So, I will start my second class on Monday night (it’s actually tonight since it’s really 1:18am Monday morning).
I will be one more step closer to earning my MBA. I found out that it’s only 12 6-week classes, with 3 2-week classes (maybe a little longer, called “short courses”) mixed in there. So, one class down, 11 more left plus the short courses.
The first course was basically over the history of leadership. We covered A LOT of different authors and their views on leadership. It was a rather boring class, honestly. It was basically our cohort (which is around 20 people) talking about their experiences in life. Everyone talks about their bosses, work place, coworkers, previous jobs, etc.
The way the courses are designed, there is a lot of peer-to-peer learning. While, this is a nice model, it gets rather long and strung out for 4-hours during our one-day a week courses. Discussions get side-tracked rather easily. Our cohorts often get confused on exactly what’s “on topic.” Needless to say, there were some peers that established themselves early on as the ones who will do a lot of talking while the rest of the class sits, rolls eyes, sighs, and cannot wait until they get done talking.
I have done part of my work for class tonight. I did all the reading, which is more than I can say from the previous 6 weeks! It was not bad reading. One book is based on the metaphor “the organization is like a machine.” Another reading was about the “McDonaldization” of businesses, organizations, and even society. This material was finally bearable, unlike the previous course’s work.
It was interesting to read about how organizations are like machines. They are supposed to operate smoothly. Every facet of the organization has its role, if done properly, the organization completes the task at hand. Just like machines, they do their job, no questions asked and they continue to work. The “organization is like a machine” theme flowed right into the “McDonaldization” reading. McDonalds operates like that, they have their employees working specific jobs so that the restaurant functions easily and properly.
While the authors had different ideas about the whole “McDonaldization” mumbo-jumbo, it did get me thinking. It is easy to be overly-critical of McDonalds and their products, but what they do is not bad (we are not talking food quality here…that’s a different story). They try to operate efficiently. Yes, jobs are rather simple, but is that a wrong thing to do? Is it McDonalds fault that society wants its food “quick, easy, and cheap?” While McDonalds has perfected it…society demands it. We don’t want to wait on our stuff, we want it and we want it NOW. Why should there be an employee that gets my drink for me when I can do it myself? Why should I go inside to get my food when I can just get something to go, now I don’t have to waste time sitting and eating when I have things to do.
I look at what they (McDonalds) do, then compare it to the places I have been recently. I went to a local sports bar, one that I have typically been very high on, and had THE WORST service I had ever had there. The problem now, the last 2-4 times I have been there the service has continued to get worse. The server never comes around. The food service is extremely slow, we had to wait over 30 minutes for a plate of fries and a turkey sandwich. I rarely got any refills. It just astonished me that business is conducted in that manner. Meanwhile, there is a Mexican restaurant across the street and I have yet to have a bad experience there. Always have enough to drink. There’s always chips and salsa available. The food comes out in a timely manner.
While I never hardly eat at McDonalds, they know business. There is a reason why they are the leaders in the fast-food industry. Their model is used by several businesses and organizations. Critics say it makes things less “personal.” To me, we as a society have made things less personal. It wasn’t the businesses that have done it. We are constantly on the go…so businesses cater to us. We no longer want to be waited on, we want to do our own thing so we don’t have to put up with poor service.
McDonalds is efficient, something that we try to do with our own lives. We juggle multiple things at a time. We get hands-free mobile devices so we can talk and drive, work, play, etc. We hire people to do things for us if we don’t have the time, energy, or knowledge to do things. We try to simplify things. All of the above, is not necessarily bad…so why is it when it comes to business? Basically because it makes tasks tedious? Because people no longer enjoy their work?
There will always be tasks that will be tedious, no matter where you go or what you do. There will always be something in our lives that we won’t always enjoy. That’s life. Make the best of it. The goal of business is to make money. There will be winners and losers. There will be joy and sorry. There will be boredom and excitement. That’s business. Make the best of it.
Maybe McDonalds has been the smartest out of any business…just look at these economic times. Money is always an issue with any business. You try to make as much as you can. You try to spend as little as you can to make your product. You may try to put the best product out there. You try to “win over” customers to your product. McDonalds isn’t hurting and will probably never be hurting. Maybe more businesses should’ve taken their approach and been a little more conservative with their resources.
Maybe we, as individuals, should too…