Communication Isn’t Frozen

By: Sabrina Mills


The purpose of this case study is to look at Disney Pixar Animation Studios and look at their organizational culture. More specifically applying their culture to the General Systems Theory. The general systems theory is applying properties of living systems to different things, including organizations. Disney Pixar Animation Studios has a unique organizational culture that tries to center around bringing everyone together, and also making sure that everyone is a part of the process. In this case study, we will take a look at how Pixar incorporates all of these aspects, keeping the general systems theory in mind, and the secrets and insides to their organizational culture.

General Systems Theory, developed by Von Bertalanffy, applies the properties of living systems to many things, including organizations. General Systems Theory applies many concepts to an organizational environment. Organizations have a set of concepts that are universal to all of them. Concepts like Output. Output is when many elements are flowing out of the system. Like when a department is working together to better the entire organization. If the idea gets put out of test or discussion, that’s output. Input is another on are the opposite of Output. Input is many ideas and elements flowing into the system (Avtgis, 2012). For example, a comment and suggestions box. If the input is being brought into the organization, then its input General Systems Theory also deals with permeable boundaries, which are the limits where elements are exchanged within the system and the larger environment. This involves exchanging information within the system and the immediate environment (Avtgis, 2012). With this, there is a clear idea of whether the organization has an open system or closed system. An open system is when the info and elements are constantly exchanged within the organization, and in between all levels. A closed system is when the info is not shared with the immediate environment. With a closed system, an organization runs the risk of entropy. Entropy is when a system is moving toward death (Avtgis, 2012). An example of entropy is Blockbuster Video. They couldn’t keep up with competition and the changing world of technology, so eventually they were pushed out by more popular competition. Another concept is Homeostasis, which the balance of the system, or keeping the system in balance. This is different departments or sections working together to maintain a steady balance or flow within the organization. General Systems Theory also deals with subsystems and suprasystems. Subsystems are the smaller system that operate in a larger system. The suprasystem is that larger system in which the subsystem operates (Avtgis, 2012).  For example, a Home Depot is a subsystem of Home Depot Corporation, which would be the suprasystem. But the lumber department of that Home Depot store is the subsystem of the store itself, which would then become the suprasystem. Each department in an organization depends on each other to be able to sustain and survive (Avtgis, 2012). Another way for an organization to survive and thrive is through feedback. Feedback is info obtained through the system that comes from the environment (Avtgis, 2012). This is just like customer feedback. Its comments, suggestions, and feedback from the public or from outside the system. The feedback could benefit the organization, so it is important to take it into consideration, because it could help further the organization. A cybernetic System takes the feedback and self-regulates the feedback to maintain the system. System maintenance is when they system maintains its current practices. System adaption is when the system changes or adapts to the feedback based on the environmental changes around it (Avtgis, 2012). An example of this is Netflix. At one point, Netflix was just a mail order DVD company. Netflix is now one of the biggest movie streaming websites in the world. Organizations are all diverse and complex just like real life organisms. There are many aspects that go into making up the organizations. The general systems theory takes an overall look at what goes into making all organization run smoothly. Organizations are complex within themselves, but in general they all take the same kind of things to make them run efficiently.

Disney Pixar Animation Studios had an organizational culture that is unique. Like every other organization, it forms around a set of elements that helps it run smoothly. General Systems Theory can be applied to all organizations to explain many elements that go towards making it efficient. Disney Pixar is the studio that has come out with some of the most iconic animated films of our time. Many examples are the Toy Story franchise, A Bug’s Life, Finding Nemo, Frozen, and many others. As a company that puts in countless hours, efforts, and brain cells into one movie, there is a system to help it run. To hold it together and make it efficient enough not to fall apart. One part of the organization that is an essential key is caring about people (Fox, 2016). Ed Catmull, who is the President of Disney Pixar Animation Studios, says that this came about while working on Toy Story 2 (Catmull, 2014).  There are countless hours put into every movie. And a lot of effort by a lot of people. The animators at Pixar worked long hours, seven days a week over a grueling nine-month period to complete the movie.  By the end of the nine months, one-third of the staff had repetitive stress injuries (Fox, 2016). This is when Pixar decided that they needed to take a step back and look at how they were doing things, and focus on their people, rather than how fast they were doing them. A principle that they now have to make sure that their people are their number on priority is ideas come from people so people need to be the priority. A vital part of any organization is the people. The people are the backbone and where all of the ideas and creativity come from, so they should be number one priority. Along with making sure the people are happy in their environment, also comes the people they work with. Sometimes people clash heads. What’s equally tough, of course, is getting talented people to work effectively with one another. That takes trust and respect (Harvard, 2016). If you don’t trust or respect someone, how do you know that the work will get done well? So Disney Pixar Animation Studios decided it needed a change. One change it made was in communication between crew and production managers. During Toy Story, they said working had been a nightmare. No one was communication well. The crew said it was hard to get work done, because they felt like they were being micromanaged (Catmull, 2014). The production managers felt that the crew didn’t listen to their advice and that they weren’t being respected. Changing this was relatively easy. The solution was to let the crew work. Let them have their creativity and be able to make decisions and changes as they saw fit. Then they had to make sure to tell their managers after they had made the change so that there were no surprises (Catmull, 2014). With trust, come trust even in failure. Trust doesn’t mean that you trust that someone won’t screw up—it means you trust them even when they do screw up (blogs, 2016). Another change that Pixar made was in getting people to communicate and have a life. Pixar decided that its people were working well, but it seemed to be all they were doing. So they fixed that. The remodeled their studios to be more of a central place. The cafeteria, the mail room, meeting rooms, and restrooms are all in the major center of everything This is supposed to foster communication with everyone. To help people to talk to each other instead of staring at computer screens all day (Reingold, 2016). There are many things that organizations could learn from Disney Pixar. One idea that Pixar fosters is Don’t be afraid of failure (Ziv). Failure is what tests out what works and what doesn’t. Failure lets you know that one thing didn’t work, but then you can change what you’re doing to help the process. With this Pixar believes that you should not fall for the illusion that by preventing errors, you won’t have errors to fix. The truth is, the cost of preventing errors is often far greater than the cost of fixing them (blogs, 2016). So, by failing, you’re discovering your errors and doing something to fix them. Another idea that Pixar tries to abide by is that a company’s communication structure should not mirror its organizational structure. Everybody should be able to talk to anybody. This is definitely helped with everyone being in a centralized area within the main part of the campus. This means that creators shouldn’t be afraid to take opinions and people shouldn’t be afraid to voice their opinions. You never know, the next iconic Disney character could come from an intern. Catmull says that great movies are made from the “tens of thousands of ideas” that go into them from beginning to completion (Stallard, 2015). This is probably very true. If hundreds of people are working on one project, they may have 1000 thoughts a day. He also maintains that the environment must be safe to tell the truth. This goes with being able to have open communication, and not being afraid to have an opinion.

In general, Disney Pixar Animation Studios does many things to make sure that it not only runs smoothly, but it had open communication and mutual working relationships on all levels. I think that it does a pretty good job at doing this. After making mistakes and realizing it, they did something to fix it. Instead of hoping that the problem fixed itself, they took initiative and came up with solutions. These solutions have worked out for everyone in the company. Not only are they now focusing more on their people, but they are focusing more on content instead of timelines. Pixar is learning from its mistakes and doing it right.

Other organizations could learn a lot from Pixar. The way that Disney Pixar was able to turn their company around after seeing how their employees were suffering, is admirable. Some organizations are ridged, and set in their way with the belief that they are doing the best for their company to run. This is also what Ed Catmull thought. But it turns out that if you talk to the employees, there are things happening that even the President wouldn’t know about. By helping the employees change and by opening communication, it also opens new opportunities and ideas. By doing this, Pixar has been able to further themselves as a company and is now one of the most successful Animation companies in the world.



3 Ways Pixar Gains Competitive Advantage from Its Culture. (2016). Retrieved October 31, 2016, from

@. (2016). How Pixar Fosters Collective Creativity. Retrieved October 31, 2016, from

Reingold, J. (2016). 5 ways your company can be like Pixar. Retrieved October 31, 2016, from

Stallard, M. (2015). Pixar’s Competitive Advantage? A Connection Culture. Retrieved October 31, 2016, from

Catmull, E. (2014, April). Building a sense of purpose at Pixar. Retrieved October 31, 2016, from

18 Principles from Pixar’s Culture. (2016). Retrieved October 31, 2016, from

Ziv, R. V. (n.d.). 6 ways Pixar successfully fosters innovation and creativity in teams. Retrieved October 31, 2016, from

Avtgis, T. A., & Rancer, A. S. (2012). Organizational communication: Strategies for success (Second ed.). Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt Pub

USAA: Training for Better Understanding

By: Sabrina Mills

The purpose of this case study is looking at USAA and how its organizational culture. This is looking at how it better understands the needs of military families, and how its customer satisfaction ratings have been ranked one of the highest in the nation between insurance companies. In this study, we look at how USAA helps its employees to better understand military families. It also takes a look at the fundamentals of USAA as a company in whole and its mission to understand its customers.

The qualities of the USAA Standard are best matched to fill the full potential of the needs of its customers. USAA is focused more on their customers needs than the bottom line, and this has led to greater customer satisfaction. An example is “Keep our membership and mission first” (USAA, 2015). This says that USAA wants to ‘protect enterprise performance, brand and reputation above my personal, unit or CoSA goals.’ Basically this means that employees are expected to uphold the goals and priorities of the company and the customers above their personal goals. So that they can help move the company forward and adapt better to their consumers changing needs. Another objective of this is to ‘be a relentless and versatile learner so that we can proactively detect and respond to membership’s changing needs’ (USAA, 2015). This goes with learning how service members needs change a lot. And sometimes unexpectedly. USAA serves to a majority of mostly service members and their families, so keeping up with this and learning how these changes, like deployment, affect their needs is crucial in keeping up with putting the customers first. Another Quality of USAA is “Create conditions for people to succeed” (USAA, 2015). With this, and ideal is ‘communicate transparently, proactively share knowledge across the team, empowering others to solve problems’. This is important in the work environment because sharing ideas can not only get more things done, but can also bring new ideas to the table which could help adapt to the needs of the people better.  ‘Contribute to a supportive team environment where new ideas and initiative are encouraged without immediate scrutiny’ is another important part of this ideal (USAA, 2015). By doing this, people are more motivated to bring up new ideas because they feel like they have voice, and they aren’t going to be shot down. A third part of this is ‘look for opportunities to push decision making to others who are closest to the work.’ An example of this is the call center workers. The call center workers make up a good 60 percent of the company, and so they are the ones who deal closest with the customers. They are encouraged to suggest changes that they believe would benefit the customers the most (McGregor, 2010). This would also be an example of an open system of communication.


The USAA standard aligns with the Situational Perspective of ethical decision making. The Situational Perspective says that ethical decisions should be made by the unique qualities of the situation. This is an important part of USAA and its beliefs. USAA wants to help better understand the needs of military families and its customers so that they can provide the best service possible. They also want to be able to adapt to its changes, so making decisions based on the situations is a good way to help them do it.

The training of USAA employees helps them to better understand their customer base. Employees go through an intense 10-week program of “training” like their military customers would. They eat MRE’s and do intense workouts and training programs in stimulated environments (Feurke, 2009). Before they go through this training though, they prepare themselves for it. They do this by going to various seminars and doing extensive workout in preparation (Shevory, 2014). By training and being in environments that simulate what their customers go through, employees can better see their point of view. And this can help them to better serve their needs.

I am in a mentoring program through the ACN, and there are some ethics that go without saying. Building a code of ethics for this program largely benefit everyone. One is treat kids with respect. This entails treating them like they matter. And that they have a voice, rather than telling them that they are small and don’t have much of a say. Another is to treat everyone equally. In this program you may have one or two kids, but you should treat all of the kids equally, whether you are their mentor or not. A third is report anything suspicious. This could mean if you see kids being mean to each other. But it could also mean if you hear a student say something that doesn’t sound right, or bothers you. A final one is don’t let them down. The kids in this program may be kids that don’t have the best home situation. So they can be used to being let down. The mentors are there to be a guide to the kids, so letting them down breaks their trust and hurts your relationship.

I would get fellow mentors accustomed to these by telling stories about kids similar to these and explain why these ethics were important to not only the program but the children as well. I would also help them with this by simulating possible environments that these kids could come from. From a volunteer standpoint, they would be put in situations and then asked how they would feel afterward. So that they were able to understand why they are so important to the kids.


Fleurke, B. X. (2009, January). Menu. Retrieved October 17, 2016, from


USAA Standards. (2015). Retrieved October 17, 2016, from


Shevory, K. (2014). Boot Camp for Bankers. Retrieved October 17, 2016, from


McGregor, J. (2010, May 01). Employee Innovator: USAA. Retrieved October 17, 2016, from

Fully Formed Adults and Netflix

By: Sabrina Mills

The purpose of this case study is to take a look at Netflix’s unique management style. Netflix believes in a fully formed adult. They also believe in treating their employees like adults. Trust is an important part of their organization. They are not held to multiple rules and codes and reviews. This case study takes a look at this style of management and what each factor can bring to the table.

The seven aspects of Netflix’s culture are what it such a unique working environment. “Values are What we value” has been defined as actual company values that are behaviors and skills that are valued in fellow employees. High performance is when you are working with people who you respect and that you can learn from. With this come Honest Always (Hastings, 2009), As a leader, no one in the group should be surprised of your views. Always be open with your team and have open communication. Freedom and responsibility within Netflix is a model to increase employee freedom as they grow rather than lower it. An example of this is vacation days. Employees are allowed to decide how long they need off as they see fit. There are times where some people are advised not to go at certain times during the month or quarter, but it’s still controlled by the employee (Harvard,2014). Context, not control says that the best managers figure out how to get great outcomes by setting the appropriate context, rather than by trying to control their people (Hastings, 2009).



Highly Aligned, loose coupled means that the strategies and goals of the organization are clear. Highly aligned is when team actions are based on strategies and goals, rather than tactics (Hastings, 2009).  Loosely coupled is minimal meetings to keep on track. It’s also trusting your team members without checking so that you can keep moving along. Pay top of market goes by the value of “one outstanding employee gets more done and costs less than 2 adequate employees. This plays into Netflix’s statement of “We only hire fully formed adults.” (Harvard,2014). They believe that you should know what other firms would pay you. Paying top of the market means that Netflix pays your value, whether they are doing well or not. Usually performance goes up when doing this (Hastings, 2009) Promotions and development says that sometimes, in some groups, there is chance and room for growth. A condition for promotion is that the employee has to be a superstar at their current position. But also is a role model of their culture and values (Hastings, 2009). Development is defined as “we develop people by giving them opportunity to develop themselves”. They do this by surrounding people with exceptional colleagues and giving them big challenges to work on. Netflix supports and believes in Self-improvement. And by surrounding the employees with exceptional colleagues, they can help promote this value.

Netflix culture fosters a successful organization by focusing more on the employee than a lot of companies, and how someone gets things done rather than the amount of it. By focusing on improvement within the organization as well as the supporting the self-improvement of their employees, they foster an empowering environment. An organization cares about their employees as much as they care about the work they are doing are going to get better results from their employees. With this, they will also have higher employee satisfaction. They also give their employees more freedom than most companies. By treating their employees like adults, instead of a number, they foster a better working relationship within the organization. With more trust, comes more responsibility. With this being said, the feeling of more trust can push people to do better work.

My experiences as part of an organization haven’t been as trust reliant as Netflix’s values. When I worked at Family Video, I was held to a set of rules, but it wasn’t as strict as a lot of companies. For example, our shoes. We were required to dress nicely, but it didn’t have to be business attire. This included out shoes. They had to be good for standing and walking for a long period of time. But there were secret exceptions. As long as we were standing behind the desk or not on the floor with customers, we could bring flip flops or something more comfortable to change into. Another exception of this is when the store was not busy. Every once in a while, one of us would walk across the parking lot to get pizza while the other held down the fort, so to speak. So there were certain rules to follow, but it was a bit more of a relaxed system.

I feel that I would be a more effective worker at Netflix. I believe that trust is an important part of any relationship. Personally, I know that when someone is counting on me, I feel more pressured to get things done. This is because I’m not a fan of letting people, including myself, down. Self-improvement is also such a huge part of anyone’s life, and if you can focus on that while also being part of something bigger, your progress excels. Improving yourself, while improving with others around you, is also a boost of self-esteem.


@. (2014). How Netflix Reinvented HR. Retrieved October 07, 2016, from

Reed Hastings, Working   Keynote Author Follow. (2009). We Support Self-Improvement • High. Retrieved October 07, 2016, from



Googling the Perfect Group

By: Sabrina Mills

The purpose of this case study was to look at Project Aristotle. It analyzes group atmospheres to see how well certain groups work together with different aspects. Project Aristotle was meant to improve work group environments by finding out what works and if it depended on who, and in this case study, we look at the results of these experiments. And determine what kind of groups and group environments work best, and what contributes to these environments.

