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Leadership Essay

1736 words - 7 pages

The business dictionary defines a leader as someone who steps up in times of crisis, and is able to think and act creatively in difficult situations. Unlike management, leadership cannot be taught, although it may be learned and enhanced through coaching or mentoring. As our course material pointed out an effective leader is one who can impart effective change through the adaptive behaviors of others and shape that behavior through mobilization. Asda needed just such a leader in order to bring them back from the brink of self-destruction. Archie Norma was that leader.
Asda is a grocery store chain located in Great Britain that has once seen great success during the 90’s that is until they ...view middle of the document...

First and foremost he felt the need to truly educate the Asda workforce on the true state of the business. He gave speech after speech about the financial situation that the chain was in and in doing so started the process of regulating the distress. By not painted a rosy picture of the current situation Mr. Norman challenged his employees to rise up to the adaptive challenge and to become part of the solution for the company’s success and survival by taking on new responsibilities. To further enhance this Mr. Norman altered many of the mid-level manager’s responsibilities to eliminate any possible resistance from any of the previous managers he retained. In order to maintain the disciplined attention of his newly formed management team, Mr. Norman required that they eat, sleep and breathe the Asda way. In order to do this he required them to take up residence in a local hotel where they would tour local stores during the day talking to many employees throughout the store and then meet in small groups at nights to formulate a new vision for Asda. Through this process Mr. Norman and the management team were able to define the core values that Asda would use form here on out, they called it the Asda way of working.
Once the Asda’s management team was in place and had formulated the new core values for Asda, Mr. Norman turned his attention towards his next step in his planned overhaul. He brought renewal into the stores through his renewal process of these three steps: a statement of corporate strategy, articulation of the company’s values and the blueprint in which to work which became known as the Asda way of working. By formulating the path forward Mr. Norman and his management team imparted the cultural change that was needed at Asda. They didn’t just change the culture they shattered it and then rebuilt it from the ground up. By doing this Mr. Norman was giving the work back to the people. In a speech that Mr. Norman made to store managers laying out the Asda way of working he stated- “I see a day when our stores consist of clusters of businesses, each with their own profit-and-loss responsibilities.” By making this statement he was hoping that this empowerment and responsiveness would free the employees to engage directly with each other throughout the store rather than the compartmentalized way they had in the past. As it turned out, and as Mr. Norman expected, this is exactly what happened. Rather than being bogged down in the political machine of working through each departments management to have issue resolved the employees were free to engage other employees throughout the store for solutions.
Even though Asda was struggling to keep its head above water, Mr. Norman saw this as an opportunity to go after new customers in hopes of keeping them long term and in turn their word of mouth bringing in new customers. In the interview with Steve Tappin he stated that managers needs to manage in both the good times and bad times. That is...

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