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Young Enterprise is a national education charity which delivers an exciting, practical, hand-on business experience to young people. Locally the organisation is run by volunteers from industry and education that form Young Enterprise Boards.
This module is not a business game but a real business experience. It has been discovered through the Graduate Programme how a company functions. This experience provided a unique opportunity to build knowledge in all areas of business with new skills such as working as part of a team, leadership, influencing others, building relationship, business planning, financial management and control. Furthermore, taking responsibility for the actions done, recognising the need for commitment to quality and customer satisfaction.
The main objective as a group was to set up a business plan, achieve cohesiveness and a sense of understanding amongst one another. By doing this, it was hoped to attain a sense of unity and one which helped the team to work together closely. This was done in a free state of mind so that group members would not hesitate when wanting to state their opinion. Less major group goals existed of developing support and trusting within the group of colleagues. Furthermore, gaining knowledge and ideas from other members.
The first activity which was undertaken to do this was to introduce ourselves to each other and give information about what major skills we have. This process helped us to gain an insight into the personnel of the group and the characteristics of different individuals. Other tasks included by creating new ideas by encouraging confidence, trust and synergy within the group. Furthermore, attaining a target of deploying members correctly and encouraging determination within the group.
Personal Development skills and experience
There are many key skills that this programme provided and gave me as progressing through it. Some of the skills and experiences that I believe that I have obtained from doing this Young Enterprise Graduate Programme are listed below: -
· Team working consisted of taking part in identifying and agreeing on the team's objectives. Me as an individual agreeing with each team members tasks and working effectively with others. I did this by supporting them to reach the goals for the whole group.
· Problem solving where problems were being identified and analysed. Moreover, choosing solutions and implementing procedures appropriately.
· Communication had to be made by me and team members effectively to agree on objectives and procedures. I took part in meetings, discussions and successfully interacting with customers and colleagues. Moreover, producing clear concise written work and presentations by using appropriate and profession ICT techniques.
· Marketing and Sales skills were earned by creating and carrying out a market research plan. Then identifying customer target groups and developing the appropriate marketing approach. Furthermore, I choose the appropriate marketing and sales strategies to sell and distribute to target groups.
· Operations skills were achieved by maintaining systems to meet quality standards and evaluating environmental impact. Also setting up procedures to meet operational targets and developing evaluation systems.
· The Finance experience was achieved by me when carrying out a financial audit and selecting strategies to improve financial performance. I recorded financial information using ICT as appropriately as possible.
· Directing and Managing was developed by negotiating with others and influencing the outcomes of the company. By managing a complex set of tasks in an uncertain environment and directing individuals, teams or tasks to achieve agreed targets. Furthermore, managing colleagues, business consultants, stakeholders, customers and building effective relationships.
· Leadership was a difficult skill to achieve for me because at times it was required to pull the company together in times of crisis and some colleagues didn't understand why. Furthermore, I encouraged colleagues to achieve their full potential in the way they contributed to the company's overall performance.
· Learning was a skill which was achieved throughout this programme from understanding key learning preferences by engaging it in much more effective ways. Furthermore, I improved my ability to learn from everyday of this programme experience. I have also identifying personal learning solutions and needs.
I believe that over the semester I developed and strengthened my communication skills, protocol, and business ideas. I gained experience of working in team basedculture in a business organisation which involved planning, organisation, commitment and flexibility to achieve results. I was at first disbelieving about the module relevance to my degree course and was not exactly fascinated about working as part of a team. It got easier after the first couple of week as I got to know my team members more. I often wonder if I had not taken the module, I would have passed the opportunity of meeting and making five new strong friends.
I had an issue with sticking up for others whenever there was an argument going to form as I thought it would be better to sort it out by talking not arguing. As I developed strength and ability to issue clear and concise instruction in a considerate manner during meeting and understanding our business I believed we could become a successful business.
