Ryan Hinchman Bus 632: Organization & Leadership Individual Research Paper on Leadership West Marine’s Mission Statement and Company Vision: “Our Mission is to be the best supplier of boating-related products and services that provide outstanding value to every Customer. We are committed to providing the best possible customer experience, so that every Customer regards us as an exceptional company and rewards us with their business.
We will provide an open, supportive, challenging, team-oriented environment where our Associates can achieve job satisfaction, professional and personal growth, and be compensated based on company and individual performance. We will work to improve and protect marine habitats, reduce our impact on the environment, and promote boating. We will achieve superior financial returns for the benefit of our Associates, Customers and Shareholders. ” West Marine’s Core Values:
Sustainability, quality products and service to our customers, to create a challenging and rewarding work environment for associates, promote boating, and achieve returns for investors. Introduction Leadership is defined as “the ability to influence a group toward the achievement of a vision or set of goals (Robbins & Judge 2011). ” Management is the ability to create order with plans and systems and monitoring results against plans, while leadership is about coping with and implementing change (Robbins & Judge 2011). For the interview portion of this project I interviewed West Marine’s CEO Geoff Eisenberg, and included he leadership style of Direct Merchandise Manger Kevin Osborne. These two individuals are both exemplary leaders that reinforce the company’s vision and mission statement in their management style at West Marine. Consideration: An Employee-Oriented Leader I asked for an interview with the CEO of my company (West Marine) at 4:26 pm on a Monday. I had an instant response from his assistant that he was available the next day at 2:30. I was amazed at how fast the response was, and that he was available and open to the conducting an interview with me.
With the huge amount of work and projects to be done by a CEO, I felt honored that Geoff Eisenberg took a half-hour out of his day to discuss his ideas of leadership and management with me. This directly spoke to his ability to administer “Individualized consideration: Gives personal attention, treats each employee individually, coaches and advises (Robbins & Judge 2011). ” This is one of four key components that represent a transformational leader. One of Geoff’s accomplishments that he is most proud of as CEO, is that QWL (quality of work life) has improved during his tenure.
This immediate response spoke directly to his emphasis on collaboration and team-building with an emphasis of concern for his associates. The leading attribute for leaders is conscientiousness in the Big 5 Model (Robbins & Judge 2011). Geoff clearly demonstrates a high-level of conscientiousness with all of his associates. Initiating Structure: A Production-Oriented Leader Geoff also spoke directly to the improvements in marketing, merchandising, and overall-growth that the company has been able to accomplish by continually being in alignment with West Marine’s vision and mission statement. We are constantly getting better (personal communication August 2, 2011). ” The conundrum of balancing the preservation of the core values of the company and stimulating progress has been systemically achieved by placing a strong emphasis on QWL while challenging growth with new store development, sales channel growth, and overall sales dollar growth for the company. Geoff takes a fair and balanced approach. When considering the Blake Mouton leadership model, Geoff would fall into the “Team Leader” quadrant. It is important to note that consideration the context of leadership is important as the model below.
A leader is more focused on people then systems and structure (Bennis & Nanus 1985). Geoff is motivated more by concern for his people then just concerns for production. [pic] The Authentic Leader Having worked under Kevin Osborne for over two years it has become apparent that his approach to leadership is best characterized as an authentic leader as cited by Robbins & Judge (2011). “The primary quality produced by authentic leaders is trust (Robbins & Judge 2011). ” The concept of authentic leaders is relatively new, however notable leaders such as Mike Ullman of J.
C. Penny and Douglas Conant of Campbell Soup have been classified as authentic leaders (Robbins & Judge 2011). These leaders foster open communication, share information, and stick to their values (Robbins & Judge 2011). By building the trust of their associates, authentic leaders are able effectively generate the motivation in driving the business. Kevin has over 20 years experience in the boating industry, and a natural talent to compromise in business strategies while maintaining the company’s core ideology.
The authentic approach to leadership secures companies futures by grounding the company’s approach to business decisions in the company’s vision. “They build first and foremost for the long-term while simultaneously holding themselves to highly demanding short-term standards (Collins & Porras 1994). ” Consider the flywheel depiction below as cited by Jim Collins (2001). Collins cited that from the outside, the break through in great companies look like revolutions, from the inside they feel like organic development (Collins 2001).
