From an early age I wanted to be a journalist. The reasons being I loved writing, I enjoyed talking with people and I saw it as a glamorous profession. When it came time to discuss what I wanted to do with my life my father said ‘no daughter of mine is going to be a journalist’. He is very much a ‘realist’ and believed that the jobs were in the hospitality industry, he said he would only contribute to my tertiary education if I would enrol in the Central Institute of Technology’s Hospitality Management Diploma. They promised that students would be equipped for entry level into middle management positions. This experience is why I largely chose Saul’s ‘The unconscious civilisation’ for this papers second assignment.
After about three months we went on a field trip around the major hotels in Wellington. I spoke with several senior managers and it became apparent middle management jobs were being phased out. I spoke with my parents about leaving the course as I had absolutely no interest or inclination in the industry and my father’s words now appeared to be redundant. I left after the first year, scraping by on C’s and moved up to Auckland to find out what I wanted to do and either pursue it or go back to tertiary education depending on the requirements.
My father was not impressed and considered my actions to be lazy as I was not finishing something I had started. I, on the contrary, believe my decision to be now what is referred to as ‘behaviourism’ (71135, 2010). I believed this decision was logical. My reasoning was that if I had continued in the course I would have a considerable student loan and the trends emerging showed that I may not have received the necessary financial rewards, in the form of a job, to pay off the debt I would have incurred. I believed the consequence of continuing my studies and subsequently pleasing my father were not worth the financial debt and ultimately I would not have been happy or fulfilled in that profession.
After I moved to Auckland I accepted a position at Rocom Communications as a Sales Coordinator and discovered many of my talents (except writing) were suitable in a sales role. I pursued a career in sales until I later discovered marketing!! My father and I had many interesting conversations in this instance relating to a postmodern society.
‘Postmodernism……term used to describe a society in which everything is defined according to its context.’ (71135, 2010,p.5) In other words it is dependent on an individual’s viewpoint. My father described the situation as dropping out from C.I.T, where as I saw it as not spending additional student loan on a career I had absolutely no interest in pursuing.
My father and I have had a subsequent discussion on computer technology. He felt that it was useless to study technology as it is constantly changing. His belief was that as a young person you would study for a period of time, gain the qualifications required and then get a job. This would be defined as a modern society or viewpoint according to Jarvis in his reading on the social background of lifelong learning. The difference between how we both saw education was that I saw it more in the form of postmodernism in ‘the shift from education to lifelong learning’ (Jarvis,P, Holford, J & Griffen, C. 1998 p,20). I personally have always thought of education as organic it is a lifelong learning process.
In the past I had a contract position at Telecom Directories selling ‘Quick Tips’ to existing Telecom customers. The role was simple, the following steps were utilised to sell the service:
- Contact the prospect using the customer database system.
- Make an appointment to visit the client at their premises.
- Conduct the standard presentation adding individual analogies and referencing the prospects perceived needs and wants.
- At the end of the presentation (approximately 15 minutes) ask for feedback.
- Respond to this feedback, again tailoring it to the customer’s wants and needs.
- Ask for the sale.
- If consideration was required – make a diary entry to contact the customer at the agreed date.
- Outcomes were measured by the number of sales made each week.
The most important stage was the sales pitch. This was taught to me applying the following steps:
- My manager explained the target audience and product in detail.
- The sales process that historically had the best result was described.
- He presented the pitch to me as it was designed.
- I was given a copy of the sales plan and the sales props to be utilised during the pitch.
- I spent a couple of hours familiarising myself with the material.
- I pretended to be a client and the other sales rep pitched the concept of ‘Quick Tips’ to me relating her own analogies and method.
- I spent some time developing my own analogies and style.
- I practiced on other Telecom employees so the process started to become automatic.
- I presented my pitch to my manager.
- When he was convinced I was ready I began the steps first described in this journal entry.
The first part of this journal entry relates to the sales pitch. As discussed in module one (71135, 2010) everyone has their own personal learning style and way of processing information. This example shows my individual learning preference and also how to present ‘Quick Tips’ in the most advantageous manner to individual clients. The VARK model can be easily applied to the presentation made to clients. The suggested pitch was flexible so all of the styles could be utilised to quickly discover which approach would achieve the sale. I personally found the best approach was to deliver a visual based presentation utilising analogies to illustrate points. When I thought it might benefit I would ask the prospect to dial the ‘Quick Tips’ number so they could understand the benefit of the product (this utilises kinaesthetic learning) this was not always necessary, as of course learning is individual. As mentioned in module four ‘each learning approach is based on presumptions about how a group of people is likely to respond to a particular learning situation.’ (71135, 2010) The sales material utilised was extremely helpful because although there had to be assumptions about the target audience, their intelligence, level of education etc it was extremely flexible to allow the sales representative to individualise it when necessary.
