The completion of course modules and tasks is paramount in acquiring employability skills that make an efficient employee. In this paper, I use Gibbs' reflective model to elaborate my knowledge in research, leadership styles, and the impacts of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. My critical study on the 12-month marketing plan of Aldi supermarket and the macro business environment of UNILEVER Plc developed my analytical skills. I was also able to learn effective leadership techniques through Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon. Moreover, I reviewed the impacts of COVID-19 on learning and how to overcome the challenges.
Reflective writing is fundamental in understanding the knowledge gained and the formulation of actions to improve my skills. The Gibbs' reflective model acknowledges the significance of feelings and emotions in learning, which aids in skill development (Williams, Woolliams and Spiro, 2012, p. 90). According to Graham Gibbs, it is vital to generalise and transfer knowledge acquired from one study to another; hence, making the model effective in practical courses such as business management (Williams, Woolliams and Spiro, 2012, p. 90). The Gibbs' cycle has six levels: description, feelings, evaluation, analysis, summary, and action plan (Williams, Woolliams and Spiro, 2012, p. 91). The stages allow me to evaluate my strengths, weaknesses, and techniques to improve my performance in similar situations.
After completing my marketing management and contemporary business environment modules, I researched and wrote reports on UNILEVER Plc's macro business environment and Aldi supermarket's 12-month marketing plan. I was able to use the SWOT and PESTLE analysis to evaluate the internal and external factors influencing the productivity of the two companies. My knowledge of the macro business environment helped me in identifying their strengths and weakness; thus, I submitted recommendations to improve their performances. Throughout the research, I had to use my analytical, problem-solving, and communication skills during my report presentation.
My assessment of Jeff Bezos’s leadership skills revealed his transformational leadership style made him lead Amazon to the top of e-commerce. His committed relationship with his followers and the ability to influence their performance through words is outstanding. I got a better understanding of his role in the organisation, planning, and teamwork in Amazon. As a leader, Jeff Bezos plays a significant role in the company’s overall performance and other workers. I noted the responsibility of a leader in motivating their followers to focus on the company's objectives.
The COVID-19 pandemic led to the closure of all learning institutions, which limited schools to online learning programs. Universities had the challenge of organising new lecture routines that consider the availability of all students and teachers. As a student, I had to utilise my computer skills and use technology to learn online. My adaptation to the virtual classrooms was difficult due to the new learning surroundings.
I was overwhelmed with excitement when I started my research on Aldi supermarket, UNILEVER Plc, and Jeff Bezos because the study provided me with an insight into the operation of some of the biggest companies in the world. During my evaluation, I was anxious and surprised by the many challenges the companies faced and the influence of external business environments on their productivity. However, great leadership, planning, and teamwork guided the companies to success, and that was inspiring to me. Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic's effects on schools made it mentally exhausting for me to adapt to the new learning methods, but overcoming the challenges was motivational.
My reports on the marketing plan and macro business environments significantly developed my research skills. I was able to collect data, analyse, and employ my problem-solving skills in suggesting recommendations. I can now perform a better SWOT and PESTLE analysis of companies’ internal and external environments. SWOT-analysis helps managers make well-informed decision (Fleisher and Bensoussan, 2015, p. 105). My communication skills also developed due to the report presentation. In contrast, writing the report was time-consuming due to extensive research and limited access to reliable companies’ data. Moreover, my recommendations were hypothetical and never put into practice.
The transformational leadership style focuses on the leader-following relationship, which is integral for efficient operations of all departments through teamwork (Busse, 2010, p. 60). Jeff Bezos is an example of a great leader who is currently achieving new heights with Amazon by inspiring his followers to accomplish a common goal. The assessment helped me acquire motivational skills necessary in leadership. However, the leadership style burdens the leader with the responsibility of the company's and other workers' performance, challenging big corporations.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the world economy’s social aspects; therefore, halting regular school programs (Owusu-Fordjour, Koomson and Hanson, 2020, p. 89). Regardless, I utilised my computer skills and adapted to e-learning, which ensured the safety of students and teachers. Sadly, some regions still cannot switch to e-learning due to limited access to technology. I had a hard time adapting to the new program while teachers struggled in monitoring the progress of all students.
