TMA01 from Module 1

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Here is a copy of my first TMA (tutor marked assignment) at the OU.

Question 1:

Dear Mr Clarke,

My name is Ben C Danielsen, I'm 32 years old and from Norway. Last September I started working for The Vineyard as Trainee Assistant Manager. Earlier job-experiences include work on management level in the hospitality industry.

The Vineyard is a luxury hotel with 31 suites. We also offer conference/banqueting facilities, a Michelin star restaurant and a Spa. Currently we have 90 employees at the hotel.

The Vineyard won several awards last year, among them "Hotel of the Year", "Wine list of the Year", "American Wine list of the Year" and " Best Hotel Restaurant". Currently a 4-star hotel, we aim to qualify as a 5-star hotel.

My job as Trainee Assistant Manager can be roughly divided into three.

1. As Host Manager I'm the senior manager on duty, ensuring we are up at desired level on food & beverage, service, cleanliness etc. I deal with positive and negative feedback from guests and staff alike, solving problems that may arise. Last, but not least, I'm there to take care of any emergencies. 2. Other duties include being up to date on technical equipment. Both in back of the house (i.e. our reservation software, telephone software/equipment, fire alarm central etc.) and the technical equipment our guest might need during their conferences (i.e. LCD-projectors, PA-systems, Plasma-screens etc). I also plan training for staff/management in use of mentioned equipment/software. 3. I'm still a trainee, meaning I'm spending time learning/discussing my role and experiences with my peers and manager.

Having no formal educational background have made me somewhat uncertain, especially in contact with peers. I also feel "weak" in areas such as finance, marketing and human resource. By starting this course, I hope to make the gaps in my background smaller, become a better manager and prepare me for the next step up in hospitality-management.

Question 2:

The Vineyard can roughly be divided up in 5 departments, being Front of House, Food and Beverage, Housekeeping, Kitchen and Sales & Administration. It is essential for us that all departments are informed about what our guests has requested, so we can meet their expectations. This is being reflected upon my job as a Host Manager.

Most of my day is spent seeking information (here I cover the roles of both monitoring and dissemination) from Sales and passing it onto the involved departments. I pass out the information both to individuals (through personal conversations with a staff-member) and to groups (through the 10@10-meeting where all departments are present).

The role of spokesperson is the second major role I do as a Host Manager. We try to be in the lobby-area at the critical times during a day. These times are around breakfast and check out, lunch, check-in and dinner. Here we can meet and converse with our guests without intruding on their time. We can get feedback from them, both positive and negative, and also pass on a feeling to them that the management care about their experience with visiting the Vineyard. Upon receiving the feedback, or through my observations, I have to fill the role as a disturbance handler to act on urgent task that may have arisen.

The Vineyard has a sister-hotel and a golf club located within 5 minutes from us. Together we can share both staff, when we are short, and technical equipment. Here the role of resource allocation and negotiator is covered. Sometimes some, or all, of the members of the group has needs on staff and equipment. We then need to see who has the biggest need, or find another solution to the needs we have (i.e. use hired in equipment or take staff from another department).

After ensured everybody involved are informed about what needs to be done, and that they have the resources to perform I then have to use the role of leader to see that all our employees perform their duties to their best ability, and if necessary reallocate more resources if they seem to fail to deliver.

Comparing my current role with earlier roles as head of department it occurs to me that I now must fill the role of spokesperson a lot more than in my previous management experience. Then I had to spend more time on resource allocation and negotiating, whereas now the resource allocation within the hotel is being taken care of by the various heads of department, me just stepping in if and when an urgent task comes up and staff has to be moved in between the departments.

I'm also more involved in the entrepreneurial decision-making where policies and long-term decisions are made. At head of department level I usually acted upon those decisions.

Question 3:

To "greet, meet and seat" is an old philosophy in the hospitality trade. At the Vineyard it is the host managers role to do this to both residents and non-residents upon arrival in the restaurant. If I vacate my place, a gap will be created that cannot be filled by another staff member. Ergo, during these times of the day it is essential for me to delegate some of my tasks to others and also act on the resource allocation. At times this means I have to move staff from their designated department to work in another part of the hotel that are more urgent to be covered. In the beginning of my time at the Vineyard I found it difficult to do this. Especially sending people across the departments was difficult for me due to the negative responses that followed. After having used some time on communicating the importance of multi-tasking to the staff, they have now come to realise it is in their own interest to be able to perform several tasks within the hotel.

