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LEARNING LOG CRITERIA AND EVALUATION FORM

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INDIVIDUAL ASSIGNMENT:

LEARNING LOG CRITERIA AND EVALUATION FORM

Specific experiences teach specific lessons necessary for success.  But it is critical, as T.S. Eliot said, not to “…have the experience, and miss the meaning.”  Managers we studied who went on to become effective executives not only had the experiences but learned lessons from them.  Center for Creative Leadership Studies on Executive Learning

Management research indicates that developing self-awareness has several advantages: personal growth, career development, and an enhanced ability to understand and have empathy with others.  In their studies of managerial and executive derailment, the Center for Creative Leadership found that successful managers:  (1) understand their values, personal styles, and strengths and weaknesses; (2) know the impact of these values, styles, and strengths and weaknesses on their ability to effectively work with others and achieve their goals; and (3) are quick to reflect upon and learn from their own experiences.

Despite these advantages, we often resist opportunities to increase our self-awareness.  We try to protect our self-esteem.  We fear that learning something new about ourselves will be painful or may require us to change our treasured and habitual ways of seeing, thinking, and behaving.  We may think that we already know ourselves well enough.  Or we may not want to take the time out of our busy schedules to engage in self-reflection — like the busy woodcutter who never takes the time to sharpen the saw and eventually loses the ability to cut wood.  In short, developing a willingness and ability to engage in self-reflection, is a critical leadership skill that is not easily learned yet reaps many rewards.

Keeping a learning log is a structured way to develop this skill.  This log is a confidential, written record of your personal development through the class.  The first log should be no more than 8 pages, and each entry should be no more than 3-4 double spaced pages.  The last entry, your comprehensive action plan for change, should be no more than 6 pages.  Your learning log is a confidential document.  Only I will read it.  The following criteria will be used to evaluate your learning log.  

  • • Completion of assignment: You submit the log on time, answer specific questions when asked to do so, and have complete entries for each assignment.  All papers must be submitted on time or they will be considered late and at least 5 points will be deducted from your gradeThe number of points deducted for late papers will be determined based on how late the paper is turned in.  If there are special circumstances, please discuss these with the instructor.
  • • Self-reflection: You demonstrate a willingness and ability to engage in self-reflection.  You provide examples from your own experience.  You show an understanding of the consequences of your values, attitudes, style, behavior, etc. on yourself, others, and the organization.
  • • Conceptual understanding: You demonstrate a thoughtful understanding of conceptual materials from class and integrate them, as relevant, into your log.
  • • Application: You demonstrate a willingness and ability to take steps toward personal change.  You discuss in depth possible plans for action.
  • • Written composition: The learning log is professionally presented: well-organized and well written (including spelling, grammar, reasonable paragraph length, double-spaced, 12 point font,  pages numbered, no less than 1 inch margins, stapling pages together, and staying within page limits).

LEARNING LOG QUESTIONS: SET 1

Note: Please answer all questions from the following pages for your first set of learning logs.  Each question should be answered in 3-4 pages.  Total pages submitted for this first set of learning logs is 6 – 8  double-spaced pages, stapled together, 12 point font, no less than 1 inch margins.

Question 1:  Self-Awareness Assessments

Purpose:  To reflect on how your personal styles influence your interpersonal relationships, particularly at work.

Task:  Based on the proactive personality scale, learning goal assessment, self-monitoring assessment, and Learning Style Inventory (LSI) assessment: 

  1. 1. Summarize the results of each assessment in your learning log.
  2. 2. Share your results, insights and conclusions with someone you trust and respect.  Ask them for their reactions and comments.
  3. 3. Discuss in the log:
    1. • Who you spoke with and his/her feedback.
    1. • How your perceptions of yourself are similar and different from that of the person with whom you discussed your assessments.  
    1. • What you learned about yourself, especially how your style may affect your professional effectiveness, career success, and general well-being.  
    1. • Given this information, what are the three most important changes you will make to enhance your effectiveness, career success, and/or well-being?
    1. • Make sure that you clearly integrate the comments from the person you discussed this with into your learning log (e.g., identify what he or she said compared to what you said).

Question 2: Life-Line*

Purpose:  To reflect on the influence of your past life experience on your present and future.  This exercise is based on the assumptions that our past experiences influence the ways that we currently see the world and behave – for better and worse. 

