Business Advice

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The Effects of Social Learning

Published October 14, 2015 by Mayrbear's Lair

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On Monday, our post was focused on why U.S. Citizens observe Columbus Day because for many of us, our views of the historical event have changed. Now, rather than rely on what we were originally taught as school children, we are considering a new perspective because of the information that has emerged due to what many experts call “social learning.” So today our post is focused on the effects of social learning and the role it plays in our own evolutionary process.

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As we continue to acknowledge, the interdependence of the global community is growing exponentially and as a result society is experiencing social and technological change at an accelerated rate. This paradigm shift introduces pressure and challenges based on an individual’s ability to apply discipline and control the direction of their lives. Theorist Albert Bandura (1997) purports self-efficacy plays an influential part in sculpting the parameters of human functionality and the intellectual development that helps shapes an individual’s beliefs, occupational development patterns and the quality of their health and well-being. In his own experiences with overcoming trial and error, Bandura discovered that there is an inherent ability for people to overcome hardship and stress by responding strategically to chance events in order to help build successful lives (Bandura, 1997).

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Individuals can guide their destiny with an optimistic view of efficacy. Bandura’s theories suggest this can help an individual deal with failure, frustration and conflicts that easily derail people who lack a strong sense of self-worth and value. His theories further contend that values, attitudes and styles of behavior are shaped through the power of modeling and observing others (Boswell, 2007). This pattern can be observed in the corporate workplace from individuals that work closely together. When I was employed at Capitol-EMI Industries for example, the administrative staff of corporate executives reflected a demeanor that mirrored their departmental leader. For instance, executives that were more reserved and unapproachable, employed staff that modeled a similar reserved unapproachable disposition. On the other hand, the department heads who were more open, personable and approachable, had staff members that modeled a more playful and welcoming persona. In this instance, the subordinates mirrored the behavior to reflect the energy patterns of the leader from the office to which they served.

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Bandura’s (1991) research also contends there are many stages of moral reasoning. He cites that different types emerge from continuous stage sequences that can alter uniform thinking models (Bandura, 1991).  For instance, punishment based obedience can destroy self-worth and self-efficacy rendering an individual to a belief system whose values are based on negative reinforcement. This conditioning is transferred into the workplace as an individual with a timid personality that is disinclined to voice their opinions for fear of being reprimanded and ridiculed. One strategy to help overcome these tendencies is for the individual to identify and become cognizant of the triggers that activate feelings of low self-esteem and self-worth. This can help the individual take action that can help change their views and motivate them to incorporate positive outcomes. In conclusion, even though the effects of social learning emerge as an extension of operant conditioning, individuals cognizant of the outcomes from negative input, can change the patterns through analysis to respond strategically.

Well …that’s a wrap for today … until next time … keep learning and stay organized!

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Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school. – Albert Einstein

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References:

Bandura, A. (1991). Social cognitive theory of moral thought and action. Handbook of moral behavior and development, 1, pp. 45-103. Hillsdale, NJ, USA: Standford University. Retrieved March 24, 2013, from http://exordio.qfb.umich.mx/archivos%20pdf%20de%20trabajo%20umsnh/aphilosofia/2007/NEUROPSICOLOGIA/BanSCTMoral.pdf

Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy in changing societies. Cambridge, UK : Cambridge University Press.

Boswell, R. (2007, December 6). Belief that people learn by watching earns psychologist top award in field. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada: ProQuest. Retrieved March 25, 2013, from http://search.proquest.com.proxy-library.ashford.edu/docview/241121957/fulltext/13D047E8E8B2A4592FA/1?accountid=32521

The Ethics of Handling Strong Emotions

Published July 28, 2014 by Mayrbear's Lair
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Many of us initially learned how to deal with strong emotions in our home environment. Those who had the most influence were the elders and guardians in roles as disciplinarians. As a result, we learned how to deal with strong emotions from the rules they implemented in addition to observing the actions that revealed their own coping skills when it came to handling strong emotions. To put it another way, when we are young, impressionable, and still learning how to navigate the world around us, caretakers that use yelling and screaming as a strategy, for example, teach children that screaming and yelling is an accepted method for handling strong emotions. However, this strategy rarely yields positive outcomes. In fact, it typically leads to the escalation of unmanageable levels of emotion.

