Attitude

Having a good attitude is a quality that is constantly mentioned to underclassmen early and often throughout the Tabor School of Business program. Monitoring your attitude along with its impact on your co-workers and work performance is an imperative step toward achieving your greatest potential in business. In a Huffington Post article about attitude for business success, Alex Pirouz compared controlling your attitude in a business climate like being on a rollercoaster ride, it has plenty of ups and downs. “The power of choice is something we all have control of and it us up to us to use positive reinforcement to our advantage in a business climate (Pirouz).” Attitude can dramatically shift the way a business operates. Maintaining a positive attitude will be infectious to employees, thus having an effect on the customers and maximizing your own business performance. Success can be a driving factor to owning a business. It goes deeper than materialistic achievements; essentially, it should be about delivering the quality and values of the business through your positive attitude and actions.

Understanding how to control individual attitude is a constant journey and adding team members can sometimes make it difficult. Mixing attitude with team dynamics is exactly what underclassmen in Tabor School of Business are being challenged with. In the class BU 111 Team Dynamics, we are taught how to function in a team setting for a team project. In Team Dynamics you work on team building projects and personal reflections. The team building projects display how you work on a team, while the personal reflections give you a way to step back and see how you act under stressful circumstances. The result of Team Dynamics is not only a better understanding of how to work within a team but how you perceive yourself in a team environment.

BU 111 is taken simultaneously with BU 100 Business Creation, a class where you learn all of the various functions of a business, like marketing and finance, and it allows you to use the skills being learned in the Team Dynamics class.
During BU 100, you are randomly paired into teams and tasked to put together a business plan. Most teams are compiled with people from different majors, backgrounds, and genders so it can be difficult at times to keep a positive attitude when things get tough. In BU 111, students specifically work on this common problem by building up their team’s morale. We do this by completing assessments and team building challenges over the course of a few weeks. One team building challenge example would be keeping a positive attitude during the marshmallow challenge.

This is a common exercise to test a team’s communication and leadership skills. Each team is given uncooked spaghetti noodles, a small piece of rope, and a roll of tape to try and elevate the marshmallow to the highest height out of all the other teams. The biggest challenge is keeping a good attitude when your attempts to get the marshmallow to stay on top fall short of being successful, but it can also be difficult to work as a team when multiple people have different strategies. This is a great exercise to work on and improve skills that can later be applied in the workplace.

Taking both BU 111 Team Dynamics and BU 100 Business Creation starts the development of a business professional. These classes show you how you should correctly apply all business facets to a real business. You learn how to function as a group under very stressful situations, you learn how to adapt to changing business scenarios, and you learn how to succeed in an ever-changing business world.

As a business student, we are grateful for the end result after taking the combination of these two courses. Both are great introductions to assignments you will work on over the next four years, specifically teaching you how to work in teams efficiently and effectively. Your attitude can determine the results of these types of projects, so staying focused on the main goal and having a great attitude can make any team succeed.

 

Pirouz, Alex. “The Importance of Attitude for Business Success.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 10 Aug. 2015. Web. 23 Apr. 2017. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alex-pirouz/the-importance-of-attitude-for-business-success_b_7958636.html>.

Personality

Personality can be defined as the combination of characteristics or qualities that form an individual’s distinctive character.  When it comes to personality, Tabor does a great job working with each student to find what personality type each student is. Tabor school of business then informs all student how to work with different personality types and be as productive as possible.  In the Tabor school of business each student will work in multiple different groups, whether it is business creation, group presentation, consumer behavior, and so on.  Tabor also gives each student the ability to express them self, and show their creativity in a very friendly environment to be the student they want to be. Knowing how each personality works allows the student to work with each other productively. Tabor also does a lot of consumer engagement.  A good example of allowing each student to express them self and understand others personality is apart of the personal selling course with Alan Duesterhaus.

In this course we learned that there are 16 different types of personalities in four main categories. With in the analysts category you have personality types INTJ “architect”, INTP “logician”, ENTJ “commander”, and ENTP “debater”. The second category is diplomats types INFJ “advocate”, INFP “mediator”, ENFJ “protagonist”, and ENFP “campaigner”. The third category, sentinels consists of personality types such as ISTJ “logistician”, ISFJ “defender”, ESTJ “executive”, and ESFJ “consul”. The last category are the explorers and are made up of personality types ISTP “virtuoso”, ISFP “adventurer”, ESTP “entrepreneur”, and ESFP “entertainer”.