Task:  Complete the life-line on the attached page (or adapt it to your needs).  This can be an addendum to your paper and doesn’t count in the 3-5 page limit for your log.

1.  Identify:

  • • Main stages
  • • Critical events
  • • Key learnings

2. Discuss the influence of your life line on:

  • • Your professional choices (preferences, hopes, fears, etc.)
  • • Your managerial style and its potential strengths and weaknesses (current and/or predicted)

Life-Line: Critical Stages, Events, and Learnings

Birth——————————————————————————————————–Today

Main

stages

Critical

events

Key learnings

Question 3: A Brand Called You

Purpose:  To give you an opportunity to reflect on how you develop and market the “brand called you.” Management guru Tom Peters argues, “Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding.  We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc.  To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called you. (Fast Company).  

Task:  Answer the following questions:

  1. 1. In fifteen words or less, what do you do that makes you special, unique, and worth hiring/promoting?  
  2. 2. Support your fifteen word statement with the following data:
    1. • What do I do that I’m most proud of?
    1. • What do I do that adds remarkable, measurable, distinguished, distinctive value?  If possible, focus on “measurable” value.
    1. • What do my colleagues and customers say is my greatest and clearest strength and my most noteworthy personal characteristic?
    1. • What have I done lately – this week or month – that added value to the organization and was noticed by others?
    1. • In what ways is what I do difficult to imitate?
  3. 3. What do you have to do to create and market your personal brand?

Question 4: Trust

Purpose:  To reflect on the importance of trust at work.

Task:  

  1. 1. Think of a person that you trust completely and discuss why you trust this person, as well the implications of this person’s trustworthiness on your effectiveness and the effectiveness of the organization.
  2. 2. Think of a person that you distrust and discuss why you distrust this person, as well as the implications of this person’s non-trustworthiness on your effectiveness and the effectiveness of the organization.
  3. 3. Summarize the 3 most important lessons about trust that you learned from doing this exercise.
  4. 4. Identify 3 things that you can do immediately to increase your work colleagues’ trust in you.

Question 5: Multiple Selves

Purpose:  To reflect on your multiple selves and how they contribute to your effectiveness, career success, and personal well-being.

Task:  Think about your different “selves” – who you are in different situations.  Discuss:

  1. 1. Each of these “selves”
  2. 2. The purpose each of these selves serves
  3. 3. The benefits and costs of having multiple selves to your effectiveness, career success, and well-being.

Question 6: Active Listening

Purpose: To reflect on the value of active listening and the consequences of not listening actively.

Task:  Think about a time when you did not feel as though you were listened to — that is, heard, understood on your own terms, and respected for what you said.

  1. 1. Describe what happened: the context, the people involved, and the behaviors.
  2. 2. Describe how you felt.  
  3. 3. Describe the consequences for you, others, and (if it was a work setting) the organization.
  4. 4. Consider how you may have contributed to the communication problem and how you could have helped improve the communication process.
  5. 5. Describe the lessons you learned from this experience and how you can apply these lessons to your relationships at work, particularly in your role as a manager/leader.

Question 7: The Developed World as a Foreign Culture

Purpose: To have an opportunity to think through and articulate the ways in which the Developed World culture differs from your own and the impact these differences have on your effectiveness, success, and well-being.

Task:  Please write an essay that describes:

  1. 1. How developed world culture differs from your own.
  2. 2. How you react to these differences.
  3. 3. How you think others may perceive you and react to you (and why)
  4. 4. How your culture may affect your effectiveness, success, and well-being in the developed world
  5. 5. Given the cultural differences, what you can do to become more effective.

Question 8: Understanding and Managing Your Own Identity Groups

Purpose:  To reflect on how your culture influences your relationships with others.

Task: 

  1. 1. Identify a cultural group (e.g., gender, race, nationality, religion, profession, education, etc.) with which you strongly identify (e.g. a group that you know you are a member of and see this group as important to your identity).
    1. • Describe how your membership in this group influences how you see, think, and interact with others.
    1. • Describe how you think it influences how others see and interact with you (e.g., assumptions and behaviors).  
    1. • Do you have to “manage” this group membership on the job in any way?  If so, how (e.g., in what settings, with whom, and how does it make you feel)?  If not, why not?
  2.  
  3. 2. Identify a cultural group membership that you take for granted (e.g., you usually don’t have to think about how this group membership affects your life).
    1. • Describe how your membership in this group influences how you see, think, and interact with others.
    1. • Describe how you think it influences how others see and interact with you (e.g., assumptions and behaviors).  
    1. • Do you have to “manage” this group membership on the job in any way?  If so, how (e.g., in what settings, with whom, and how does it make you feel)?  If not, why not?