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As we grow and process different life changing events, especially those powerful enough to shift our views, our emotions become heightened. In my ebook, Ethics in the Real World (2013), I discuss this further and explain how some situations can produce positive experiences for us, such as promotions, marriages, and the birth of our children; while other experiences can produce negative outcomes, such as abuse, divorce, natural disasters, and so on (Berry, 2013). When families find themselves in a crisis situation where heightened emotions have reached uncontrollable or unmanageable levels, many will seek out additional support from other avenues that can include the clergy, spiritual communities, schools, or other kinds of family support programs. There are a variety of different support systems that can provide beneficial assistance for helping families. Many of them also provide higher levels of education that include training in practices to help support the development of coping skills.

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Ethics also play a big role in helping us handle emotions. For example, to place awareness on ethics in the decision-making process, it is important that we first identify, then transmit with clarity, what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior. In addition, we must also articulate clearly, a code of ethics and engage in consistent action when implementing consequences for misbehavior and misconduct. This not only sets the standard, these are instrumental strategies for building and supporting an ethical culture.

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Plum Village Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh (2012) asserts that keeping open communication is also an essential component for managing strong emotions. Hanh further explains that there are practices that can be developed to help us handle strong emotions. The key is learning how to perform these practices when we are confident and feeling great, before our emotions are heightened. This is beneficial so that we know how to respond mindfully when we find ourselves in the heat of an emotional turmoil (Hanh, 2012). For instance, during those times when I feel that I am running on a short emotional fuse and am really having difficulty handling strong emotions, coping strategies have become a game changer for me. In other words, once I began incorporating strategies specifically developed to enhance my coping skills, it helped me manage my heightened emotions more effectively which in turn has led to  my feeling more joyful and balanced in my life with fulfilling relationships.

On Wednesday we will take a closer peek at how we can develop and implement our own coping techniques. Until then, stay organized!

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It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity. – Albert Einstein
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References:

Berry, M. A. (2013). Ethics in the Real World. USA: Kindle Direct Publishing.

Hanh, T. N. (2012). Work: How to find joy and meaning in each hour of the day. Berkeley, CA: Parallax Press.

Ethics and the Strategy of Lying

Published July 16, 2014 by Mayrbear's Lair
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A top priority in today’s world is a firm’s ability to recognize and address complicated business ethics issues. This is due to the number of well-publicized incidents of corporations engaging in fraudulent and deceitful behavior.  In their book, Business Ethics (2013) Ferrell et al., revealed that once a firm loses the public’s trust after a highly visible business ethics scandal, it changes the climate and new regulations are implemented to make businesses more accountable (Ferrell, Ferrell, & Fraedrich, 2013). The fact is, we all face ethical decisions as a part of everyday life. This means that we rely on our own personal views of ethical responses as part of the decision-making process. Ethical decisions also influence our work conduct and a company’s management goals. Furthermore, ethics play a role in the development of company policies and helps with setting the parameters of what constitutes informal communications, which tend to reflect the firm’s code of ethics.
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However, when the media exposed that trusted, well-known companies like Countrywide Financial, AIG, and ENRON had engaged in fraudulent and illegal practices, the world realized that they had all done so while hiding behind images of highly ethical conglomerates. In other words, the stark reality was that these firms had incorporated organizational management strategies that supported a culture of lying and deceit and hid it well. This meant that the leaders of these firms were either: (a) unable to make good ethical decisions because they did not subscribe to a construct that many leaders do, which is that mastering ethical reasoning is a component that is just as important in the success of an organization as is mastering accounting, financial, and marketing decisions; or (b) the firm’s tunnel vision focus to achieve their outcomes was more significant than operating with ethical sensibility. Choice (b) is the most common reason why many leaders choose to engage in a strategy of lying. This is because the marketplace is highly competitive and leaders are typically under pressure from the firm’s stockholders to achieve higher profits. For example, when a company is actively promoting and saturating the market with a new brand, they can choose to report what the firm actually sold, or they can engage in a strategy of deception by reporting numbers shipped, but not sold. This is one way a company can make themselves seem more successful than they really are. However, when a firm engages in deceitful strategies, they always risk getting caught and can end up like Countrywide, AIG, and ENRON.
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Many people in leadership positions have dealt with and processed their own experiences of betrayal or being lied to. They can either choose to behave like those who hurt them, or they can become motivated to make different choices. I revealed in my eBook, Ethics in the Real World (2013), that as a result of the conditions of my upbringing and various life experiences, I, like many others, operate with a zero tolerance for lying policy in my both my business and personal life. In today’s highly competitive market place, we have seen, this is not an easy code to subscribe to. Business leaders however, can support this policy by communicating to staff members that they must be willing to work harder as a team to support and cultivate a culture that subscribes to a code of conduct based on everyone’s abilities to identify right and wrong behavior. It is the responsibility of the leaders of an organization to establish an ethical environment. They can do so by applying the golden rule model using compassion and understanding as an integral part of the decision making process. In addition, to help enforce these policies, the organization must be open to operating with transparency and oversight, clearly articulating the consequences for misconduct, poor outcomes, and the use of lying as a strategy. On Friday, we will take a closer look at when lying as a strategy can actually yield successful outcomes. Until then, stay organized!

