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Discussion 1

Vision, Direction, Culture, Value, and Leading Change

Creating Vision & Strategic Direction

“Vision has to be translated into specific goals, objectives, and plans so that employees know how to move toward the desired future.” (Daft, 2017, p. 396) There are four parts to The Domain of Strategic Leadership. The first part is called a vision. This is how the company tells its employees and its customers where the company is headed. The next part is called a mission. The mission tells the story of who the company is. Following the mission is the Strategy, and this part is telling the story of how the company plans to reach its goals. Lastly, is Mechanisms for execution. “Strategic Leadership means the ability to anticipate and envision the future, maintain flexibility, think strategically, and work with others to initiate changes that will create a competitive advantage for the organization in the future.” (Daft, 2017, p. 398) According to a book written by (Adair 2010), A strategic leader should have the mind of an architect and not the mind of a master builder. They need to look at the long-term plan and create contingent plans for issues that arise. This way, the strategic manager can be flexible and firm. “It is best to think of strategic thinking and strategic planning as an organic function of the organization—or, more accurately, the leadership of the organization. That body of ‘thought leadership’ is wider than you, wider even than the management hierarchy. Your job is to monitor, guide, and direct it, and -at the right time—to put your stamp of authority on it. You and your team will then be free to make it happen.” (Adair, 2010)

Shaping Culture & Values

“Culture can be defined as the set of key values, assumptions, understandings, and norms that is shared by members of an organization and taught to new members as correct.” (Daft, 2017, p. 431) There are three levels of culture, according to Daft. These are visible artifacts, such as manner of dress, patterns of behavior, physical symbols, organizational ceremonies, and office layout—all the things one can see, hear, and observe by watching members of the organization.” (p. 432) Company culture is influential because it brings employees together. It helps the team share a vision and feel comradery. Culture should also line up with the company’s organizational values. “Organizational values are the enduring belief that has worth, merit, and importance for the organization.” (Daft, 2017, p. 443) When hiring teams call hire those with the same core values as them, the team will be happy and more satisfied with their work.

Leading Change

“It is the job of the leader to make sure organizations change as needed to respond to threats, opportunities, or shifts in the environment.” (Daft, 2017, p. 464) There are variables such as economic change, legal change, social change, and trends that all factor into the workplace culture and demanded. A large part of the role of a leader is to lead through change. “Leaders often see innovation, change, and creativity as a way to strengthen the organization, but many people view change only as painful and disruptive.” (Daft, 2017, p. 481) Managers can help people to change. Their job is to reason with their team and show them how this team could benefit them. “Changing people’s thinking and behavior is possible, and the keys to incorporating five elements: a positive emotional attractor, supportive relationships, repetition of new behaviors, participation and involvement, and after-action reviews.” (Daft, 2017, p. 484)

Four Questions

  1. If vision is so important, why do analysts and commentators sometimes criticize a new CEO’s emphasis on formulating a vision for a company that is struggling to survive? Discuss.

Analysts and commentators criticize the plans because they are unsure whether the new plan will work. Change requires significant planning and strategizing for a positive outcome. Some may say that there is no point in creating a plan for the failing company. CEOs who are ambitious enough to take on a failing company need to utilize four leader tools for strategy execution. The first is to create ongoing communication. “Leaders must communicate about the strategy continuously so that people throughout the organization can understand and internalize.” (Daft, 2017, p. 417) The next step is to teach why. “Leaders explain why they decided to do what they are doing.” (Daft, 2017, p. 417) In order for a leader to gain followers, they must show the game plan of what they want to do. The third step is to explain what this new thing means to each person. “People are often fearful of change, and that includes fear of a new strategic direction.” (Daft, 2017, p. 417) The last step is to tell what is not changing. “It is often good to tell employees about company strengths, what is currently working, and what will not change.” (Daft, 2017, p. 417) Employees need to understand what is a pillar amidst the change.

  1. Do you think every organization needs a noble purpose to be successful over the long term? Discuss. Name one company that seems to reflect each category of noble purpose, as defined in the chapter.

“A noble purpose inspires sacrifice, stimulates innovation, and encourages perseverance. In so doing, it transforms great talent into exceptional accomplishment.” (Daft, 2017, p. 410) A leader’s framework for a noble purpose has four categories. These are discovery, excellence, altruism, and heroism. A company that shows all four of these is Google. “People around the world turn to Search to find information, learn about topics of interest, and make important decisions. We know people rely on us, so our commitment will never waver. As technology evolves, we will continue to help everyone find the information they’re looking for. We believe Search should: Deliver the most relevant and reliable information available, maximize access to information, present information in the most useful way, protect your privacy, sell ads, nothing more, help creators succeed online, and learn more about.” (“How Google Search Works | Our Mission,” 2020) This Mission from Google demonstrates its need to find the new, brings excellent by exhibiting the most accurate information, bringing happiness through its accepting culture, and achievement to be the present information in a useful way. Google is a company that stresses excellence.

  1. Some mortgage company leaders have said that providing subprime mortgages (earn a commission by making loans to people at high-interest rates who may have difficulty making the payments) was based on the noble purpose of giving poor people a chance to participate in the American dream of homeownership. Discuss your opinion of this explanation.