Question 9: Learning from Your Boss

Purpose:  To reflect on what you have learned from past or current bosses.  

Task:  Answer the following questions:

  1. 1. Think about your best boss (or someone who has had authority over you). Describe the lessons about management/leadership that you learned from him or her.  Describe how these lessons can make you a better manager/leader.
  2. 2. Think about your worst boss (or someone who has had authority over you).  Describe the lessons about management/leadership that you learned from him or her.  Consider how you could have contributed to the problem and how you could have managed the relationship better.  Describe how these lessons can make you a better manager. 

Question 10: Building Social Capital (Your Network of Relationships)

Purpose: We all depend on people and can’t get our work accomplished without them.  Not surprisingly, many studies show that successful managers have an ability to build dependable long-term relationships — at all levels of the hierarchy, both inside and outside the organization.  Conversely, those who derail tend to treat others poorly and miss opportunities to build relationships.  This entry gives you an opportunity to think about your own strengths and weaknesses in building a more effective network of relationships.

Task:  Review your completed Networking Assessment (“How Skilled Are You at Networking?”)

  1. 1. Discuss your networking strengths and weaknesses, as well as their impact on your work effectiveness and personal well-being. 
  2. 2. Discuss at least 3 changes you will make to develop a more effective network.

LEARNING LOG QUESTION: SET 2

Comprehensive Action Plan for Change

Note: This entry must be completed as your second learning log assignment.  This entry should be 6 double-spaced pages, 12 point font, no less than 1 inch margins.  

Managers who continued to be effective added new patterns of management behavior; others who derailed often had the same experiences but missed the meaning.  The derailed manager either relied too heavily on successful habits or exhibited flaws, which acted as blocks to their learning.  The essence of learning, then, is in overcoming comfortable habits and personal quirks and making transitions to new ways of behaving. (Preventing Derailment: What To Do Before It’s Too Late)

Purpose:  Enhancing your effectiveness, career success, and well-being requires (1) knowing what it takes to stay on track; (2) being aware of your own strengths and weaknesses; and, most of all, (3) being willing to find new and more effective ways of thinking and behaving.  This entry is designed to give you an opportunity to create a personalized development plan for your professional and personal success.

Task: Create an action plan for enhancing your effectiveness, career success, and well-being based on what you’ve learned in this course through self-assessments, self-reflection, readings, discussions, activities, and films:

  1. 1. In one paragraph or less, describe your definition of success in terms of professional effectiveness, career success, and life in general. 
  • 2. Meet with someone who knows you well and will give you honest feedback.  Discuss with this person:
  • • What you believe are your three most important strengths and three most important weaknesses, as well as how they may influence your effectiveness, career success, and well-being.
  • • What they believe are your three most important strengths and three most important weaknesses are, as well as how these may influence your effectiveness, career success, and well-being.
  • • What steps you can take to enhance your effectiveness, career success, and well-being.

2.   In your learning log:

  • • Thoughtfully discuss what you learned from this discussion and your personal assessment.  Specifically discuss the person with whom you discussed your profile (you don’t need to mention the person’s name), his or her feedback, and what you conclude are your three most important strengths and weaknesses and how they influence your professional and personal success in life.
  • • Create a detailed personal developmental plan that will help you achieve the success that you described in question 1.  Specifically address at least 3 things you’ll need to do and how you will do them.

TEAM PROJECT:

Presentation of Skill Training Modules

Each team will have fifteen minutes to present their skill-training module and distribute their three-page handout to participants.  Each team will also have 5 minutes to respond to comments and questions.  There will be a five-minute break between sessions.

SKILL TRAINING MODULE

Your assignment is to develop and present a training module that will enhance class members’ effectiveness on the job, career potential, and/or general well-being (as related to work/life).   This project involves selecting a topic, developing a 20-minute training module (this 20 minute session includesa 5 minute question and answer period), creating a 3-page handout for class participants (with all the names of your team members listed somewhere on the handout), and presenting the session.  You can use no more than 5 PowerPoint slides if you choose to use them.  A Power Point computer presentation  set up will be available for your presentation in case you choose to use them.  Please let me know if you have any other set-up needs.