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Information is not knowledge. – Albert Einstein

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References:

Berry, M. A. (2013). Ethics in the Real World. USA: Kindle Direct Publishing.

Ferrell, L., Ferrell, O., & Fraedrich, J. (2013). Business ethics: Ethical decision making and cases (9th ed.). Mason: South-Western.

 

How Emotional Intelligence Shapes Ethical Perceptions

Published June 4, 2014 by Mayrbear's Lair

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The demand for ethics in leadership is escalating. Yet it still remains low in the corporate arena as evidenced by the downfall of leaders, company scandals like AEI, and more recently General Motors who is battling to save the brand’s tarnished image of negligent behavior by selling autos with known defects.  For one thing, this generation of leaders seem more equipped to navigate, rather than inspire and guide. In my article, Ethics in the Real World (2013), I revealed that the ability to distinguish and administer information from perceptions, stimuli, and emotional cues, are the components that help define a person’s emotional intelligence (EQ). In addition, the EQ of a person plays a key role in the development of their ethical views in both their personal and business relationships (Berry 2013). For example, a person’s cognitive ability, or beliefs and perceptions about any given situation, can have a profound influence on the way they interpret and respond to their environment. It also plays an important role in how they deal with happiness in their lives as well as how they respond to their career experiences. In other words, emotional intelligence plays a role in determining a person’s values by identifying what they deem as acceptable and unacceptable behavior.

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Also, an individual’s attitude and values, can have an affect on their predispositions toward other people, objects, concepts and events. Baack (2012) suggests there are five key elements that reveal a person’s emotional intelligence: (a) self-awareness, (b) self-management, (c) self-motivation, (d) empathy, and (e) social skills (Baack, 2012).

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In the meantime, the ability to manage personal emotions and impulses is a defining component of self-management. This element helps a person solve issues without allowing emotions to govern the thinking and decision making process. An individual, without suitable self-management skills, may experience more challenges, for example, socializing and interacting with others. In short, without a level of self-awareness, they may be unable to pick up on the personal feelings and emotions of others. This makes it difficult for them to get along with others because there is a disconnect when relating to them. All of these are factors that play an important role in the development of a person’s emotional EQ which in turn, helps shape their perceptions of ethical behavior.

On Friday we will look at how self-esteem and self-efficacy play a role in the development of ethical behavior. Until then … stay organized!

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Never do anything against conscience even if the state demands it. – Albert Einstein

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If you are looking to achieve your highest potential in more areas of your life, or want to enhance your leadership skills by learning more about ethics and mindful communication, click on the image below to find out how:

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References:

Baack, D. (2012). Organizational Behavior. San Diego: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.

Berry, M. A. (2013). Ethics in the Real World. USA: Kindle Direct Publishing.

Memorial Day Holiday Special!

Published May 25, 2014 by Mayrbear's Lair

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Our holiday campaign with amazon.com continues with today’s feature:

 The Strategy Behind an External Analysis.

This eBooklet will help explain how external analysis strategies work to detect possible threats and obstacles that prevent individuals from achieving desired goals. It will also reveal how to identify opportunities worth exploring and disclose tactics that others have used to find success achieving their goals with higher outcomes. Whether you are looking to enhance your business, develop more efficient systems as a householder, or seeking more effective methods to perform at higher levels, this booklet has valuable organizational management information that anyone can use to help them reach their highest potential! Get  your complimentary copy today!

