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Many people can consent to the fact that setting goals and achieving them are two different things that are, hypothetically, two poles apart. Setting goals touches on almost every aspect of human life. No person envisions failure in his/her endeavors, rather, they seek success using all available means. The aspect of time management is especially important in personal or group goal-setting. Continuous and often time-oriented decision-making and choice selection characterize human life. Goal setting relies heavily on the wisdom that helps people make sense out of the various practical experiences they go through to make conscious and subconscious decisions in the build-up of motivation that is necessary for the achievement of personal goals.
According to Piotrowski (2009), achieving goals takes a great deal of hard work, determination focus, and effective planning. However, not all personal and group goals are met within the set time and context. Piotrowski (2009) says that many factors sometimes hinder and/or delay people from achieving goals they have set. Piotrowski (2009) further says that failure to achieve the goals set is mainly due to the inability to do proper planning and/or setting the wrong goals. The aftermath of such scenarios requires a reflection on the part of the planer to evaluate the extent of success, as well as the needed corrective measures, as defined by a set benchmark. It is important to note that the benchmark, in this case, includes established theories, facts, and literature that help with the reflection exercise.
Taking the above factors into account, this essay will mainly be an individual reflection on the elements of the group plan that the members formulated. There will be an emphasis on a basic description of what the role of the author was, analysis of the experience, generalization of the experience, analysis of the assumptions, and linking theory and practice. The above will help the individual gain an in-depth insight into the success and failure, as well as into the successes of the above-said plan.
Plan Development and underlying assumptions
The development of the plan was long overdue. Our group needed a comprehensive plan that would act as a guide to our study habits to achieve academic, as well as extracurricular excellence. We met as a group and brainstormed on the best way forward for the group while taking into consideration various factors, such as the personal schedules of the members, and the objectives and needs of our courses.
The group came up with four goals and strategies to achieve them. The goals included achievement of high distinction marks on group assignments, maximizing our learning experiences, making the subject of study as fascinating and enjoyable as possible, as well as meeting and making new friends. Perhaps the best way to describe the approach to making a plan is to apply the economic principle of Ceteris Paribas. We assumed that many actions would be held constantly, and I must admit that our plan was more or less ideal, but its successful implementation was likely to run into some problems. According to Brott (2009), plans can only succeed if the goals are clear and realistic. The goals of our plan were clear, they reflected little realism and incorporated too many assumptions that overlooked many members’ shortcomings. On my part, I had assumed a smooth sailing development and implementation of the plan based on numerous other planning ventures I took part in. The difference, however, with my other planning experiences was that I worked with a smaller group of people than this one. Coming up with the plan was a difficult experience since many members had varied opinions on what is best for the group, and what strategies were best suited to help us in achieving the laid sown goals. There were also clashes on the strategies we would adopt.
Many group members followed and adhered to the laid down strategies, though, in my opinion, they could have been done better. While drafting the plan, we had assumed uniform compliance and undivided commitment from members. This assumption, especially, did little to help in drafting a smooth implementation plan. According to Pillkahn (2008), general assumption dictates that strategy development and its implementation take place from the top down. The above was missing in our group. I agree with Pillkahn (2008) because any failures we experienced as a group could partly be blamed on the unclear implementation procedures we had in place.
If I was to carry out a candid and objective assessment of the group performance concerning the plan, I would describe it as average. We smoothly implemented most of the plan’s elements except when it came to time management among members. Compared to the corporate world where I had worked for a while, this group plan implementation was a bit below par. I think the prospect of making a profit at the end of everything and the security of jobs for the people involved pushes corporate technocrats to ensure full implementation of plans with little room for failure. There may be bias in my view, but, I think that my attitude towards the overall success concurs with the assertion that strategy development and implementation is a less structured and internal process that involves incremental evolution through continuous learning (Cox & Schleier, 2010). (Cox & Schleier, 2010) further add that when formulation and implementation merge, there is a likelihood of creating something discontinuous and unexpected.
