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Assignment 1b (25%) -Individual
The goal of this reflection assignment is to allow you to gain an understanding of:
- the assumptions that drive your thinking;
- the extent to which these assumptions drive actions within and between contexts;
- the extent to which you are currently practicing the capabilities of sensemaking, relating, visioning and inventing in order to build organisational resilience and/or to deal with adaptive challenges.
Carroll (2009, p43) summarises reflection as “the ability to think about the past, in the present for the future”. People commonly assert that the future is unwritten meaning that no one knows what the future is going to look like. Rather than being a glib statement, this is a profound truism that tells us that, while we may not be masters of our destiny, we are not victims of the past if we are able to learn its lessons. Turning to Figure 1, when things go wrong, most of us do our best to go through the entire cycle. However, do we have the tools to navigate the cycle successfully and effectively? If our evaluation or analysis, is off, our conclusions and plans may be erroneous, faulty or downright dangerous. On the flip when things go right, do we know why? Are we able to reproduce the success mindfully?
The key to learning these lessons stems from being able to reflect upon our experiences. To achieve this goal, Assignment 1 is structured into two parts.
- Assignment 1(a):a Hero and Zero write up 1,000 words (10%)
- Assignment 1(b): a final reflection (2,000 words) (25%)
- Merge both lists into a time line.
- Determine if there are any links between the Hero and Zero moments. For example,:
- having achieved a Hero moment, an attempt was made to perform the same actions except this time the result was a Zero moment.
- Having experienced a Zero moment, you learned a valuable lesson which you applied next time round, leading to a Hero moment.
Assignment 1(b): Reflective Leadership Journal.
This assignment is a reflective assignment that is evidence-based. The evidence will be diary entries that will be used to inform your reflection. Learning to be reflexive is a key skill to develop in the work place as people will be telling you things about yourself. You have to decide how true or untrue they are.
Assignment 1b has two parts: diary entries and the Reflective Journal. The link between the two is that the diary entries will form the evidence, together with your Hero and Zero moments that you will reflect upon in your Reflective Journal. If you have no diary entries, you can only reflect upon the Hero and Zero moments using the lenses provided by concepts in the course.
Diary entries: No marks
In week 1, you will decide on how frequently you will make your diary entries. These diary entries can only be viewed by you and teaching staff in the unit. No one else can view them. Diary entries are voluntary. Please number your diary entries.
What are the diary entries about?
Every week, you are expected to complete the required readings and complete the pre-seminar activities as well as the post-seminar activities from the preceding week. Many of the seminars will also have activities. The outcomes of the activities form the evidence to support any conclusion you draw about yourself in the Reflection. The central issue in relation to these diary entries is quality. Of course you can simply answer ‘Yes’ or ‘No’, but the question is ‘Why?” – Why did I get this result? Why did the seminar group react in this way? What assumptions did I make that led to the outcome? How did those assumptions come to be? Why didn’t I do it the other way? Why didn’t I recognise that my classmate would react in that way? Your answers to these questions can, and should be, used as entries. If you find yourself writing “if only… then….” you are going off track.
You will also need to apply the course concepts to the Hero and Zero moments. In relation to the Hero/Zero moments, and for the diaries to be useful, don’t make it about hindsight i.e. “I should have done X, or I should not have been quiet”. The central question here is why did you do X in the first place? Or Why were you quiet in the first place?
Reflection (25%): (2,000 words) see the LMS site for the deadline. Submit in Word Compatible format; fully referenced (diary entries as well as academic references) please include your name in the file name.
Reflect upon your Hero and Zero CV and your diary entries to enhance your understanding of yourself. The goal of a reflection is to gain insight to the lessons of your experiences. This is the most important part of this assignment. There are three components to the Reflection:
- analysis and interpretation, and
Report your findings about yourself. The activities, readings and questions are experiments that you conducted upon yourself. What happened when you undertook these activities, read the readings and answered the questions? Summarise and report these results from your diary entries.
