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Signature Assignment Title: Integrative Essay
Signature Assignment Directions:
Integration: Definition – Combine a number of things into a coherent whole.
In this 1500 word essay, you will be challenged to integrate your learning and personal reflections in this module. This activity will help you in your personal career planning and will help you focus your learning in future courses on areas consistent with your career interests and developmental needs.
The essay should be structured around the four basic questions noted below. Make sure that your incorporate the theory and concepts from your readings into your responses. Also, be as precise as possible and fully elaborate your essay by including examples and an articulation of the assumptions underlying your thinking. Rather than writing an academically abstract piece, try to make this essay personally relevant. “Own” what you are saying.
Key Components of Your Integrative Essay:
1. Select a business/not-for-profit professional context of interest to you. Refer back to your work in this course, especially the Module 2 discussion question and the Module 5 PLANS essay. For example, this work context might be working in a hospital as a senior administrator, being an entrepreneur, project manager in construction, financial analyst in an investment bank, marketing specialist in global company etc. Describe the industry context and the position of interest to you. Feel free to make this selection either long term or short term, i.e. “I want to be a CEO of a small IT business operating in the aerospace industry”. For those in the middle of your careers, you might describe a future career move that might be your next career step. Using this position and industry context, then describe the managerial skills that you think will be essential for your success in this future position. Be specific and fully elaborate your responses using what you have learned in this module. Think about how this role would add value in the overall value chain of the business. Think about the technical aspects of the role as well as those role elements that focus on human relationships. In as sense you are writing a kind of ideal job description.
2. Within the context of the above mentioned role, how do you think leadership and management roles might differ? Are these the same thing? If not, why not? Where might leadership competency be important? Where might management competency be important? Use examples to flesh out your thinking. How might the ratio of leadership – management behaviors change as you move up the organizational ladder? How would this ratio change as the organization might face turbulence in its competitive environment?
3. Given your responses in question 1 and 2, what do you believe will be the most challenging aspects of these leadership and management roles in the context you have chosen? Rather than answering abstractly, have the courage to shape your responses in a personally relevant manner. What aspects of this role will be most challenging to YOU PERSONALLY. Why will these role elements be challenging? In making your response, make sure that you acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses – we all are less than perfect beings. How does your personality interact with these challenges?
4. Building on the responses to questions 1 – 3, what are some learning goals that will help you personally focus your learning in future courses? Although each of these future courses will have their own predetermined learning objectives, there will be PLANS-related assignments that attempt to link back to your own career goals as emphasized in the PLANS framework (See PLANS Depot D2L site). Your clear articulation of learning goals in this essay will help you in these future assignments. These goals will also be central to your own management development plan. As you develop these goals (say 4 to 6 goals), try to make them “SMART” goals (i.e. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound).