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AN ATTITUDE OF CHANGE
by Robin Schwartz
University of Idaho

ITV SERIES: IT'S STRICTLY BUSINESS: An Introduction to the World of Business

GRADES 9 - 12

OVERVIEW

In this lesson, students will get an overview of the way in which businesses change and what it takes to make the changes and keep ahead of the competition. The necessity of flexibility, being open to options, and thinking about globalization. A major theme in this lesson is that of attitude and how corporation succeed based on the attitude they take about change.


LEARNING OBJECTIVES

  • Students will be able to explain the importance of flexibility in business.
  • Students will be able to demonstrate an understanding that change is a normal occurrence in business and that change provides opportunity.
  • Students will be able to discuss the importance of a lean, mean business vs. one that is overloaded with debts and is so large that it cannot maneuver well.
  • Students will be able to describe an attitude of change.
  • Students will have the opportunity to demonstrate the need for globalization.

MATERIALS

  • PBS Video It's Strictly Business: "Responding to Change"
  • Computers and Internet access

EXTENSIONS

Invite CEO's from assorted size businesses in to speak about how they view change and how it affects their business.


PREVIEWING ACTIVITIES

Students will be asked the following questions:

  • What is the importance of change in the business world?
  • What opportunities does change provide?
  • What qualities are valuable to the future of businesses?
  • What attitude is needed in the world of business today?
  • What is globalization and what is it's importance?
  • There are many aspects of change that business needs to take into consideration - what are some?
 

FOCUS FOR VIEWING

To give students a specific responsibility while viewing, they are to listen carefully for information about the following:

  • The reasons for change in business - what is taking place that makes change so important in today's business world.
  • How companies respond to change.
  • The opportunities that exist with change and about the normal occurrence of change.
  • What the battleship/speedboat mentality is about.
  • The elements that businesses should be aware of in the future to be successful.
  • The importance of globalization and what businesses need to know about going global.
  • The importance of change to the customer.

VIEWING ACTIVITIES

START the video and PAUSE just before the speedboat mentality is explained- when he says "turn this huge organization in order to achieve what we want to achieve." Ask students what is the battleship mentality? Discuss what companies can the students think of that fit the battleship mentality?

RESUME the video and stop just after the speedboat mentality when it changes to globalization. Discuss with students the speedboat mentality and what companies can the students think of that fit the speedboat mentality?Are there certain industries that fit one category more so than the other category?

RESUME the video and STOP just after the discussion after the comments by Lee Kennedy when the words Global Edge are crossing the screen and the comment "Changes that take place in another country may affect directly or indirectly the way we're doing business. So the more we are aware of changes that happen at other places, the stronger we will be in managing our own lives and our own businesses." Discuss with students what current international events are occurring that may be affecting business, change and the economy? Ask students what aspects of the changing world do businesses need to think about?

 

POSTVIEWING ACTIVITIES

Ask students to think critically about the following:

  • What is the leading edge?
  • How can a company become flexible and agile?
  • What kind of attitude do you need to go global?
  • Why are we interdependent on other nations economically?
  • What companies did the video show and how do they relate to the concepts of responding to change?
  • What stood out the most from the video that had to do with responding to change?
  • How does change impact the customer?
  • What type of businesses do you patron that you think should react more quickly to change?
  • Students will get into groups and assess a company's ability to react quickly to change.

The students will check out information on the company on the company web site, including financial information, size, growth rate, globalization, customer needs/wants, the company's ability to be flexible, the company's attitude, and the opportunities the business has for change.

The students need to determine whether their company is a battleship or a speed boat and provide information supporting their decision. Students will develop a new plan for change, including a product they develop, for the company they have researched.

The teacher will need to ensure that there is an adequate representation of the battleship and the speed boat, as well as local, national and international companies so that students can see the differences between each type of company.

Students will present their finding from the above activity in a PowerPoint presentation to their classmates


For additional lesson plans and ideas relating to this topic and many others try TeacherSource at PBS Online! You will find activities, lesson plans, teacher guides and links to other great educational web sites! Search the database by keyword, grade level or subject area! Mathline and Scienceline are also great resources for teachers seeking teaching tips, lesson plans, assessment methods, professional development, and much more!


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