"Thinking Critically" Simulation Paper

1226 words - 5 pages

IntroductionNot many people in business get the opportunity to make mistakes in a safe environment. Errors in judgment, particularly in the highly competitive consumer electronics retail business, are not only costly to the business, but also to careers. As Oscar Wilde put it, "Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes." For that reason, the benefit of the University of Phoenix "Thinking Critically" simulation is that the user has the opportunity to learn from errors and, instead of receiving a poor performance review, try again until getting it right. This paper explains the tools and techniques used by the writer, acting as manager of the store in the simulation, to make decisions while using the simulation, discusses key points emphasized, and documents the lessons learned.Tools and TechniquesThe initial task faced by the young Credenhill protegé, newly assigned to the role of manager of the store, was to decide which of the issues faced by the store were symptoms and which were real problems. The manager first listed the issues and then placed them where he thought they should be on a 'fish bone' or 'cause and effect' diagram. While usually used to reveal the causes or contributing factors of a problem (HCi Professional Services, 2005), the tool proved effective in helping the manager to map the symptoms around the applicable problems. Some rearranging was required and some issues ended up being placed on their own because they were isolated from the main issue of falling sales, but the tool proved effective in this instance.The next task was to prioritize the true problems using a 2X2 matrix. The matrix categorized problems based on whether they were critical/urgent, non-critical/urgent, critical/non-urgent, or non-critical/non-urgent. The matrix proved effective in focusing the manager on the problems that required the greatest of his time, attention and resources (Lowy & Hood, 2004, p.19). It brought attention to the major problem in the simulation - that of falling sales - because the three root problems that affected that were all placed, correctly, in the critical/urgent quadrant. This prioritization also led to better decisions as to how to utilize the store's budget and address the interests of the employees, customers and corporate headquarters.Finally, the manager made decisions on what measurements to use to gauge the success of the decision set by mapping the proposed measures beside the solution it would best evaluate and deciding which, if there were more than one, had the closest connection to the actions generated by the solution.Key PointsThe simulation emphasized key points in the University of Phoenix decision-making model. There are four discussed below that the writer thought were most useful.Identifying the ProblemWhile several problems were presented in the simulation, some clearly as 'noise' to distract the decision maker, the manager identified as the main problem the one that had the greatest...

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