The handout and/or website should be professional-quality.  It should tell readers why your topic is important (it should say so in an engaging way) and it should provide specific techniques for developing the skill. All sources you use to develop your module must be cited.  If you do a handout, please make enough copies of your handout to distribute to all class participants during your presentation.  Be sure to give a copy to the instructor.  

How do you select a topic?  A good place to start is to think about a skill that you would like to develop.  Learn it.  Then think about a creative and memorable way to teach it to the class.  Remember that the most successful training sessions are useful, intellectually challenging, skill-oriented, and engaging.  I’d be happy to discuss your project with you, so please feel free to set up an appointment with me.  Your attendance at all final presentations is, of course, mandatory.    

Use the form at the end of this document to note your first and second preferences for topics and dates and submit the completed form to me by the end of the second class because I want to make sure that we don’t have duplicate modules.  If two groups want to do the same topic, preference will go to the first team that submits their preferred topic.

Evaluation:  Your team project will be evaluated as follows: 

  • • Quality of content (15 points): Importance of topic emphasized, relevant research presented (if appropriate), and useful skills described.
  • • Quality of presentation (15 points): Well-organized and engaging.
  • • Quality of hand-out (10 points): Useful and professionally organized.  

Checklist for Designing a Successful Skill Training Module

  • • Provide the class participants with some new “Ahas” – (for example, things class participants worry about, they hadn’t thought about before, that we hadn’t covered in class, and that are memorable).  
  • • Be enthusiastic about your topic.  Your presentation should have thoughtful content and be enthusiastically presented.  I recommend that you prepare well in advance and then enjoy presenting what you’ve learned to the class.  
  • • Plan to have participants learn at least one new technique they can use immediately.
  • • Be sure your presentation has a compelling introduction, engaging and creative body, and memorable ending.  
  • • If you use videos, assessments, role plays, etc., remember to set them up thoughtfully and debrief them systematically.  A common mistake students make is to include a very engaging activity, but then they expect it to be self-explanatory and don’t link it back to the content in a systematic way.  Consequently, it ends up being a fun activity, but class participants don’t understand how it adds value.  
  • • Be sure your presentation is timed to finish within the 15-minute period and be prepared to answer questions and answers in the next 5 minutes.
  • • Be sure your presentation is sensitive to the multicultural environment at the University and diverse and global work organizations (e.g., race, gender, nationality, religion, etc.).  This typically means using both “he and she” throughout the presentation; using names that reflect different genders/cultures as examples (e.g., Chris, Lee, Fran are all gender neutral; use names from many cultures/nations); using visuals that reflect a multicultural professional environment.
  • • Be sure you include all references to materials used in the session (resources, articles, books, magazines, facts, cases, exercises, etc.) in an addendum to the handout so that (1) you give credit to the original sources and (2) anyone can follow up on your ideas if they want to.  The reference section of your hand-out doesn’t count as part of your 3 page limit in your handout.
  • • Use no more than 5 content PowerPoint slides if you use them at all.  You can use more PowerPoint slides if they are part of the background or help you do a skit or other creative activity.  
  • • Be sure to bring back up copies of slides if you are doing a PowerPoint presentation in case the technology fails.  Also have a back up plan if you are using videos and the technology fails.  Technology failures have never happened during these final presentations, but they could.
  • • Be sure to give a copy of your Power Points to instructor along with the handout or web site address.
  • • Be sure to make copies of handouts/transparencies at least two days before the training session to avoid last minute technical difficulties (e.g., printer down).

TO:  Ahmad Salman

RE:  Preferences for Skill Training Module

Preferred Topics:

First choice: ____________________________________________________________

Second choice: __________________________________________________________

You can assume you have your first choice unless you hear from me within the next two days.  

Team members:

Name  E-mail Telephone
(Please list contact person first)    
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

Remember:  Your team project will be evaluated as follows: 

  • • Quality of content (15 points): Importance of topic emphasized, relevant research presented (if appropriate), and useful skills described.
  • • Quality of presentation (15 points): Well-organized and engaging.
  • • Quality of hand-out (10 points): Useful and professionally organized.