The second learning opportunity from the ‘Quick Tips’ experience relates to how I personally learned the material so as to present it to clients. The main theory of learning that applies to myself and this situation is social constructivism (71135, 2010) The main features applies as follows:
- I brought with me to the position previous knowledge in sales and marketing. My previous experience meant that I was apt at the sales process and the other key requirements for the job. Therefore, I probably achieved more success than someone without this experience.
- My manager went into a lot of detail regarding the product. I was located on the managing floor at Telecom and was in a position of being able to ask colleagues questions about the service and processes. For example acronyms used.
- I personally learned how to best present the service to clients by discussing the various features with the other sales representative who had more experience with the product.
- I practiced my general pitch until it almost became ‘automatic’. (71135, 2010)
We, my partner and I, decided we needed to move apartments because our needs and wants changed for the following reasons:
- We no longer wanted to live with flatmates
- We needed to find cheaper accommodation
- I wanted a cat
The steps required follows:
- Deciding on our budget
- Writing down our list of needs i.e. must be able to have a cat
- Writing down our list of wants i.e. preferable to be within walking distance of Willis Street.
We decided the best and most cost efficient way of finding a new flat was through Trade Me. This decision was largely based on word of mouth from friends/colleagues who had recently found a flat.
I then opened a Trade Me account. I set up a search for our preferences i.e. our budgeted rent, number of bedrooms and area. I then came across a potential problem. A number of advertisements said no pets. I decided to contact a few asking if this was a prerequisite. Most answers I got back were that cats were fine but no dogs. I then set up a template to reply to advertisements (changing the necessary details) to contact as many landlords as possible in the shortest amount of time.
When they contacted me back we set up viewing dates, we hired a car for the weekend. After looking at approximately 10 houses we decided on our current residence because all of the necessary requirements were met and we both liked the character of the house.
Without knowing this at the time I had applied Freeman and Lewis’s framework (71135, 2010,) to this problem. If we had not found the right house we would have hired another car the following weekend and started the process again.
I remember my form teacher liked to submit a riddle such as the following for the class to solve. The succeeding one was used to illustrate common gender stereotypes in our society and I’ve always remembered it. I found this version on the website http://www.lisashea.com.
Problem to solve
‘A young boy and his father were out playing football when they were caught at the bottom of a giant pileup. Both were injured and rushed to the hospital. They were wheeled into separate operating rooms and two doctors prepped up to work on them, one doctor for each patient. The doctor operating on the father got started right away, but the doctor assigned to the young boy stared at him in surprise. “I can´t operate on him!” the doctor exclaimed to the staff. “That child is my son!”
How can that be?
The doctor was the boy´s mother.’ (http://www.lisashea.com)
I decided to use this riddle to illustrate Freeman and Lewis’s framework for problem solving to answer this quandary. (71135, 2010)
‘Successful problem solving always starts with clearly defining the problem’ (71135, 2010, p.21)
The doctor can’t operate on the child because they are the doctor’s son.
What are the possibilities? Write down possible solutions to this problem.
- Incorrect identity – the doctor thought the child was their son.
- The child was adopted and the father was the doctor assigned to him.
- The nurse is the child’s mother.
- The mother was the doctor.
I then asked myself what are the merits of each possibility? Ruled them out as follows:
- I immediately cancelled out the nurse answer as the problem clearly states ‘the doctor exclaimed to the staff’ therefore the doctor has to be the child’s parent.
- Secondly, it is very unlikely that the identity of the child could be mistaken by their parent.
- This left either the child was adopted or the mother was the doctor. I looked again at the wording used (“That child is my son!”) and it is not language that is likely to be used to describe a child that is not legally your own.
- Therefore the best answer to this riddle is that the doctor was the mother.
- Look back – have you solved the problem?
Yes. By writing down the various possibilities and exploring the options I was able to solve the problem. I chose this riddle because I remember it stumped the class and when it was finally solved I thought ‘of course, that makes complete sense’! I believe people are stumped by this riddle because of how the language is ‘encoded’ (71135, 2010,) The characters are masculine, perhaps if it was presented as a mother and daughter instead of a father and son there would be not be a riddle, possibly society still expects that the father would have been a doctor and not the mother.
- Reformulate the problem if the initial plan does not work
With this problem once the solution (the mother was the doctor) was presented it was obvious that this was the correct answer. If I was still stumped I would have looked again at my planning and the other possibilities then reread the riddle to find the other potential answers. Another option would have been to use the other framework presented in module 3 which appears to be more in-depth and applied the problem to this.
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