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Flipping the page… Ending this Chapter

Namaste Beautiful People,

The time has come for me to bid you farewell… to write my last blog post for my organizational Communication class. I want to use this opportunity to reflect on the many lessons that this class has taught me.

The journey has been rough, as a matter of fact, I have no motivation to continue with this particular degree but I have one more year so I might as well… I’m not sure… not sure about anything… but anyway, back to the matter at hand… what has org. comm. taught me? 

1. Relationships is at the heart of communication. When my lecturer first mentioned this at the beginning of the semester it made sense but when I saw it manifested in the recent hall elections… I was like “waaaaawwww”. The pieces of the puzzle fit together perfectly. There were two candidates vying for the position of hall chairperson. One was charismatic, fairly popular, handsome, a great speaker and had sufficient funds to print fancy fliers and even promised to set up and donate 2 million dollars to a health fund. The other candidate was none of these things, his posters were far from impressive and neither was his performance at the hall debates but he was approachable, kind hearted and during orientation he was nice to the freshers who came on hall… needless to say, despite the absence of the fanfare and all that superficial crap… he won and did so by a large margin. He built relationships and they worked for him. It’s not about the fluff people… quality is what matters.

2. All organizations need to be mindful of their reputations… what their publics (both internal and external) think about them. Pay attention to your image and your relationships. When I think of the whole concept of managing a company’s reputation, my mind immediately goes back to the tylenol case in the late 80’s where capsules were tampered with and led to the death of 7 consumers. Tylenol acted immediately and though they lost millions of dollars, they put their customers first by recalling all of that particular product and even introducing a “caplets” to the market. Reputation. 

3. We live in an era that is characterized by the use of technology. Right now I’m typing up this post on my laptop, wondering who is ping-ing me on my black berry, thinking about picking my dad up on his offer to get me the new Ipad for my birthday and watching my flatmate read the manual to her Beatz by Dr. Dre headphone and skype with her boyfriend… technology. But, how do we find a balance between technology and morality? technology and our values and morals? How do we keep the lexus and the olive tree? This course has reiterated the point that we can’t escape technological advancement but we must remember from whence we came and be grounded these lessons. Technology is amoral… how we use it makes all the difference.

4. PR Practitioner and future Comm. Consultants! Learn to protect your ideas and your reputation. How? Draft a communication counsel that clearly outlines the advice you’ve suggested and whether or not your employee accepted it. Lawyers do it all the time!

5. Avoid Cognitive Dissonance at all costs

6. Reciprocity is the Key

7. Networking isn’t a waste of time… you never know who you might need in the future.

8. Audits are important. Know where you stand.

9. Pay attention to non verbal communication… trust me, it counts

10. Don’t take life too seriously… live a little.

COMM 2926 was fun… Learning took place.

Peace and blessings from my heart to yours

One Perfect Love

Namaste

Janelle 

Going through the motions… according to some guy named Tuckman

Hey Earthlings!

This semester we’ve had a lot of group work. No really.. it’s ridiculous! I would much rather get my projects done independently but apparently CARIMAC believes that since we’re going to be in the media industry and we’re going to have to work in teams… we might as well start now. Sigh*

Though I have a preference for individual work, I can’t help but admit that working in groups well more so working as a part of a team, is extremely important for any organization (be it a group, school, company, business) to function efficiently and effectively. 

With that said, in 1965 Bruce Tuckman developed a 4 stage model for group development…

let’s get to it…

1. Forming

The name pretty much says it all… in the first step the group literally “forms”…

It’s the “getting to know you” part of the process; everybody is pleasant, there is very little conflict… if any at all; it a comfortable place to be. Being a part of so many group projects, I can tell you that this phase is the calm before the storm… pun intended. You find out a little about the background of the people you’d eventually be working with, you build trust, loyalty and  on a very superficial level you discuss the project. Oh, I notice that in this stage a group leader usually emerges. He/she may not be OFFICIALLY appointed but a dominant personality or a few of these personalities surface.

2. Storming- I think there are 2 reasons why Tuckman entitled this stage “storming”. Not only do we find BrainSTORMING here but a literal STORM too!