Belbin's theory indicated that I am a “company worker” socially oriented, rather mild sensitive with ability to respond to people and situation. Furthermore, to promote team spirit and uncertainty in moments of crisis this made my confidence was significantly increasing.
Maslow's hierarchy of needs is a theory in psychology that states people in life. Maslow identified “A hierarchy of needs as one level becomes relatively, or partially, satisfied the net becomes stronger”
As the group settled down I got to know everyone better and felt more comfortable in the supportive environment. My confidence was raised as my administrative work was presented, understood and agreed upon. I was able to motivate team members without fear as one of the elements of SCHEINIS learning culture states learning to support team work there must be a shared beliefs that co-operation will be needed that it will work and also shared belief that all people can and will learn matching McGregor's theory. 
Our mentor we met was called ‘Malcolm' he had a business and George one of our group members gave him a call and we arranged a meeting with him. We got the SWOT analysis and ideas down on what we are looking into to become a business. After a few more meetings we were told that our mentor could not see us anymore as his business was at risk.
My personal goal in the business was to motivate others and ensure all team members participated in setting goals. According to Locke (1968) goals affect motivation .
Challenging but achievable goals motivates” people have basic needs or expectations which, when unsatisfied stimulates behaviour directed towards satisfaction. I further researched and studied over Christmas which is a busy time of the year as I was committed and devoted to learning and achieving good grades. I wanted our business plan proposal to be a success. “Specific goals motivates more than vague” identified team roles as each team members had specific roles and task.
I developed my interpersonal and communication skills by e-mailing team members over the Christmas holidays and congratulating them on the tasks that all of had done even though we had no mentor. Furthermore, we got a email regarding us getting a new mentor from one of the Enterprise staff called ‘Andy'.
“Participation in setting goals is motivating” each member of the team set a personal goal as to motivate and keep us on track. “Knowing result of past performance is necessary to motivation”
After Christmas we started to get our business plan ready for handing in on the 6th February 2010. I noticed that none of our group was attending the lectures as they were busy with coursework's and other modules. We met with Andy and talked things through and what we have so far. It was noticed that we were very far behind through the module also Andy tried to arrange a new mentor for our group.
were given out in the first lecture, which none of my team members attended. I was late for the lecture but was able to pick up the feedback which I emailed to all team members as knowing results of past performances motivates me in the next task. Maslow theory encourages feedback; I learnt about past success and can follow the behaviour again. The results helped to motivate me for the presentation as I knew full well that I needed higher mark to get to achieve a first or second upper. I was so impressed with my team after we delivered our presentation and were able to answer the entire question from both the audience and the panel of justice. I felt our collective effort and was proud of our work.
At the end, the initial goal of a united and cohesive group was achieved. Clear standards of behaviour were accepted by all members of the group. Hence resulting in true team spirit and collaboration. When an individual had a problem, there was always a helping hand and a sense of togetherness ran through the group. The characteristics/ features that stood out at the end were: The atmosphere was informal and relaxed. This helped individuals to express their opinions without having to worry about being judged by their fellow group members.
- Members listened to each other and the conflict of ideas was brought constructively into the open. A key aspect of a cohesive unit.
- Decisions were generally reached by a consensus so that everyone or the majority were satisfied by the outcome.
- Finally, leadership was not just reserved to the appointed leader, but is shared when appropriate so that all the individuals felt a sense of importance about themselves within the group.
At this stage the group was more effective and cohesive to a large extent. There was a significant development in the personality of individuals and an improvement, as the weeks went on, in the confidence of the members. However one issue which concerned us was that one member seemed to feel demoralized. The situation was understood by the other individuals in the group and so was discussed by consequently resolved it showing that we had grown from a group of individuals and into a group.
It has been really enjoyable doing this module as quite a lot of it was new. A lot of its qualities and useful skills will be taken away from this module and course. As doing this course it has given a strong foundation for the ability to be able to work independently. Furthermore, working as part of a team and also having gained superior communication skills by concentrating on transferring understanding, from one person to another with the minimum of misunderstanding.
By doing this course it has made
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