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Part 1. Identify the Client
Step One this week is to identify a client for whom you will act as a consultant. The client can be your own work group or company, a family business you are involved with, a business you worked for previously, a volunteer organization you work for or have worked with, or a public company. The client you choose should be a small group or organization in which you can influence change in your role as a consultant. Please do not select “the military” or “the U.S. government” or “Giant XYZ Corporation.” However you may choose a small entity, such as a work group, within any of the larger organizations. For example, if you are in the military, focus on your group. If you select a Giant XYZ Corporation, select the department.
Part 2. Identify the Problem
Step two is to identify a problem or issue that is impacting performance in the organization. With your knowledge of the client you have identified and the learning you have acquired to this point, identify a management problem you will investigate and for which you will provide recommended solutions. If you are working with a supervisor or manager, you may want to consult with them to complete this step.
Read the material at the sites listed in the Week 1 Lessons folder (look for the Lessons tab on the l.h. side in this classroom) to help guide you in identifying a management problem in your work environment. Complete a 2-4 page paper discussing the client and the management problem you will explore during this course.
This course is designed to provide hands-on experience that utilizes the learning from previous courses. With your knowledge of the client you have identified and the learning you have acquired to this point, identify a management problem you will investigate and for which you will provide recommended solutions. If you are working with a supervisor or manager, you may want to consult with them to complete this step. Some questions you can explore to help you are:
• What are the goals of the company/division/work group?
• In considering the goals, where does progress halt?
• Is there data to substantiate this or is it a perception of the manager?
• Who is involved…the manager, the employees, stakeholders?
• How long has this problem existed?
• What and how are expectations and requirements communicated?
• When expectations or key deadlines are missed, what happens?
• What factors contribute to the problem (politics, structure, decision-making factors)?j
• Are technical skills or training contributing to the problem?
• Are there ethical issues relating to the problem?
• If so, how have those issues been handled to date?
These questions do not all need to be answered nor is this list all inclusive; they are provided to help you get started and inspire your own questions to explore while completing this assignment.
As you think about this consider:
When relationships experience roadblocks of any sort we can say there is a problem in the relationship. This is true for both personal and professional relationships. When identifying and analyzing potential problems one would start first with symptoms of the problem. This is sometimes a difficult process as it can be easy to confuse symptoms with the problem. For instance, perhaps as a manager you are dealing with a lack of acceptable productivity with two of the ten people who work in your area of responsibility. Maybe one of those people is cranky and difficult to work with.
In this case the problem you need to solve as a manager is one of increasing productivity in your area to an acceptable level. Managers respond to this issue in many different ways depending upon their skill, ability, knowledge and maturity. Some managers may transfer some of the work from the two problem employees to some or all of the eight other employees. This solution will, in turn, produce additional symptoms that now are visible in the behavior and productivity level of the other eight employees in addition to the original two employees. You can see that this solution will only continue to affect productivity in a negative manner and never really solves the problem. This is why, during the problem identification stage, one ought to be certain they are looking at the problem and rather than trying to reduce or eliminate symptoms.
NOTE: Research is required for this an all of the papers in this class. You must have a minimum of two unique sources each week, neither of which can be Wikepedia.
Turn in: Two to four page paper in a word document, submitted to your Week 1 “Identify the Problem” Assignment folder in the classroom. This is due by midnight on Sunday of Week 1.
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