It’s where the most conflict occurs. Group members tend to butt heads, personalities and ideas clash… whilst there is a struggle for power and authority, I think that the main is that of acceptance. Not only acceptance of people and positions but more importantly, acceptance of ideas… ideas and strategies regarding how the group’s goals and objectives should be accomplished. Even before this though, is acceptance of a common goal! the group must agree on what they are working towards and who exactly will be leading them and in what capacity. 

Others may disagree but I think that this is a critical part of “going through the motions”… with conflict come CREATIVITY :) and it is here you start to learn to work together… the synergy that the group needs to accomplish the goal begins to sprout. It should be noted though that many groups do not go beyond this stage. If leadership isn’t strong then conflict could lead to more confusion than creativity which could result in lack of motivation and low morale. This stage is the make or break stage… it’s either you have it or you don’t.

3. Norming- Just as the name says… things start to get … well.. normal! The people in the group start working together more effectively and naturally.

They have agreed on the goals and objectives, the strategies and tactics that will be used to accomplish them, the way in which the labour would be divided (based on strengths of course) and any issues/conflicts are resolved in a more efficient manner. 

4. Performing- This is the “AUM” moment. Members understand how their role and function serves to form part of a bigger picture… it’s when everything starts to make sense… the group starts ,well, performing… moving as one unit, in sync with each other.  It’s like a choir… there are lots of great soloists but when its time to serve up the platter you hear one voice… ONE VOICE! reminds me of that movie drumline with nick cannon and Zoe Saldana… in order for the team/group to function at its prime there must be - One voice, one heart, one soul. 

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Group work may not be my cup of tea but it has taught be a lot when it comes to dealing with people. Working in an organization we need to be tolerant of different personalities, understand that hey! conflict will arise sooo how should it be dealt with? Plus, you know what they say, “two (or three or four) minds are better than one”! 

Working in groups is also a great way to meet new people and *network*.

But, the greatest lesson that I’ve learnt from working in groups is that of sacrifice and the art of listening. Sometimes you think you have a great idea! As a matter of fact a STELLAR idea and you want, by all means possible, to get this idea off the ground … but group work is not all about self… sometimes you have to realize and acknowledge that your idea may not be the best one for the project at hand and put it away for a while WITHOUT being mad or angry at the group. Sacrifice for a greater purpose. 

It has also taught me the art of listening… we all hear but do we really listen? Listen to not only what’s said but what was left unsaid… paying attention to non verbal communication and taking hints/cues. 

With that said, 

May your groups be successful :) 

One Perfect Love

Namaste

Janelle

C’mon baby, Let’s structure this Organization!

In case you couldn’t take a hint, I love, Love, LOVE, LOVEEEE coming up with titles for my blog posts! In this post I want to talk a bit about Organization structure. I mean, we hear about it all the time but what REALLY are they talking about?

Let me shed some light on the issue, k?

Organization structure refers to the pathway or route through which messages flow from one individual to another. In a nutshell, Who communicates with whom?

There are two types of Org. structures:

1. The formal structure - this one is the officially designated channel… we see it through the org. chart.

2. the informal structure or the grapevince. ps- this is unofficial

Remember the audit that I spoke about in an earlier post? Well my group was supposed to do the radio station on campus but that fell through. However, if we were to do that audit we’d want to know stuff like:

Is communication Top-down, Bottom up or horizontal?

We’d look at how the programmes are planned… is it done by top management or does the team sit down and use a collaborative effort to plan the programmes? Or do the programme hosts tell top management what they’d like to address?

Not only this, I may have mentioned this before, Communication is about relationships, in an organization, what kind of relationship exists between management and staff?

Is there an open door policy?

Does management take into consideration suggestions made by the staff?

This isn’t only telling us about the org. structure but sheds light on the org. culture as well!

What about the grapevine?

If there is a special guest coming into the radio station, how do the employees find out? Is it from management or from the receptionist who overheard a telephone conversation?

If there is a change in management, how do they find out? via an official letter or from the cleaning staff?

Plus, what does management think about the grapevine?

Many managers shun the idea of the grapevine because of confidentiality issues but it can be used to their advantage if they want information to be dispersed quickly… just tell the office busy bodies and in no time the entire organization is in the know! 

I just scratched the surface here but if you have any further questions just message me and I’d clarify any grey areas as best as I can.

One Perfect Love

Namaste

Janelle

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