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Enjoy the holiday weekend everyone!

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“Put up with it and you will get more of it.” – Lynne Deal

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Organizational Focus and Discipline

Published May 2, 2014 by Mayrbear's Lair

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When a company is disciplined and focused on reaching their goals, they are more likely to achieve higher outcomes and greater performances. For example, during my studies at Ashford University, part of the requirements for the MBA program was a six week course on Financial Analysis. What my research work uncovered from my analysis of the KODAK Company, is that one of the reasons the corporate giant lost their competitive edge and high standing position in their industry, was because of a strategy that was intentionally implemented to focus their outputs on copying products created by their competitors at Polaroid, rather than focusing their research and development on their own innovation and creativity.

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For example, Polaroid became a popular brand after the firm introduced a camera that developed photos in sixty seconds. To maintain their competitive edge, rather than using their talent and energy to develop innovative products, KODAK engaged in a strategy to copy Polaroid’s highly popular product, their Instamatic camera. In other words, KODAK was looking to profit from trying to duplicate Polaroid’s innovative ideas.

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The copycat strategy was meant to help KODAK win back the marketplace. As it turned out, this was an ineffective tactic and consumers looked at it as a highly unfavorable action, especially after Polaroid took KODAK to court and won for patent infringement! Even worse, while KODAK was focused on the copycat strategy that led to the lawsuit, the Japanese Corporation Fuji, came in to dominate the 35 mm film market because KODAK also dropped the ball on their film development division due to ineffective strategic decisions made that were focused on out-maneuvering Polaroid, rather than honing their energies to develop their own unique products.

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In the end, KODAK’s reputation as an innovator was damaged, they were unfavorably perceived as copycats, while Fuji was poised to come in and dominate the marketplace because of their ability to focus and develop their high quality and inexpensive 35 mm film. This was case disclosed an excellent example of how poor strategic management at the KODAK Company caused the once industry giant to lose its competitive edge and how effective strategists at Polaroid and Fuji were able to enter the market to dominate the industry which edged KODAK out of the top spot.

Well, that wraps things up for this week’s look at competition in a business arena. Have a great weekend everyone … and keep organized!

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“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself you have built against it.” — Rumi

Competition and Strategic Management

Published April 25, 2014 by Mayrbear's Lair

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Competition exists and is alive and real in today’s global economy! Every company faces some kind of competition that includes such components as how they set their prices, the quality of the products they produce, or the performance level of services they provide. In fact, many leaders in today’s business arena, claim that at times, it can feel like a fierce battleground.

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In order to maintain a competitive edge, organizations are always looking to improve, find creative solutions, and implement strategic management plans to help them achieve their goals. When operational functions at a firm are not producing successful outcomes, that is a clue that management needs to focus on the strategic planning process and develop systems that will encourage effective team work to help the organization operate more efficiently.

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Companies, on the other hand, that are not concerned about their competitor’s efforts, are more likely to stifle the firm’s capabilities to grow successfully. For example, understanding how a competitor achieves their goals with the systems and functioning processes they implement, can help leaders in key positions effectively determine what changes and adjustments may be required to give them a competitive edge and maintain it.

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For example, the academic institution my child is enrolled in, was a unique new business model that has grown exponentially in the past ten years. As a result of their successes, other similar organizations have entered the marketplace vying for a piece of the action. This year, however, the organization implemented new policies to meet state and federal requirements. As a result, it introduced a new set of challenges for the staff, students, and parents leaving many feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, and stressed. If management is not able to resolve these issues, families can now look into the school’s competitors as a possible solution, and if their operating systems are more effective, the institution is likely to see  a drop in student enrollment.

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Only time will tell how the organization  chooses to manage these issues. In the meantime, parents like myself, who are active participants in their children’s academic lives, will continue to do what we can to work in partnership with the educational institution so that our children can continue to learn and evolve with self-esteem and confidence, rather than conform to a program that is not functioning at full capacity, creating stressful situations, or worse, does not encourage and guide students to reach their full potential.

That’s it for this week. Have a great weekend everyone … and keep organized!

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“Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance.” — Martha Graham