The second role I will focus on is connected with the delegation issue raised earlier, and deals with stress related to work others are doing, as described by Handy. In the past I have either worked my way up or come in as a Head of Department. That way I have always had the authority from the start, through my position, or I have had time to build the authority, by working my way up. This time I came to an organisation that had opened up a new position to employ me, not tied in with a particular department, working in the senior management team overseeing all departments. Upon arrival I felt I did not have any authority with the staff. When my manager came to me and pointed out a task that should have been done, I felt I couldn't excuse myself by passing on the blame to the person I had asked/told to perform that special task. To ensure that what I delegated to others where actually being done I had to do controls on all job-performance. This was time-consuming and frustrating, but necessary. The long term result though was that the staff now knows that I'm checking up on all tasks, or at least that there is a risk I will do it, and the general quality and consistency of how they perform their job has gone up. I'm now experiencing the same with the Head of Departments. Maybe it is a weakness that I don't feel comfortable when I'm giving away control of a project or task to others. The uncertainty of relying on others performing a task, me picking up the result and presenting it. Being responsible for it is a little bit scary when I don't have 100% control at all stages involved. I do hope that this uncertainty is a result of me not being through the complete cycle described by Adams et al.

Question 4:

After concluding book 1 of the course I now realise one big mistake I've done in my previous management jobs. I never taken the time to analyse and reflect upon my management of time. When using the cycle described in time management to "plan - analyse - reflect - change - review" I actually go through the whole role of being a manager. I compare solutions to previous ones, find the most effective one and try to "reprogram" myself in the way I act and come to the solution of a problem. By using "reflective practice" I have found a lot of answers not only in what worked in dealing with tasks and problems, but also in how I approach colleagues and staff.

I also took note of a quote by Morgan, where he was talking about "how our way of thinking and finding a solution don't match the complexity of the problem/task involved". I have to adapt to the task involved, and my problem solving likewise. At the same time be careful, not to try a new solution, but to follow "fashionable" solutions, because what work for others in one situation might not work for me in my situation.

I found the transition progress described by Adams et al interesting because I could very easily follow my development in my job at the Vineyard. Initially the cycle went slowly; lately I've been passing through the stages more quickly and start coming to the end of it.

Working through groups and Managing Conflict, has given me a deeper insight into the group-dynamics and work-process of a group. We are four members of the senior management group at my workplace, and it is essential for us to be able to communicate and share opinions even when we disagree or feel that we are not reaching through with our point of view.

The most important session for me in book one was regarding problems and problem solving. Working in a business where our product is service, it is important for me to find, if not the right answer to every problem, at least a satisficing one. Ideally I should find the perfect solution to all problems, but often I find that I don't have enough information to do so, and I have to act upon what information I have. Another factor with problem solving in the hospitality business is that our guests don't necessary have the same way of thinking, so what may have been the perfect solution for one do not work for another.

Through book 1, The Manager, I've gained a better understanding of myself as a manager of why I respond the way I do. We have also discussed management theories that will help me in my work, but people and situations vary. What works for some, doesn't work for others. So in applying theory to practise I will have to adapt to the situation.

-- Ben C Danielsen (studies@bcdanielsen.com), March 15, 2001

Answers

Here is the returned TMA01 as received from my tutor. Not very happy with the result as it is. More work needed on the next TMA, due in this coming Friday (March 31st, 2001)

TMA FORM (PT3e)

SECTION 1 STUDENT INFORMATION SECTION 2 TUTOR INFORMATION Name Mr BC Danielsen Tutor's Name Mr C Clarke Address Staff member,The Vineyard,Stockcross,NEWBURY,Berks,RG20 8JU Tutor'sNumber 00438549 OUCU bcd27 E-Mail Personal Identifier U0755266 Date Sent by Student 26 Feb 2001 Course BB631-Feb 01 TMA No. 01 Marked using Marking Tool 2000 version 1.2.1 a8 Overall Question Grades/Scores Grade/Score 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 14 12 10 11 47

TUTOR'S COMMENTS AND ADVICE TO STUDENT: Ben,

This was a good effort considering you missed the tutorial. Although I tried through my comments on the tutorial to provide some guidance is was no substitute for you not being present. It is important to provide a sound analysis of your arguments by analysis using the course concepts. If you do this I can follow the argument through and ensure that your understanding is correct. It also encourages you to show where the theory does not always fit and that is equally valuable.

