April 21-27th – The Happiest People Pursue the Most DIfficult Problems

This article is called “The Happiest People Pursue the Most Difficult Problems” (http://blogs.hbr.org/kanter/2013/04/to-find-happiness-at-work-tap.html) and talks about a new approach to achieving happiness. It focuses on the idea that the happiest people are happy because they face difficult problems, which are usually the struggles of others – helping those suffering terminal illness, helping the homeless, etc. Happiness often comes from the feeling that you are making a difference. There are 3 primary sources of motivation in high innovation companies – mastery, membership and meaning. Money acts as a scorecard, but is not actually a source of motivation. Helping others also helps promote human connection and expression of emotion, which can also make you a happier person. Leaders should tap into the 3main sources of motivation in order to help optimize their daily work and reap the rewards of happiness by doing so.

I agree with this article because I believe that helping others truly does make you feel happy. I think the article brought up a good point when it mentions the benefits of social entrepreneurship, because it is beneficial both to the person starting the business as well as the people who are potential customers, using the services of the company. I can relate to the article because I feel better about myself when helping others. For example, doing something little like helping my little sister understand her homework can give me a sense of satisfaction knowing that I am helping.

BOH Topic: Management Challenges – Motivation – explain the relationship between motivation, rewards, and job performance

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April 14-20th – 5 Tips for Dealing with Anxiety

This article is called “5 Tips for Dealing With Anxiety” (http://www.inc.com/barbara-mendez/5-tips-for-dealing-with-anxiety.html) and talks about ways to deal with workplace stress. When you feel anxious or stressed out (especially in relation to business), it can have an effect on workplace performance. This kind of stress is frequently felt by entrepreneurs who have to solely start up their own business, because of the large amounts of work involved in the process. Furthermore, this kind of stress can also affect your personal life and make working a less enjoyable task overall. In order to over come this, there are 5 tips given by the article:

1) Eat well

2) Lay off the coffee

3) Excercise

4) Make a plan

5) Be thankful

I agree with this article because I feel like this tips can help you maintain a proper work-life balance, therefore putting you in a better mental state to work effectively. Also, these tips can help improve your life overall, not just in relation to your workplace life or just in relation to personal life. I can relate to the article because I feel that eating well and exercising are crucial to your life because it means you are being healthy and taking better care of yourself, therefore meaning that your mental health will also be improved. By using these two approaches myself, I know that they work for me and help deal with workplace or school anxiety.

BOH Topic: Management Challenges –> Stress and Conflict Management –> identify stress-reduction techniques used in organizations (e.g.,wellness programs, meditation, time-management training, flex-time);

April 7-13th – The 12 Habit of Highly Collaborative Organizations

This article is called “The 12 Habit of Highly Collaborative Organizations” (http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/tech-manager/the-12-habits-of-highly-collaborative-organizations/8197?tag=nl.e106&s_cid=e106&ttag=e106) and talks about a series of 12 habits which can improve the overall functioning of an organization. It mentions that no two companies are the same, however, the same logic applies to the way that these different companies must operate in order to improve themselves in the future. All successful organizations have the same features in common. These 12 features or habits are:

1.  Individual benefit is just as important as the overall corporate benefit (if not more important)

2.  Strategy before technology

3.  Listen to the voice of the employee

4.  Learn to get out of the way

5.  Lead by example

6.  Integrate into the flow of work

7.  Create a supportive environment

8.  Measure what matters

9.  Persistence

10. Adapt and evolve

11. Employee collaboration also benefits the customer

12. Collaboration can make the world a better place

The article also mentions that by collaborating, people reduce stress in the workplace, make their jobs easier, allow more work freedom and make others happier, thus improving the atmosphere of the workplace. All of this, on top of increasing employee productivity and benefiting the customers, makes the idea of collaboration worthwhile and beneficial to everyone involved.

I agree with this article because the 12 habits or features mentioned have been taken from very successful organizations (IBM, TELUS, Lowe’s, etc.) and these observations have resulted in the same 12 features standing out in each of the companies. I think that the features make sense because policies such as supportive environments, persistence and strategics all positively reinforce what a company stands for and have the ability to increase employee productivity. For example, I can identify with “7. Create a supportive environment” because I think that I can perform best at school when my classroom is supportive in the way that I have guidance from a teacher as well as peer support. 