So after learning the different personality types you are given an assignment to research and figure out a product to pitch and sell to prof. Duesterhaus.  So throughout the semester by asking him questions getting to know him and his family you could fin their different personality types. Once you have narrowed it down you can figure out what their interest are.  For example, prof. Duesterhaus is a ENTP “debater” personality type.  So when giving your pitch you want to be personable and be on top of your information about your product.

Throughout this course you are also asked to work in different groups. Tabor strives to put different personalities in the same group so their students learn how to work with different types of people. This way when the student gets into the work force they are able to work with any type of person, because they have been exposed through different group projects.

Overall, courses like personal selling expose students to different personalities. Tabor understands the importance of personality, and how it affects group work and consumer engagement. Tabor pushes their students to step out side their comfort zone and work with other individuals to expand their knowledge of personalities.

 

photo from: https://www.16personalities.com/

Motivation

Motivation, according to Merriam-Webster dictionary, is the process of giving someone a reason to do something. In other words, it is the desire to do things. Motivation can be both difficult and easy for individuals.  It is easy to stay motivated if one is interested in the task. However, if the task does not seem interesting to another, being motivated may become a struggle. Remaining interested is an important characteristic to have in order to set and conquer goals. Without being motivated in the work at hand there is no way it will get done efficiently. If you are ever feeling unmotivated just think about the process of getting there, the positive outcomes, and the benefits of the end goal. Within the Tabor School of Business, it is important for students to stay motivated not only in their class work, but also in the performance learning projects they are involved with.

On April 3rd of 2017, four Millikin students created a week long pop-up shop in downtown Decatur called Blue Brew Coffee. The goal of the pop-up shop was to see if the downtown Decatur market would support a coffee shop. Throughout the week the students saw ample support from Decatur residents as well as folks from the Millikin community. After the week was finished the students along with Julie Shields, Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship, focused on making the shop permanent. Their intent is to turn the shop into a performance learning class and student run venture. Hopefully, Blue Brew Coffee shop will be up and running by Fall of 2017. Morrison, Lisa. “Meet Julie Shields, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at Millikin University.” Herald-Review.com. Herald & Review, 08 Feb. 2016. Web. 25 Apr. 2017.

Millikin has been an avid believer and promoter of performance learning. They do so by getting students involved in businesses and student run ventures. Blue Brew Coffee would become a perfect outlet to allow students to use what they have learned in the classroom and apply it to real world situations. By giving students the ability to run a business venture, it motivates the students to become more involved and apply what they learn outside of the classroom. Millikin hopes that these student run ventures also motivate students to be entrepreneurs and create their own businesses.

Sustaining motivation can be tough even under the most ideal circumstances. So how can you stay motivated when your to-do list reaches four pages and it seems like the world is pressed against you? In order for you to stay motivated you must set goals for yourself. Having active visualizations of your schedule down to the minute details can be greatly beneficial when trying to find motivation. You must see it to feel it. Now that you have goals, create a list of the reasons you want to accomplish this goal. In the world today, it is easy to get off course in a hurry. Writing down your motives towards doing something can keep you grounded. Not being motivated is going to happen, but you can limit that by having a plan for when your motivation is lacking. Some people might think that this is a defeatist mentality, but it is contrary to that. It is inevitable a lack of motivation is going to set in, whether that is from sheer exhaustion or temporary set backs. When it does set in you are going to want to have a plan to boost your motivation. Maintaining yourself motivation is a universal struggle. When this happens it is okay to reward yourself occasionally to keep your motivation reserves topped off.

 

Avenue, N. (2013, July 19). How To Stay Motivated And Accomplish Anything. Retrieved April 11, 2017, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2013/07/19/how-to-stay-motivated-and-accomplish-anything/2/:

Memory and Learning (Edited)

Memory, can be defined as the psychological process by which knowledge is recorded and stored. When it comes to memorization, one of the greatest practices of that one can learn at Tabor is using your memory to put forward, strong, and concise presentations. Millikin’s business students are encouraged to present on topics they not only fully comprehend the material, but be able to produce that material from their memory. Whether it be a self presentation in an informal setting, like an elevator speech, or a ten to twenty-minute slide show. Tabor strives for students to become the best representatives of themselves and hopefully one-day future employers. Students also practice structuring the content and the visuals of their presentations to create a clean and eligible display of their hard work. A perfect example of a course that puts these concepts to practice at Millikin is CO 242, or better known as Business and Professional Communications.