Members are likely to meet their goals but not as precise as we had expected. We had expected the success of the last two goals of the meeting and making new friends meet expectations. However, it turned out to be wildly successful to a point that it threatened to overshadow the rest of the goals. To some extent, I felt it threatened the achievement of the rest of the goals given the excessive socialization that resulted from the goals at the expense of the rest. According to Grenfell & Harris (1999), some parts of the strategy are more successful than others. Some strategies under the goals set were particularly hard to achieve, especially, when it came to personal participation in class and discussion boards and also attending meetings. There was poor implementation, particularly on the first goal aiming at high distinction marks on group assignments. Some strategies under this goal proved a bit too much for the group members to follow. I must add though that the rest of the goals, especially on making the subject lively and making new friends were thoroughly met.
Leadership and decision-making
Daft & Lane (2007), assert that strong leadership is a crucial tool in the successful formulation and implementation of the strategy. We had a group leader whose leadership qualities I must commend. He was especially tough and softly pushed members to adhere to the laid down strategies in the quest to meet the overall goals. The group members understood that collective effort was needed to achieve the goals. Most of the time, decision-making was collective and in the case of group work, we allocated assignments according to individual strength, while taking care to balance the allocation of tasks among ourselves. Ability to make fast and popular decision-making that is consistent with group beliefs and aspirations determines innovative group decision-making (Daft & Marcic, 2010). However, I must fault the above assertion on the part of the popularity. In my opinion, it is important to make tough choices and decisions despite their unpopularity, as long as they are consistent with group beliefs and aspirations. In this case, the combined abilities of group members come in hand when making group decisions during planning and implementation. Additionally, it confirms the assertion by Matheson & Matheson (1998), that good decision-making must involve both decision-makers and implementers. Group members played both roles in this case. The group leader found my moderation skill useful especially during brainstorming sessions when once in a while emotions ran high.
Comparison with real-life situations
Overall, I felt that the team’s performance was averagely good and it provided a solid ground for better performance after carrying out evaluation and implementing recommendations on the areas that need improvement. According to Willauer (2005), motivation and commitment are crucial to strategy implementation. Perhaps lack of monetary motivation at the end of the implementation may have influenced the outcome as it was. The pattern that the group displayed is typical in situations where motivation is nonmonetary. Additionally, I felt that the group leader was not tough enough, perhaps due to a lack of effective punitive mechanisms. In many of the corporate plan implementation situations I have been in, leaders exercise various executive powers, and push can easily become shoving, unlike the situation described here.
Concerning planning and implementation of a plan, I have always assumed that motivation or lack of it is the key to success or failure. Furthermore, I have always assumed that planning and implementation in amorphous groups, like the one I was in, was far more difficult than doing the same in more established outfits. Both assumptions above were true considering the events characterizing the implementation of our plan.
This reflection focuses on both, successes and failures of the strategic plan as developed by members of the group. It is important to note that this discussion is largely based on my reflection. There is a concerted effort to describe the events and relate them to the real-life situations the author may have taken part in. Additionally, there is a sustained analysis of the theories that link group planning and implementation to the events that characterize the actual implementation of the actual strategy. Certainly, there are bound to be variations in other accounts as narrated by other group members. In a nutshell, it is worth noting that the planning and implementation of a group strategic plan entail many elements. Given that there are many interested parties, varying opinions on the course of action and the quality of the outcomes is a norm.
- Brott, R. R. 2009. Developing a Successful Personal & Business Vision: Shaping Your Future, Today. London: ABC Publishing.
- Cox, F.J. & Schleier, J. 2010. Theory of Constraints Handbook. London: McGraw-Hill.
- Daft, L.R & Lane, G. P. 2007. The leadership experience. New Jersey: Cengage Learning.
- Daft, L.R. & Marcic, D. 2010. Understanding Management. New Jersey: Cengage Learning.
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- Piotrowski, C.M. 2009. Professional Practice for Interior Designers. Montreal: Willey- Interscience
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