I would be happy to recieve a call to help you further, but please make the next tutorial.

Chris

Question 1:

Dear Mr Clarke,

My name is Ben C Danielsen, I'm 32 years old and from Norway. Last September I started working for The Vineyard as Trainee Assistant Manager. Earlier job-experiences include work on management level in the hospitality industry.

The Vineyard is a luxury hotel with 31 suites. We also offer conference/banqueting facilities, a Michelin star restaurant and a Spa. Currently we have 90 employees at the hotel.

The Vineyard won several awards last year, among them "Hotel of the Year", "Wine list of the Year", "American Wine list of the Year" and " Best Hotel Restaurant". Currently a 4-star hotel, we aim to qualify as a 5-star hotel. Q1(a) = 2/5 My job as Trainee Assistant Manager can be roughly divided into three.

1. As Host Manager I'm the senior manager on duty, ensuring we are up at desired level on food & beverage, service, cleanliness etc. I deal with positive and negative feedback from guests and staff alike, solving problems that may arise. Last, but not least, I'm there to take care of any emergencies. 2. Other duties include being up to date on technical equipment. Both in back of the house (i.e. our reservation software, telephone software/equipment, fire alarm central etc.) and the technical equipment our guest might need during their conferences (i.e. LCD-projectors, PA-systems, Plasma-screens etc). I also plan training for staff/management in use of mentioned equipment/software. 3. I'm still a trainee, meaning I'm spending time learning/discussing my role and experiences with my peers and manager. Q1(b) = 6/10

Having no formal educational background have made me somewhat uncertain, especially in contact with peers. I also feel "weak" in areas such as finance, marketing and human resource. By starting this course, I hope to make the gaps in my background smaller, become a better manager and prepare me for the next step up in hospitality-management. Q1(c) = 6/10

Question 2:

The Vineyard can roughly be divided up in 5 departments, being Front of House, Food and Beverage, Housekeeping, Kitchen and Sales & Administration. It is essential for us that all departments are informed about what our guests has requested, so we can meet their expectations. This is being reflected upon my job as a Host Manager.

Most of my day is spent seeking information (here I cover the roles of both monitoring and dissemination) from Sales and passing it onto the involved departments. I pass out the information both to individuals (through personal conversations with a staff-member) and to groups (through the 10@10-meeting where all departments are present).

The role of spokesperson is the second major role I do as a Host Manager. We try to be in the lobby-area at the critical times during a day. These times are around breakfast and check out, lunch, check-in and dinner. Here we can meet and converse with our guests without intruding on their time. We can get feedback from them, both positive and negative, and also pass on a feeling to them that the management care about their experience with visiting the Vineyard. Upon receiving the feedback, or through my observations, I have to fill the role as a disturbance handler to act on urgent task that may have arisen.

The Vineyard has a sister-hotel and a golf club located within 5 minutes from us. Together we can share both staff, when we are short, and technical equipment. Here the role of resource allocation and negotiator is covered. Sometimes some, or all, of the members of the group has needs on staff and equipment. We then need to see who has the biggest need, or find another solution to the needs we have (i.e. use hired in equipment or take staff from another department).

After ensured everybody involved are informed about what needs to be done, and that they have the resources to perform I then have to use the role of leader to see that all our employees perform their duties to their best ability, and if necessary reallocate more resources if they seem to fail to deliver.Q2(a) = 6/10

Comparing my current role with earlier roles as head of department it occurs to me that I now must fill the role of spokesperson a lot more than in my previous management experience. Then I had to spend more time on resource allocation and negotiating, whereas now the resource allocation within the hotel is being taken care of by the various heads of department, me just stepping in if and when an urgent task comes up and staff has to be moved in between the departments.