The purpose of Project Aristotle was to figure out why some of Googles teams did well, and why some did not. Google wanted to create the perfect teams, and did so by studying everything about their employees, from who the ate lunch with, to which of the best managers share what traits. They studied whether it was better to put similar people in groups together, or whether they would thrive with people from all over the company. They looked at 180 different teams across the board, with different aspects such as personality, or background skill, but no real patterns emerged, even in the overlap. The who of the equation didn’t seem to matter (Duhigg, 2016).

Some of the key finding of the study were interesting. There were several very successful groups. But the studies found that some of them were friends outside of the group, and some who were almost strangers outside the groups (Duhigg, 2016). Some wanted strong managers, while others wanted a less hierarchal structure. While struggling to find similar patterns, the researchers came across “Group Norms”. Group norms are traditions, standards, or unwritten rules that a group follows (Duhigg, 2016). Even if members acted differently outside the group, the group norms strongly influenced how they interacted with the group. But not all group norms were the same (Duhigg, 2016). Some had free and open conversation, while others had very structured discussions. Some groups would celebrate birthdays or began with chitchat about the weekend. Others got right down to business and didn’t like to gossip (Duhigg, 2016). Another thing researches found interesting is that if a team did well on one thing, they did well on most of the projects. But if a team failed to succeed at a task, they usually failed at others as well.

Researchers for Project Aristole then wanted to find out what was most important to these groups or what they valued most in their work environment. All teams had 2 things in common. Everyone usually got turns to talk, and had equal speaking time. The other is that the good teams had “average social sensitivity”. This means that they could gauge how others in the group were feeling based on mostly nonverbal cues, such as their voice or expressions (Duhigg, 2016). Researchers sometimes refer to this as Psychological safety. This is defined as “a shared belief that the team is safe for interpersonal risk taking” (RE:work). Some other group needs that were looked at are Dependability, Meaning, and Impact. Dependability means that the team members want to know that when someone says they’ll do something, they will follow through. Meaning refers to the work that an individual is doing. They want to do something for the group that also has meaning for them personally(RE:work). Impact is understanding how the work your team is doing contributes to the whole organizations goals.

When forming effective teams, the study results are helpful. This way you can look at the results and help form effective teams based on what certain groups value most. If some prefer structured meetings or free-flow interactions. A structured meeting would have more of a closed system. Where only a few ideas are shared. And a more free-flow group would have an open system where lots of info and new ideas are being discussed.

I believe that the study’s findings are accurate. I would personally prefer to be part of an open group that has lots of ideas and info being shared. I want to be able to know who my teammates are. I was once part of this study group for a class. We would get together to study and do homework, but we’d also talk about other things and tell joes and it was very easy to get along with them.

These finding would influence my leading of a team in a few ways. I’d make sure that everyone got an equal chance to share and do their part so that they felt that they were an important part of the team. I would also want to be able to talk about outside things with the team so no one felt like complete strangers and were comfortable in the environment.



Duhigg, C. (2016). What Google Learned From Its Quest to Build the Perfect Team. Retrieved September 30, 2016, from


Re:Work – Guide: Understand team effectiveness. (n.d.). Retrieved September 30, 2016, from



Holacracy: Helpful or Hindering?

by Sabrina Mills

The purpose of this case study is to see how holacracy style management has helped or hindered the work environment at Zappos. Holacracy is a different style of management than at most traditional companies, so of course, their are going to be problems as well as improvements. This case study is to see how holacracy has affected the people at Zappos.


Holacracy is a more free kind of management style. Instead of having set heads, or people who set all of the rules and are in charge of everything, everyone has a voice. So even the smallest of positions has a say in how things are run. Through a transparent rule set and a tested meeting process, Holacracy allows businesses to distribute authority, empowering all employees to take a leadership role and make meaningful decisions (How It works).


Zappos started the transition to Holacracy is 2013.The first department to try it was Human Resources (Gelles). Mr. Hsieh knew his company needed a fix. He worried that Zappos was becoming more bureaucratic and losing some of its spark (H) . But at Zappos, conventional team-building exercises would not suffice. He needed to get weird (Gelles). So Mr. Hsieh attended a conference in Texas and got the idea of Holacracy from a man named Brian Robertson. After pestering him with questions, he knew that holacracy was they way he wanted to go.


