success of the organization (Hoell, 2004). Employee involvement is a “participative process” in which effective managers are able to draw employees to their work places through enhanced communicative techniques, suggestions and incentives to work (Cotton, 1993). Management practices which enable employees to determine and decide how their work is performed are believed to be optimal and effective, since they have a crucial and positive influence on employee involvement (Ariss, 2002).

In my research I also found that employee involvement enables decision making at the lowest levels of the organization thereby improving the quality and productivity to employees (Cotton, 1993). Effective managers are those who have the capability and power to motivate employee involvement in order to encourage commitment to the organization leading to ultimate profitability and success (Cotton, 1993). Literature on employee involvement suggests that employee involvement in decision making is directly proportional to job satisfaction and high performance of employees and workers (Crandall and Parnell, 1994). Numerous studies have also indicated that when subordinate employees are allowed to participate actively in taking decisions, they reflect a higher degree of content with the company management (Cohen and Bailey, 1997).

The second lecture by Professor Brian Corbitt related to Health, culture and business in the Hospital and healthcare industry. In his lecture, he discussed the steady growth in health expenditure and explained important aspects related to the healthcare industry. The primary message he conveyed during the lecture was the integration of all technologies together with the purpose of “making it easy for everyone”. In the lecture he clearly explained the potential of the use of Information Technology in the healthcare industry and business and how it would impact the future of this industry. In keeping with Professor Corbitt’s stance, I found that the healthcare industry is rapidly expanding and in order to manage the culturally diverse and distinct clientele managers should have interpersonal communications skills which include teamwork and working effectively with culturally diverse individuals with a positive attitude (Vice and Carness, 2001).

I researched the healthcare business environment and found that it is highly sophisticated and needs strong driving forces to succeed in the globalized world. However, I also found that research technology may not provide the much needed “driving force” which can bring about success in organizations, due to the “sheer speed” of rapid changes in technology which enable companies to “quickly replicate and introduce the same technology” (Stoh and Caligiuri, 1998). It has therefore been understood that people “cannot be quickly replicated or replaced” and are therefore “a source of competitive strategic advantage” to organizations (Stoh and Caligiuri, 1998). Research confirms that some of the most valuable and desirable skills among managers is the ability to interact with and relate to other employees at the workplace which are among the top rated skills leaving behind technical skills and expertise (Rubin & Morreale, 1996). As such, it is extremely crucial for employees to develop their “soft skills” which among other skills include specific desired characteristic traits of good manners, the willingness to help and commit to tasks by assuming responsibility, the ability to be adaptable to change and distinct personalities, working in a tem for effectiveness and the building of positive relationships based on trust and good will for enhanced outcomes (Marshall, Patton, & Stocker, 1999).

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I also had the opportunity to listen to Mr Greg Banks, a business analyst, SAP an IT manager, who discussed about the potential of consulting in business and how it could benefit profitability in numerous ways. Mr. Banks explained that consulting can prove to be extremely fruitful and could put one in a better position with the boss. He also outlined several benefits of consulting among which were the prospects of travelling, the opportunity to progress and experience steady career growth through training sessions, building relations and string networks which prove to be fruitful in professional life. However, he advised that it is essential to be wary of enemies in business since business depend largely on networking and enemies could harm or mar personal and professional reputation. As such, building positive balanced relationships is an essential aspect of business management.

References

Ariss, Sonny S. (Spring 2002) Employee involvement as a prerequisite to reduce workers’ compensation costs: a case study. Review of Business 23.2: 12(5).

Cohen, S.G., Bailey, D.E. (1997), “What makes teams work: group effectiveness research from the shopfloor to the executive suite”, Journal of Management, Vol. 23 pp.239-90.

Cotton, John L. (1993). Employee Involvement. Newbury Park, Calif.: Sage Publications.

Crandall, W.R., Parnell, J.A. (1994), “On the relationship between propensity for participative management and intentions to leave: re-opening the case for participation”, Mid-Atlantic Journal of Business, Vol. 30 pp.197-209.

Flauto, Frank J. (1999). Walking the Talk: The Relationship Between Leadership and Communication Competence. Journal of Leadership Studies: 86.

Hoell, Robert C. (2004). How employee involvement affects union commitment. Journal of Labor Research 25.2: 267(11).

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Islam, Rafikul, and Ahmad Zaki Hj. Ismail (2008) Employee motivation: a Malaysian perspective.” International Journal of Commerce and Management 18.4 : 344(19).

Lombardi Vince (2003). What It Takes To Be Number #1: Vince Lombardi on Leadership. McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing.

Marshall, Patton, & Stocker, 1999 Marshall, B., Patton, S, & Stocker, S. (1999). What today’s employers expect from today’s employees. Team up for the millennium vocational-technical conference. Louisville KY.

Reid and Crisp (2007). The talent challenge: creating a culture to recruit, engage and retain the best.” Ivey Business Journal.

Rubin, R. B.,& Morreale, S. P. (1996). Setting expectations for speech communication and listening. In New directions for higher education: Preparing competent college graduates and setting new and higher expectation for student learning (pp. 19-30).

Steers, R.M. and Porter, L.W. (1983), Motivation and Work Behavior, 3rd ed., McGraw-Hill, New York, NY.

Stoh, Linda K., and Paula M. Caligiuri (1998). “Increasing global competitiveness through effective people management.” Journal of World Business 33.n1: 1(16).

Vice, Janna P., and Lana W. Carnes (2001). Developing Communication and Professional Skills Through Analytical Reports. Business Communication Quarterly 64.1: 84.

Wieand P., Birchfield J., and Johnson M., (2008). The new leadership challenge: removing the emotional barriers to sustainable performance in a flat world. (Feature Article)(Reprint). Ivey Business Journal Online.

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