I'm also more involved in the entrepreneurial decision-making where policies and long-term decisions are made. At head of department level I usually acted upon those decisions. Q2(b) = 6/15

Question 3:

To "greet, meet and seat" is an old philosophy in the hospitality trade. At the Vineyard it is the host managers role to do this to both residents and non-residents upon arrival in the restaurant. If I vacate my place, a gap will be created that cannot be filled by another staff member. Ergo, during these times of the day it is essential for me to delegate some of my tasks to others and also act on the resource allocation. At times this means I have to move staff from their designated department to work in another part of the hotel that are more urgent to be covered. In the beginning of my time at the Vineyard I found it difficult to do this. Especially sending people across the departments was difficult for me due to the negative responses that followed. After having used some time on communicating the importance of multi-tasking to the staff, they have now come to realise it is in their own interest to be able to perform several tasks within the hotel.

The second role I will focus on is connected with the delegation issue raised earlier, and deals with stress related to work others are doing, as described by Handy. In the past I have either worked my way up or come in as a Head of Department. That way I have always had the authority from the start, through my position, or I have had time to build the authority, by working my way up. This time I came to an organisation that had opened up a new position to employ me, not tied in with a particular department, working in the senior management team overseeing all departments. Upon arrival I felt I did not have any authority with the staff. When my manager came to me and pointed out a task that should have been done, I felt I couldn't excuse myself by passing on the blame to the person I had asked/told to perform that special task. To ensure that what I delegated to others where actually being done I had to do controls on all job-performance. This was time-consuming and frustrating, but necessary. The long term result though was that the staff now knows that I'm checking up on all tasks, or at least that there is a risk I will do it, and the general quality and consistency of how they perform their job has gone up. I'm now experiencing the same with the Head of Departments. Maybe it is a weakness that I don't feel comfortable when I'm giving away control of a project or task to others. The uncertainty of relying on others performing a task, me picking up the result and presenting it. Being responsible for it is a little bit scary when I don't have 100% control at all stages involved. I do hope that this uncertainty is a result of me not being through the complete cycle described by Adams et al. Q3 = 10/25

Question 4:

After concluding book 1 of the course I now realise one big mistake I've done in my previous management jobs. I never taken the time to analyse and reflect upon my management of time. When using the cycle described in time management to "plan - analyse - reflect - change - review" I actually go through the whole role of being a manager. I compare solutions to previous ones, find the most effective one and try to "reprogram" myself in the way I act and come to the solution of a problem. By using "reflective practice" I have found a lot of answers not only in what worked in dealing with tasks and problems, but also in how I approach colleagues and staff.

I also took note of a quote by Morgan, where he was talking about "how our way of thinking and finding a solution don't match the complexity of the problem/task involved". I have to adapt to the task involved, and my problem solving likewise. At the same time be careful, not to try a new solution, but to follow "fashionable" solutions, because what work for others in one situation might not work for me in my situation.

I found the transition progress described by Adams et al interesting because I could very easily follow my development in my job at the Vineyard. Initially the cycle went slowly; lately I've been passing through the stages more quickly and start coming to the end of it.

Working through groups and Managing Conflict, has given me a deeper insight into the group-dynamics and work-process of a group. We are four members of the senior management group at my workplace, and it is essential for us to be able to communicate and share opinions even when we disagree or feel that we are not reaching through with our point of view.

The most important session for me in book one was regarding problems and problem solving. Working in a business where our product is service, it is important for me to find, if not the right answer to every problem, at least a satisficing one. Ideally I should find the perfect solution to all problems, but often I find that I don't have enough information to do so, and I have to act upon what information I have. Another factor with problem solving in the hospitality business is that our guests don't necessary have the same way of thinking, so what may have been the perfect solution for one do not work for another. Q4(a) = 4/10

Through book 1, The Manager, I've gained a better understanding of myself as a manager of why I respond the way I do. We have also discussed management theories that will help me in my work, but people and situations vary. What works for some, doesn't work for others. So in applying theory to practise I will have to adapt to the situation.Q4(b) = 7/15



-- Ben C Danielsen (studies@bcdanielsen.com), March 25, 2001.


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