Strengths of the Holacracy style of management is that everyone has a voice. A former call center employee. Ms. Kelly said  “A person who just takes phone calls can propose something for the entire company.” (Gelles). No one has to just go with whatever their higher ups say and then keep quiet. And everyone is part of a team.  The teams make up the departments and work together to make ideas and help contribute to the way the company is run. This is called Distributed Authority. Authority is truly distributed to teams and roles. Decisions are made locally (How it works). There are also transparent rules. This means that everyone has the the same rules. Even the CEO. And the rules are visible for everyone to see (How it works).


But like most styles of management, there are downsides to Holacracy. Ms. Kelly also said that the procedural formality of Holacracy, the ever-expanding number of circles and the endless meetings were a drain on productivity. “It’s taking time away from getting the actual work done” (Gelles). With all those meetings, anyone can propose an agenda. So with anyone proposing an agenda, sometimes the important things can get skipped over, or neglected. Another downside is compensation. Without a set job description, or a set role in a company, it’s hard to know who earns what. So Zappos came up with badging. Just like Girl Scouts, people can earn, say, a Java Coding badge or a Merchandise Planning badge by fulfilling certain requirements. Zappos says it will pay at the market rate for each skill, but every job comprises many skills (H). But in other companies, it’s harder to figure these things out.


Some Zappos employees may have been resistant to the change because they were used to a more traditional style of management. Some people prefer to have set roles and have people above them to keep the company going. Others also have dreams of being a head of something. In Holacracy, their aren’t big head positions like that.  An example of this is Hollie Delaney. She was Head of people experiences before the change, with hopes of someday becoming a VP of Human Resources. She no longer had the muscle to make things happen.  She could no longer do that at Zappos (H). Others are resistant because with anyone being able to make agendas for meetings, productivity goes way down. People start to feel like they aren’t getting enough done with all of the meetings that go on.
Other management styles that would work well at Zappos are more traditional styles. One that would work well is Consultative. Consultative is a system where there are still people at the top, but employees are still allowed to input and have a say in what happens.




How It Works. (2016). Retrieved September 23, 2016, from

Gelles, D. (2015, July 15). At Zappos, Pushing Shoes and a Vision. Retrieved September 23, 2016, from

H. (2016). How a Radical Shift Left Zappos Reeling. Retrieved September 23, 2016, from


Sabrina Mills-Strengths Finder 2.0 Analysis

by Sabrina Mills

Strengths Finder Analysis


The strengths finder analysis is a test to find out what my top skills and strengths are that will help me to better understand what kind of beneficial roles I can bring to the environment around me. I have used this recently and whenever i’m around my friends, I can tell how my strengths play out. This is beneficial in understanding my unique style as a leader because everyone has a different personality. So leadership qualities make every leadership style a little different. And each style brings something unique to the table.



This means that I like to solve problems. If I come into contact with a problem that I’ve had before. I know how to face it head on. It also means that I enjoy bringing things back to life. I like to give new life and new meaning to the things around me to try and energize the people around me. Sometimes bringing it back to life is what saves the company. In other words, I fixed it, saved it, and brought it back to life.


A possible weakness would be that I’m trying to restore something that isn’t able to be brought back. So not only would I be wasting time and effort, but i’d be wasting my skills on something that isn’t coming back.


A personal example of this is when my friends are having a fight. No matter what the situation is, I can be the party to step in and try to help them solve it. If I’m not part of the fight, this helps to solve the conflict faster. Being able to see it from both sides is also an advantage that I have when trying to help people solve problems.



Includer means that I like to make the circle wider. I want to include everyone and make sure that everyone feels welcome and not out of place. I like to make people feel the warmth of the group. I push judgments aside. Their religion, race, etc. doesn’t make a difference to me. I feel that everyone is important, and no one should be ignored.


If I came across a person I wanted to include, but this person didn’t bring good to the table, this is a weakness. I have met people who did nothing but try to bring others down and that’s not the kind of people that I want surround myself with.


My group of friends has always called me the recruiter. Whenever we meet new people or see someone sitting by themselves, I’m the one that goes over and invites them to sit with us. Whenever we meet new people, i’m the one to introduce everyone, and make sure that they know they are welcome to hang around us.



Empathy is when I can sense the emotions of people around me. I can feel their feelings as if they are my own. I able to see their side. Even if I don’t agree with the choices that they are making, I still understand why they made that choice. Im also good with helping others to find what they want to say. Finding the right words, and the right tone.