Analysis and Interpretation:
You are expected to look back retrospectively at the results you reported. Adopt a high level view to tease out the patterns that exist in your experiences in the course. Apply course concepts to look at the Hero and Zero entries, and other diary entries you may have made to draw conclusions about your understanding of leadership, what it means to be a leader, your assessment of your leadership capabilities, assumptions that drive you, and default approaches to situations that may exist within you. Here are some starter questions to focus your analysis and interpretation. Please note that these are trigger questions only and are intended to aid your reflection. Do not use these trigger questions as headings, or structure your paragraphs around each of them.
- Did you have difficulty identifying Hero moments? Why? What does that say about what you know about yourself? Similarly for Zero moments.
- Are there patterns in your Hero and Zero moments? What is(are) the common element(s)? Note you can make comparisons between Hero and Hero moment, Zero and Zero moments as well as between Hero and Zero moments.
- Why are they common?
- Did you learn anything about why your Hero moments occurred? That is do you understand enough about them to reproduce them mindfully?
- What are the key assumptions that drive your actions as a leader? Why do you hold these assumptions?
- Do you have a default approach to problems?
- Did this affect your Hero/Zero moments?
- To what extent do you practice the capabilities of the DLM?
- Are you a good Sensemaker? What evidence do you have?
- Are you good at Relating? What evidence do you have?
- Are you good at Visioning? What evidence do you have?
- Are you good at Inventing? What evidence do you have?
- Why do you rate yourself this way? Do you think your peers and subordinates would rate you the same way?
- Did you treat an adaptive challenge as a technical challenge? Why?
- Can you see patterns playing out in other parts of your professional or personal life?
- How effective have you been?
How might you be more effective in your positions (or even in life)?
Having analysed your Hero/Zero moments, ask yourself what does this mean? Essentially, you are sensemaking your results and analysis. This answers the question of what have you learnt about yourself? This is a big picture perspective. You may find contradictions; you may find hidden strengths or unknown weaknesses. Link these insights back to the capabilities of the DLM i.e. the extent and quality to which you practice these capabilities.
The last part is to inform action. Having gained an insight to yourself, you need to develop
- What have you done well and should continue to do?
- What specific behaviour should you stop engaging in? Why?
- What specific behaviour should you start engaging? Why?
In this last section, it is more than just 3 sentences. The identification of these behaviours should be flow from the data to your analysis and your interpretation. You must relate these actions back to the capabilities of the DLM.
Assignment 2. – a multi-part assignment:
Part 1: Individual 10%; Part 2: Narrative and Resolution (20%)
“Communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly”(Wenger, 1998, p. 1). This assignment seeks to leverage group knowledge and expertise to identify and remove barriers to employee engagement in a fictional firm. By utilising the approach used in this fictional firm, and by learning from the shared experience of peers, group members may be able to identify similar barriers in the workplace and enact courses of action to overcome them.
|Hero/Zero write up|
|Hero||Personal agency in the hero moments are clearly described; importance of the outcome is clear; basis of decision is clear||10|
|Zero||Personal agency in the zero moments are clearly described; importance of the outcome is clear; basis of decision is clear||10|
|Weighted down to 10%||/10|
|Awareness||student has analysed the diary entries and the hero/zero moments, identified the patterns of thinking/assumptions /dispositions/conditions that shape decision making||30|
|Interpretation||Student has developed insights to self as a leader and leadership capabilities outlined in the course as a result of developing awareness of the factors that shape decision making||30|
|As a result of interpretations that have been constructed, SKS actions in relation to DLM capabilities(Daniels, n.d.) are identified||What should I stop doing?||10|
|What should I keep doing?||10|
|What should I start doing?||10|
|Weighted down to||/25|
A comprehensive narration is used for the overall discussion and offers sufficient insights to the events. Comparison using the timeline and behaviour should have been employed and greater detail and clarity on the events would have helped understanding the acts of commission and omission.This will be useful for the Reflection.