Tolstoy’s Wave

In whatever direction a ship moves the flow of waves it cuts will always be noticeable ahead of it … When the ship moves in one direction there is one and the same wave ahead of it, when it turns frequently the wave ahead of it also turns frequently. But wherever it may turn there always will be the wave anticipating its movement. Whatever happens it appears that just that event was foreseen and decreed. Wherever the ship may go, the rush of water which neither directs nor increases its movement foams ahead of it, and at a distance seems not merely to move of itself but to govern the ship’s movement also.

Tolstoy’s bow-wave metaphor for leadership provokes some interesting questions. Are leaders merely figureheads, propelled by events beyond their control even though it appears the events are controlled by them?

Leaders are in front of those they lead, but are they pulling or are they being pushed? Can you be a leader without followers? Do followers make leaders by being followers? Are leaders and followers just part of a virtuous/vicious circle feedback-loop? Must there be a leader before there are followers? Do organisations need leaders in order to be successful, or are we just used to the idea of having them?

– Grint (1997), cited in Billsberry (2009).

And on to B204

I’ve started some of the reading for my next course – B204 Making it Happen! Leadership, influence and change. The course has been on my plan for years and I’ve been looking forward to starting it for a long time.

Our tutor has already been in touch and says this is a course with potentially life and/or career changing results, so it will be very interesting and exciting to see what happens to me over the next 12 months!

The course workload looks challenging at first glance. There seems to be quite a bit of reading, but it looks like most of the learning and reflection for the course will actually take place in the workplace – so it appears to be a very practical and relevant course for me.

I’m not sure how I will use the blog with my studies yet, but I’m sure all will become clear.

B324 Exam Day

It seems such a short time since I started my B324 studies, but exam day is already upon me. I’ll be making my way to the exam centre this afternoon, and will have to sit through three more hours of pain before I can draw a line under the course and look forward to the next one.

In terms of revision, I’ve focused mainly on the B324 topics covered here in this blog. Hopefully that will be enough. I feel quietly confident, and am not nervous about the exam at all. I’m more concerned about the pain I will feel after writing solidly for up to three hours!

Reflecting on B324, there have been elements of the course I’ve enjoyed, and some which I’ve found a little abstract due to the fact that they don’t relate to my own work experience. I enjoyed looking at ethical marketing, responsible marketing and green marketing. I didn’t so much enjoy social marketing or ethical frameworks. I also found fair trade a little less interesting than green – although it was interesting to relate some of the fair trade ideas to the problems UK dairy farmers are currently experiencing.

Final words: B324 is a level 3 course and is quite challenging – as it should be. There is a lot of reading to get through, and it’s absolutely necessary to put the time in if you want to obtain reasonable marks for your TMAs. However, B324 is a course that should be very enjoyable and rewarding for people who are involved with or wish to be involved with a social enterprise of some kind.

B324 – Marketing with a twist!

It’s been almost a year since I last updated. I’m really sorry to say this is becoming a familiar chant now on this blog. Once again, I do have reasons, the main one being that I have been trying to start a brand new business to make the most of what I have learnt on my OU studies so far. That’s been taking up a lot of my spare time.

Simultaneously, I’ve been doing the next course – B324, hence the title of this post – as well as running my existing small consulting business. To say things are a bit hectic is an understatement.

So … B324. When I signed up for the course I didn’t really have much of an idea what was going to be involved. I knew it was a Level 3 course, so I suspected it wouldn’t be easy. However, I didn’t anticipate how difficult it would be for me to get my head round!

The full title for B324 is B324 Marketing and society. I’m now into my final weeks of the course, and am looking to start revising for the exam in a few days, but looking back I am pleased to see how much has been covered:

  • Block 1: Social marketing
  • Block 2: Ethics and marketing
  • Block 3: Responsible business marketing

The social marketing and ethics and marketing blocks were quite difficult to get my head round as I’ve never encountered them before. I enjoyed the course material, but my brain really did have to think differently at times. Social marketing is somewhat different to the commercial marketing I’m used to.

The responsible business marketing block looked at sustainability, green marketing, and Fair Trade. I really enjoyed this block, and would actually consider working in the field.

I’m planning on using this blog to store my exam revision notes for B324. That should make a nice little sum-up of the course content for anyone else who’s interested in taking it – as well as providing a little exam guidance too.

It’s been even longer – and BU130

Well, it’s now been over a year since my last update on this blog – making that two years since I posted a proper update.

I have been busy continuing with my studies (doing BU130 Working and learning: developing effective performance at work), but I haven’t felt the need to publish any of my notes for this course. There haven’t been many concepts or theories to remember, and so the learning journal I have been keeping has been really related just to my own personal thoughts and activities.

I will try to do some writing about Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle, which is one of the most useful reflective frameworks I came across.

I recently registered for B120 An introduction to business studies, and am looking forward to starting that course in October. It seems a bit strange working backwards to level 1 having started off my studies with level 3 courses like the Professional Certificate in Management (B628 and B629), but these are compulsory courses for the BA (Hons) Leadership & Management, which is my goal to complete in the next two years.

Hopefully there will be some material in B120 that I can publish. 🙂