If I’m trying to help someone, and try to understand how they might feel, a weakness would be if I was intrusive, or of they didn’t want to be helped. If I step too far over boundaries, or if I make the person feel uncomfortable, all of my effort is lost. Sometimes even if I don’t agree with their choices, even though I understand, it might affect the way that I see this person, and it could affect our relationship.


One of my friends used to have conflicts with her mother a lot. Whenever she came to me about it, I would tell her that she needed to talk to her mother instead of screaming at her all the time. I suggested that maybe her mother was angry because all they did was fight all the time. She told me one day that she took my advice, and her mother and her were trying not to yell all the time, and trying to talk things out.



I am living in the moment. I can go with the flow. Whatever situations throw at me, I can take them as they come, and figure out what to do. This means that I know the future is uncertain, so I take it as it comes. I never expect anything to be exactly planned, so I know that it can change. I am a flexible person, who can stay productive.


A possible weakness is that sometimes it’s good to plan for the future because even though you never know what coming, sometimes having a set plan is the right thing to do. Because this could end up being the one certain thing for you in the foreseeable future. So sometimes having something to count on is nice when everything else is uncertain.


From personal experience, I know that nothing is certain. Relationships change, people change, people leave. Nothing is certain. But I am able to adapt to changes quickly, because that’s what I’ve had to do for most of my life. I don’t plan too far ahead because I know that things can change at the drop of a hat. I had to change schools my senior year, and so I know what life can throw at you.



I can see potential in others. I can see what they can do, as opposed to what they are doing.I believe that everyone is a work in progress, and everyone can improve and grow with every day. I look for way to challenge them. To push them out of their comfort zone and to do better. I like encouraging people, and helping them. I look for new growth in people everywhere, because all improvement is good, whether it’s big or small.


When trying to encourage people, and push them past their limits, it can get hairy. Even though you know that they have the potential to do better, some people are just set in their ways. And some people are not open to change even if they see that they can do better. So even trying to help them becomes a nuisance to them. 


I used to go to a summer camp, and there was a kid who never believed in himself. Always said that he couldn’t do something. Or that he wasn’t good enough. But the biggest thing he wanted to do was join the baseball team at his school. He didn’t believe it was even worth the shot, because he didn’t think he was good enough. I told him that he should try out anyway, because he would never know if he never tried. I told him that I believed he was good enough, and that I didn’t want him to give up. 


My five top strengths would work well together to create my own personal leadership skills. I think that I am already a leader in my own way, so my top strengths would help to refine the skills I already have. My problem solving skills would help to solve conflicts, and my empathy strength would help me to see from other people’s points of view, so I could try to be as fair as possible.


My developer skills would work well in leadership because by seeing the potential in others, I can work with them to help them reach their true potential. I can also motivate people to try their hardest so that they will be able to see that they can do more than they think they can. And with empathy, if i can see what someone is having trouble with, I can help them within my power to overcome their obstacles.
I think a lot of businesses would benefit from this type of leadership. A lot of businesses have leaders who like to settle arguments with one final decision, where my style would be to hear both sides of the story and see the problems from a different angle.


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Sabrina L. Mills

Sabrina Mills is a Junior Health and Risk Communications Major with a minor in Child and Family Studies. She is a part of the Ashland University Marching Band, as well as the Wind Ensemble and 12249959_989823551078137_7419998307371004692_nthe Concert Band. She is also an active member of the Ashland University Anime Club. This semester she will be in a program through the Ashland Center for Nonviolence to be a mentor to kids in the Ashland community. Sabrina has been involved in music for the past 11 years, and in her senior year of high school, she was awarded the Louis Armstrong Jazz Award. A personal goal that she has is to become a foster parent.


Sabrina’s previous employments are mostly based in the customer service industry. She has worked through Vector Marketing for Cutco Cutlery. This included selling household cutlery and utensils, as well as other various house oriented equipment, to people. Another job that Sabrina had was working at Family Video. This job entailed helping customers to pick out movies as well as ringing them up. It also entailed restocking shelves with returned movies and helping shift in new titles every week.


Career goals that Sabrina has include working with children and/or families. She would really like to work either in a women’s/family shelter, or in the foster care and adoption system. These careers appeal to her because with past history, she has been through similar situations as some of the people she’d like to work with. She feels as if this can help her to better connect with the people around her in these career opportunities.
A personal interest or hobby that Sabrina has is writing and music. In her spare time, Sabrina likes to write short stories or narratives. She has been writing since she was 10, and likes to make people smile with her stories. She also writes her own music pieces when she has the time.