Business and Professional Communications is a class currently taught by Professor Candice Baker. Prof. Baker mainly spends her time in the communications department teaching various courses, but she, along with the university, have developed a course that not only fulfills the requirements of a public speaking course, but is perfectly tailored to Tabor students to be given a better understanding as to what the standards of presenting in the business world could be.

Throughout the entirety of the course, Prof. Baker works to make sure each individual student is aware of all of the different scenarios possibly seen as ‘professional communication’. One of the first lessons and one of the most vital ones that students learn is how to properly give a brief introduction of yourself, or what most call an elevator speech. Students will quickly be able to identify what is important in what they are saying and what is not. We occasionally identify that talking in large quantities is seen as intellectual but, it’s not always the most beneficial.

As the semester went along we begin to present more and more often varying between speaking in groups on a topic that gives students the opportunity to create, collaborate, and work with others but, also confidently give a presentation. By doing this, students are given many opportunities to present and really put performance learning into practice. Though one of the most beneficial skills you can gain from this course is being able to utilize your memory to have stronger presentation. Business and Professional Communications tests students to see if they can present on topics that they understand and are comfortable enough to work from memory. Proving that if you know your presentation and your product well enough from memory, you should almost always present successfully.

Overall, classes like CO 242 are such a great opportunity that Tabor students get to partake in. It not only tests our memory, it also provides standards as to how well students should know and understand the material they are presenting, along with provides a perfect representation of performance learning and the idea that practice makes perfect.

Perception

Perception can stem from personal experience and shape a person’s view of the world.  It is a constantly evolving phenomena in everyday life.  As it pertains to international business, the perception of culture plays a big role.  Millikin strives to give its students experience in dealing with the different cultures in order to help shape their perception.  The cornerstone class in the curriculum for Tabor in regards to this is BU 330.

BU 330, better known as International Business, is one of the most discussed courses at Tabor. Throughout this course, students work through the semester in small groups to create an international business plan. During the creation of the plan, students research many topics that are discussed in lectures. Some topics include culture, startup strategies, international currencies, and more. Presentations are given to a panel of judges consisting of business executives, presidents of banks, and other experienced business people. The panel provides feedback from their own personal experiences and perspectives in the international business world to help further the learning experience of making an international business plan.

Traveling to another country is completely different than conducting business internationally. This is something that students soon figure out when lectures begin. There are certain things that you learn through the lectures that are crucial to being successful in international business, such as greeting and conversing with people in a business setting. A business deal in South America may be completely different then a deal in China. It is imperative to have an understanding of the world around you especially when doing business in an international setting. Understanding how different cultures work and conduct business is impossible without a change in one’s perspective of the world. Students learn the importance of this change in perspective as it gives them insights on how to conduct themselves when interacting with others around the world.

For this course, understanding different cultures is only half the battle. Once you have learned the material, the next step is to actually implement the knowledge into a customized business plan. Of course, one of the biggest steps in the process to making the plan is choosing a country in which to set up a business.  Once a country is selected, extensive research has to be done in order to make the plan successful. It’s one thing to sit down and hear stories from somebody, such as Dr. Munoz, through his lectures.  But it is another to start from scratch and have to basically create your own perspective without actually being in the country setting up the business. That, arguably, is the most difficult part of the project, but at the same time, that is where the performance learning takes place.

This is not a project that can be put off until last minute. It takes many hours each week of researching and planning on top of working in a group. Time management skills and group skills quickly come into play when an 80-page business plan is the final product. Delegation is another skill that students interact with, as there are many different topics that are covered within the plan. It is one thing to listen to a lecture on how to delegate, but is another when you have to actually have to do it within a group of people.

All in all, perception together with performance learning plays an important role in helping students grow and widen their perspective on a topic such as international business. These skills stay with students throughout the rest of their time at Millikin, as well as throughout the rest of their career that they otherwise would not have without this type of learning environment.  

Our brag space is open!

Tabor students fly to Denmark to participate in Innovation in Teams

This site has been created for Tabor students to showcase and showoff the Performance Learning their efforts.  Beginning in April, the students of MK308 Consumer Behavior and Analytics will be publishing posts that tie in the topics of MK308 to their favorite Performance Learning projects.  Additionally, as a class, they’ll be promoting, and analyzing posts in order to apply their newly acquired Google Analytics skills and knowledge.