All posts by ae03

The predicted end of the world has passed, now what?

Alden Erickson, TMMBA Student, Class 13

According to the Mayan calendar, the world was to have ended two days ago. As we are still here, it is fairly safe to say that their theory was incorrect. This is the latest in a series of reminders for me that our paradigms can be wrong. It took 5,125 years to disprove the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar. Fortunately, feedback in business is more rapid but still we can subscribe to theories for years without knowing if a better way exists. There are of course many ways to challenge one’s paradigms but I would suggest replacing them with new ones through TMMBA.

When I arrived home from immersion week, I was dog tired. My exhaustion was due in part to the intense schedule and late nights reading, but there was more. Over the week I had been exposed to a number of new ideas and my mind was swimming with the possibilities of how to integrate them into my work and life. I thought of the Team Performance Model and how to utilize the concepts of the Intangible Resource Base, Value-Related Processes, and Team Performance Context. I considered viewing my future negotiations through the lenses of Interests, Power, and Relationships. I pondered ethics and Edward Freeman’s Stakeholder Theory for Organizational Management. Yes, I was tired, but I was also happy as I stumbled through the door after a busy immersion week.

I have not fully absorbed these ideas yet. If anything, I have more questions now than when I started. In the next 18 months of the TMMBA program, I expect that countless more theories will be introduced and I welcome every one of them. It will take time to form new paradigms. However, as the end of the world does not appear to be imminent, my fellow classmates and I have time!

Bullish on TMMBA teams

Alden Erickson, TMMBA Student, Class 13

Teams… Whether you love ’em or hate ’em, they are a part of our business life. Given that, how does one transition from merely surviving to thriving in a team? TMMBA students came together as part of immersion week to answer that very question.

Right from the start, we were each assigned to a study team of 4 to 6 people which was formed based on geography, background, and personality type considerations to ensure a broad range of skill sets. After all, what better way to learn than by doing? As a team, we will be responsible for completing a variety of assignments together over the next nine months and, more importantly, helping to get one another through the program. Interestingly, at random, I asked several classmates over the week how they liked their team, and they all responded that their team was terrific! We are off to a great start.

In addition, we attended three half day sessions taught by the incredibly engaging Professor Bigley who is a master of Socratic questioning and draws his classes into lively discussions. Together we reviewed a number of articles exploring the pitfalls of teams, decision making, and how to create high performance teams. For example, we learned about the downside of Groupthink by studying the Bay of Pigs decision-makers. We talked of decision making as a process rather than an event. We were introduced to the idea of inquiry in decision making which generates multiple alternatives and fosters the exchange of ideas. We studied the Army’s high performance OPFOR team which uses after-action reviews to continually learn and thereby regularly bests numerically and technologically superior opponents in training competitions. It was an incredibly packed week and yet it was only the beginning.

Now, we bring these concepts into practice as we go forward and continue to build upon our study teams. My team, the Red Bulls, is off to a great start and I for one am bullish on TMMBA teams.