BOH Topic: Foundations of Management – Management Fundamentals – identify the characteristics of an organization (e.g., purpose, division of labour, hierarchy of authority)

March 31st- April 6th – 5 Lessons in Learning and Leadership

This article (http://www.forbes.com/sites/meghanbiro/2013/03/24/5-lessons-in-learning-and-leadership/) talks about how to maintains career momentum while taking a new approach at it, primarily through 5 lessons discussed in the article. It talks about the value of each lesson, and argues the value of education versus real life workplace experience. The five lessons are:

1. Take Inventory – because knowing your personal strengths and weaknesses helps you grow

2. Know your options – know the different ways that you can improve yourself

3. Follow your passion – because you will excel in what you love doing

4. Put first things second – use your new learnings and apply them to your current projects

5. Teach to learn – by passing on what you know, you improve your entire teams productivity

I agree with this article because I think that it shows a few new approaches to leadership. Unlike many articles, this one brings up new ideas such as following your passion, and focusing more on your personal strengths/weaknesses in order to figure out where there is room for improvement. I can personally relate to this article specifically in terms of “following your passion”, because I think that I work best and excel at my work when I am doing what I love (or working on a subject that I love), because I actually enjoy what I am doing, and therefore get better marks in that course. I also relate to “taking inventory”, because the only way to improve yourself is to firstly figure out where there is room to improve by taking inventory of your current skillset.

BOH Topic: Leading –> Leadership Techniques –> analyse the characteristics of effective leaders (e.g., integrity, drive, vision, commitment to equity and diversity in the workplace)

“Want to Succeed as a Leader?” – March 24th-30th

This article is called “Want to Succeed as a Leader? Then You Need to Tighten Your Focus” (http://www.tlnt.com/2013/03/04/want-to-succeed-as-a-leader-then-you-need-to-tighten-your-focus/) and discusses the factors which do and dont contribute to success as a leader. It begins by mentioning that leaders biggest problems usually dont have to do with lack of commitment or work ethic, but moreover it has to do with leaders not expanding and refocusing their understanding of time management in a way that allows them to truly understand the nature of their position. As a persons job changes, they need to adapt and focus to meet the demands of the new role. It discusses the concept of “catch-22”, which basically means that as you climb the corporate ladder, the more distractions you must deal with, since your position and strategic priorities become increasingly important. No matter how hard a person works, it wont produce good results unless you have complete focus on the task at hand. According to the article, the most effective leaders:

– make their meetings short

– hire staff to help organize and prioritize

– share their power

– learn to say NO

– practice healthy habits in their personal lives

The benefits of having such staff with similar work ethic is that they help you with not wasting your time, because they are also focusing on what is important. I personally agree with this article because I think that by focusing, you can produce the best quality results out of your work. I can relate to this because I feel that I finish my homework fastest and to the best of my ability when I isolate myself from any distractions (ex. turn my phone off), since my complete focus is on my work.

BOH Topic: Planning and Controlling – Planning Tools and Techniques – demonstrate the ability to use time management techniques

March 17th-23rd – Why I Dont Fire Jerks

This article is called “Why I Dont Fire Jerks” (http://www.inc.com/suzanne-lucas/why-i-dont-fire-the-jerks.html) and focuses on teaching a new tactic in terms of keeping or firing employees (for HR professionals). It lists various benefits to having the so-called jerks in your company, and discusses the various results and repercussions of doing so. Firstly, you need to consider their future potential rather than their past attitude, because their potential is what can help the company in the future. Next, its your job to stop bad behaviour, so if someone is acting out, its your fault that its not being stopped so rather than looking down on the person, you should correct the behaviour. You also might be modelling bad behaviour which employees have caught onto, so it isnt fair to pin the problems solely on the employee. Furthermore, it might be a good idea to drop the headhunters, because they arent curcial to the company and there are more important people to be hired. Lastly, you should reevaluate your pay structure, because the problem might not be the employees themselves, but rather how you are paying each of them.

In my opinion, this article brings up some good points about keeping certain employees around, but it puts a lot of the blame on the manager, and in a lot of cases, it might not be the managers fault. I think there are different approaches the article could have used to evaluate the position of “jerks” in a company, and it could have brought up more appropriate ways to deal with such situations.

BOH Topic: Organizing –> Human Resources –> – explain the strategies and concepts involved in developing and retaining a quality workforce

March 3-9th: Strategy Is All About Practice

This article (http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2013/02/strategy_is_all_about_practice.html) is called Strategy Is All About Practice. It talks about effective strategics when it comes to doing what is best for your business and leading your team. It mentions that most importantly, you must understand that business is not completely random, and that you can plan for what is in the future if you utilize your time properly. While many people think that its best to delay making choices so that you keep your options open, the article argues that it might be in everyones best interest to actually make decisions sooner so that you can focus in on your one choice. There are 3 main point which the article focuses on in order to strategize effectively. Firstly, since the first part of being an accomplished strategist is belief, the second element is to continuously work as much as you can. By doing this, you outline your own personal morals and values and then further these beliefs by working or practicing what you believe in, so that you gain experience doing so while advancing yourself and building up your knowledge. Also, helpful practice in strategy meas setting our your personal logical thoughts before making your final decison. This involves a lot of planning and strategizing beforehand so that you can make the best decision when the time comes. This means not only thinking about it in advance, but actually writing down what you plan to do. If you dont write down your logic in advance, you will convince yourself that everything worked out in the right way even though you just settled for another option. In conclusion, accomplished strategists realize that they can succeed despite not knowing certainty because they have the ability to lay out their logic and plan accordingly.