Bank executives will always try to make it sound like a sale is in the interest of the person they are selling to. Salespeople might have believed that they were doing the right thing by allowing people to purchase a home with payments they couldn’t afford. It isn’t right that people can get a home only to lose it due to the inability to make the payments. This is not noble. This is a predatory-prey position. “…market agent’s behaviors during the episodes of the subprime boom and crash was based on the predator-prey dynamic.” (Mesly & Racicot, 2016, p. 926) The lender saw an opportunity to manipulate a situation to make a sale. The buyer saw the chance to buy a home and didn’t have the education to know whether or not they could afford it.

  1. Do you believe the Coronavirus pandemic will lead to any lasting changes in Organizations? What kinds of permanent changes do you envision?

The world will never be the same after the Coronavirus. Shaking hands with others will be a thing of the past. Globally people will become more distant from others. They will take more precautions when traveling. The way that organizations interact with others will change. While in American business culture, organizations strive to show an environment of welcoming and acceptance, they will now put up plexiglass walls and wear masks. These are important for the health and safety of the general public but put up barriers with their clients unintentionally. Business culture will shift permanently.

Discussion 2

In chapter 13, analyzed a leader’s role in creating a vision and providing strategic direction. One of the most critical roles a leader has is to articulate and communicate a powerful vision that will motivate and energize people towards the future and then help them implement the plans that will achieve that future (Daft 2018). We analyzed the four types of leadership direction: the dreamer, the uninvolved, the effective leader, and the doer. We must all strive to be effective leaders because they must have big dreams and transform those into strategic actions either themselves or through their teams.

Strategic leadership is the ability to anticipate and envision the future, maintain flexibility, think critically, and work with others to initiate changes that will create a competitive advantage for the organization (Daft 2018). Strategic thinkers anticipate threats and opportunities, challenge the status quo, interpret trends, and achieve buy in or alignment from employees. Strategic leaders must be adept at finding common ground and achieving buy-in among stakeholders who have disparate views and agendas. This requires active outreach. Success depends on proactive communication, trust building, and frequent engagement (Schoemaker, Krupp, & Howland).

Vision is an attractive, ideal future that is credible yet not readily attainable. Visions are ambitious future positions that the leader seeks for the company to be in. Strong, inspiring visions have been associated with higher organizational performance and greater employee motivation and satisfaction (Daft 2018). Vision links present to the future, gives meaning to work, and energizes people and focuses their attention.

In chapter 14, we considered shaping organizational culture and values. A culture should embody the values and assumptions needed by the organization to succeed in its environment. Culture gives employees a sense of organizational identity and generates a commitment to particular values and ways of doing things. Culture guides what day to day activities, behaviors, and communication styles are acceptable in an organization. Culture is very powerful in determining behavior, which can affect organizational performance. Culture integrates members so that they know how to connect with one another and it helps organizations adapt to the external environment (Daft 2018). The right cultural values can help the organization respond correctly to customer needs or moves of a competitor. Cultures are responsive or resistant to change. For an organization to maximize success, they should be responsive, high performance culture.

Leaders enact culture through articulating a vision and ensuring their day to day activities reinforce that cultural vision. To protect culture, the selection process and socialization process are critical to a firm. Leaders also employ ceremonies, stories, symbols, and specialized language to shape organizational culture and beliefs. Depending on the firm’s strategy, leaders push towards adaptability culture, achievement culture, involvement culture, or consistency culture (Daft 2018).

Values in organizations are developed and strengthened through value based leadership. This is an influence relationship between leaders and followers that is based on shared values that emphasize common good and are consistently advocated and acted upon by the leader (Daft 2018). This is important for us to know as future leaders. Not only do we as leaders advocate certain values and the vision for our culture, but we must also act upon those values and lead from the front. Doing so will bring about greater buy in from subordinates because the leader isn’t simply preaching, he or she is practicing.

#1. CEO’s are the strategist-in-chief. A new CEO is sometimes criticized for formulating a new vision for a company that is struggling to survive because change can be frightening or because they may not understand the vision or the strategy to achieving it because it was not clearly conveyed. It is a leader’s responsibility to convey the new vision and then link action items to that to achieve the organization’s mission.

#2. I believe every organization needs a noble purpose in order to be successful over the long term. This is their reason for being. It captures their idealistic motivations and inspires and leads followers to high performance and helps the organization maintain a competitive advantage (Daft 2018). Southwest Airlines is an example of a well-known industry leader founded on a noble purpose. Founder Herb Kelleher has made Southwest’s purpose absolutely clear: to democratize the skies. They have a mission and vision, but their purpose, “democratize the skies,” trumps everything (McLeod 2012). They meet the categories of excellence by being an industry leader, discovery by transforming the industry with economical travel, altruism by making travel more accessible to everyone, and heroism by continuously striving to be an industry leader and winning against larger competitors such as American Airlines and Delta (Daft 2018).

#3. Subprime mortgages are not based on the noble purpose of giving everyone a chance to participate in the American dream of home ownership. It is simply unethical behavior and bad conduct on behalf of the company. It the opposite of the American dream and is setting customers up for failure since they do not possess the resources to pay back such loans.

#4. I believe the Coronavirus pandemic will lead to a few lasting changes in organizations. I believe that remote work in some industries will persist, work will become more flexible, virtual meetings will remain a popular alternative to in-person meetings, and business travel may be more restricted going forward. Companies will also develop and keep action plans should an event like this pandemic occur again. During the pandemic, many companies realized that certain positions can operate remotely, such as mine. Being in sales allowed me to work from home for the past few months without ever stepping foot in the UPS office. Going forward, as long as goals are met, management is going to allow us more discretion in where we choose to work whether it be at the office or from home.

 

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