Completion of the marketing management and contemporary business environment modules made me knowledgeable in the analysis of internal and external organisational factors that influence productivity. I can now use SWOT and PESTEL analysis models to evaluate business environments and offer recommendations to improve their performance. My research skills can help me in decision-making processes when solving issues in an organisation. Furthermore, my advanced communication skills are essential in establishing good relationships with other colleagues and work towards a common objective.
Jeff Bezos’ transformational leadership style taught me the significance of a good relationship between a leader and followers in a company. I learned motivational factors that persuade team members to change their behaviours and focus on accomplishing the organisation's goal. As a leader, I know how to plan, organise, and motivate my subordinates to ensure efficiency in all departments. Moreover, I am adaptable to every challenge and always ready to offer assistance to my fellow workers when necessary. I now have a better understanding of the responsibility and skills required by a leader to guide their success.
The COVID-19 pandemic posed unpredicted challenges to all learning institutions worldwide. Schools had to change to new teaching programs that ensure the safety of both students and teachers. I was able to utilise my computer to attend virtual classes. Although e-learning is still a developing initiative, I gathered vital computer skills by using technology to research and communicate. However, some students are still adjusting to the new learning environments and class organisation.
My report on Aldi supermarket and UNILEVER Plc provided hypothetical recommendations. I aim to analyse an accessible company and offer suggestions that I can follow up to check if they improve the organisation’s productivity. The extensive research on the two companies was time-consuming; hence, I should have had a team to assist me in compiling a comprehensive report. I chose to evaluate Jeff Bezos’s transformational leadership style because of his success at Amazon; however, I should have reviewed alternative approaches to acquire the leadership skills necessary in different situations. The e-learning program presented an opportunity to learn during the COVID-19 pandemic, and my participation in an online study group would have assisted my performance in class.
I have to use a goal-oriented analysis of my research skills to focus on a particular organisation's business environment. By following the steps, defining the audience, targeting internal and external factors, considering marketing channels, then creating a plan, I will improve an organisation's marketing plan and sales (Buttell, 2009, p. 7). I will also incorporate team members to assist in researching and brainstorming on the best solutions to strengthen the weaknesses of a company. Furthermore, I would monitor the macro business environments of a company afterward to identify progress and apply more effective measures (Domanovic, 2013, p. 33).
An alternative leadership approach, such as the situational leadership style, is flexible and efficient in start-ups with various challenges (Busse, 2010, p. 58). I would research and implement different leadership skills to motivate employees because one leadership technique cannot influence all workers. Mentorship programs are also necessary to support and guide my followers on every stage of their development. Moreover, I would introduce rewarding motivational factors to recognise the contributions of all members after achieving a milestone.
Well-organised virtual learning can promote education during the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, private and public schools need to invest in technology that supports e-learning. I would have to expand my knowledge on online sources such as libraries for course materials. As a student, it will be integral to provide academic and emotional support to my fellow students as we battle through the pandemic.
In conclusion, I gained research skills essential in analysing and improving a business. I can also guide and motivate my team members using my leadership skills. Besides, I am flexible to change when the contemporary business environment poses a new challenge. The COVID-19 breakout advanced my anticipation and planning efforts to manage my studies during a pandemic. Moreover, I understand the need to give psychological support since everyone is affected by COVID-19. Nations should assist struggling communities that have inadequate resources to counter learning challenges.
Busse, R., 2010. ‘Comprehensive leadership review – literature, theories and research’, Advances in Management, 7(5), p52-66.
Buttell, A.E., 2009. ‘4. Steps to an effective marketing plan’, Journal of Financial Planning, 4(3), p6-8.
Domanovic, V., 2013. ‘The effectiveness of the performance measurement in terms of contemporary business environment’, Ekonomski Horizonti, 15(1), p31-44.
Fleisher, C.S. and Bensoussan, B.E., 2015. Business and competitive analysis: effective application of new and classic methods. 2nd edn. New Jersey: FT press.
Owusu-Fordjour, C., Koomson, C.K. and Hanson, D., 2020. ‘The impact of Covid-19 on learning-the perspective of the Ghanaian student’, European Journal of Education Studies, 7(3), p88-101.
Williams, K., Woolliams, M. and Spiro, J., 2012. Reflective writing. London: Macmillan International Higher Education.
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