I don’t agree with this article because I feel like it contradicts itself, mainly by saying that firstly its good to keep your options open, then going on to say that its better to pick one option and plan around it. Also, I feel like it works best for me to keep my options open rather than narrowing my focus because you will end up limiting yourself in the long term, and furthermore, you also lessen your exposure to newer ideas in the long term. This is part of our BOH course through Planning and Controlling – Strategic Planning – Describe types of Strategic Plans used by specific organizations.

Feb 24-March 2 – Why You Never Finish Your To Do Lists at Work

This article is called “Why You Never Finish Your To Do Lists at Work (And How to Change That)” (http://www.forbes.com/sites/dailymuse/2013/02/10/why-you-never-finish-your-to-do-lists-at-work-and-how-to-change-that/). This article talks about how often times people will create to do lists, but never manage to actually complete them within a day due to procrastination and other external/internal factors. There are 5 main tips that you can use into order to increase productivity and plan your day better. Firstly, keep a single to do list for work which you can constantly refer to throughout the day, because the more you scatter your to do items, the harder it will be for you to accomplish everything. Next, you must follow the 1-3-5 rule, which means that on any day, you should only have about 1 big task, 3 medium tasks and 5 small tasks to accomplish, because this is a reasonable amount and is realistic to accomplish within a single day. Thirdly, you should complete atleast one significant task before lunch, and it should be your least favourite one because you will most likely have the most energy before lunch time. Next, you can put your to do list on your calender, so that you are scheduling tasks more than listing them so that there is a certain time to accomplish each task. Lastly, you should reduce meetings to increase productive time because some unnecessary meetings just take away from your time which can be put to better use in terms of planning your day. I feel that this relates to our BOH course because it relates to the planning unit and what we are working on in class right now, which involves better time management and work ethic, since creating and effectively using to do lists is a good way to plan your work day, and also relates directly to effective leadership.

The topic that this relates to is “Planning and Controlling – Planning Tools and Techniques – explain the use of effective short-term planning tools and strategies (e.g., policies, operational plans, planning approaches).

Feb 17-23 – Writing a Business Plan? 4 Common Mistakes to Avoid

This article is called “Writing a Business Plan? 4 Common Mistakes to Avoid” (http://www.forbes.com/sites/dailymuse/2013/02/14/writing-a-business-plan-4-common-mistakes-to-avoid/) and talks about the correct procedure and tips to follow while writing your own business plan (for executives or entrepreneurs). The article expands on 4 common mistakes made and the appropriate ways to correct them. Firstly, many people think that they dont need a business plan, but this just leads to a lack of organization in the future, also meaning that there will be less productivity in the future on your part and on the part of employees. Secondly, too many people “speak in features” on their business plan, which means that they spend too much time listing off features about their end product or service but dont actually talk about the plan to get to the sale of the end product, therefore the actually operations of the company become disorganized and lead to less effectiveness. Next, many write their business plan ” in a vacuum”, meaning that they only focus on their business when considering their plan; since it is hard to predict the future of a business, it is important to look at other business and observe what went right or wrong with them so that you can apply it to your own business for a more successful future for your own  business, rather than only looking at your own business. Lastly, many people only look into the near future, which results in less organized results in the long run and overall poorer quality control in the business because only the near future has been considered without all the factors taken into consideration. I agree with this article because it brings up many valid points about common mistakes which might get made and shows effective ways to correct these mistakes before they occur. This relates to our BOH course because its similar to the planning unit, specifically under “Planning and Controlling – The importance of planning to the organization” because it also discusses how important it is to have a business plan. 

Feb11-15th – Relax, You’ll Be More Productive

This article is called “Relax! You’ll Be More Productive” (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/10/opinion/sunday/relax-youll-be-more-productive.html?ref=todayspaper&_r=4&) and focuses on the importance of relaxation. This article talks about how fast paced our lives are and  how it affects the overall quality of our lives. How working extra hours, balancing a social life and trying to achieve your life goals can prove to be very challenging and can consume a lot of your time. It talks about how firstly, napping has the ability to help relieve some of this stress because it relaxes your mind and allows you to be more productive when you wake up. Vacations are also effective because they allow you to take a break for a prolonged period of time. Lastly, working out helps you relax because it helps relieve stress overtime. This can be found in our course content under “Stress and Conflict Management”, specifically under identifying different techniques to help relieve stress.  I think that this relates to our BOH course because it mentions stress management, and the methods discussed in the article (ex working out) are similar to the ones we discussed in class after doing our stress presentations. I can personally relate to this article because I completely agree that relaxation is needed in order for us to work most effectively. I also agree that relaxation techniques such as taking a vacation or working out do help relieve stress and therefore help us relax and be more productive.