Often times, companies are not even aware of the transformation that they are undergoing, until it is complete. [pic] The key of the flywheel is to leverage the momentum for the long term success of the company, and to manage the short term pressure of the organization (Collins 2001). Leaders that successfully create momentum within the flywheel do so unknowingly to their associates. Effective leaders like Kevin do not hold motivational seminars or speeches. Instead they lead by example, and demonstrate evidence that their strategy works.
Jim Herring, CEO of Kroger stated “We tried to bring our plans to successful conclusion step by step, so that the mass people would gain confidence in our success, not just our words (personal communication 1989). ” In his 2011 Winterizing Strategy presentation to the company’s sales channels, Kevin outlined the projected strategy for our winterizing products. His presentation was supported with pricing strategy, sales trends, and a brief analysis of the competition. He let the flywheel do the talking so that the company could extrapolate the momentum for themselves.
Transformational Leaders Transformational leaders “Inspire followers to transcend their self-interests for the good of the organization and have an extraordinary effect on their followers (Robbins & Judge 2011). ” Research has shown that transformational leaders are generally the most active and effective types of leaders. “A review of 87 studies testing transformational leadership found it was related to the motivation and satisfaction of followers and the higher-performance and perceived effectiveness of leaders (Robbins & Judge 2011). Geoff has this approach to leadership that has recently been associated with more successful business then any other form of leadership. CEOs have different styles, motivated by money and success. Geoff subscribes to a people-based approach, and that production follows. Collaboration, team-oriented work, and ethical approaches to problems define Kevin and Geoff’s style of leadership. CEOs have different styles and are often motivated by different drivers. “It is a narrow vision to be driven by money and success (personal communication August 2, 2011). Geoff is motivated by the values of the company and vision statement, a strong work-ethic, and motivated to be great. I asked Geoff is he was motivated more by his successes or failures. He responded, “Probably more by the successes that have drawn me toward emulating great examples as opposed to just avoiding what not to do. There is more precision in a good example (personal communication August 2, 2011). ” Geoff takes a balanced approach to managing the business. Everything is a compromise. Often business decisions are too expensive, and the best decision is a cognitive balance. 80% of any position is interchangeable and can be done by anyone, it is the 20% that defines your value to the organization and makes you effective (personal communication August 2, 2011). ” “Transformational leaders have been described as fostering moral virtue when they try to change the attitudes and behaviors of followers (Robbins & Judge 2011). ” Core Values and Vision Jeff has taken West Marine back to its core values of excellent customer service, providing a challenging and rewarding work-environment for associates, and creating returns for investors.
He has also added the importance of sustainability and preserving the environment to the company’s vision and mission. In the new emerging business climate, companies are held to the triple bottom line: “Economic prosperity, environmental quality, and social justice (Elkington 1999). ” With the profound shift in society’s expectations, West Marine has incorporated sustainability into the company’s mission statement. “We will work to improve and protect marine habitats, reduce our impact on the environment, and promote boating. This direction of the mission statement and vision for the company are what set standards of conduct when the organization is faced with business decisions. Along with protecting the environment, West Marine is committed to making the organization a great a place to work for associates. “We’ve also remained clear that profit-as important as it is- is not why the Hewlett-Packard Company exists; it exists for more fundamental reasons (Young 1992). West Marine like HP, Motorola, and Marriott, all have made concern for their employees central to their ideology (Collins & Porras1994).
Collins cited that visionary companies do not have a singular unifying theme for their core value across all companies. His research indicated that “Authenticity of the ideology and the extent to which a company attains consistent alignment with the ideology counts more then the content of the ideology (Collins & Porras 1994). ” By focusing the company to the mission and vision statement, and applying transformation leadership techniques that encourage associates to transcend their roles, we unify the company and create a successful direction for the business and motivated employees. Success, as defined by the given attitude, requires focus with an underlying process and implementation homogeneity that excludes alternate strategic options (April & Shockley 1994). The challenge of leading an organization is to find pragmatic solutions and act consistently with the company’s core values. Core ideologies transcend business trends, technological break throughs, management fads, and even individual leaders (Collins & Porras 1994). Great leaders help make great companies by supporting and reinforcing a company’s core values. Transactional Leader
Kevin Osborne is the DMM of the merchandising department at West Marine. He is a great example of a transactional leader (transactional and transformational leaders are not necessarily mutually exclusive concepts). With multiple emerging responsibilities in a fast-paced business, Kevin effectively is able to guide his associates to established goals by “clarifying role and task requirements (Robbins & Judge 2011). ” His true talent lies in his ability to empathize with his associates, and clearly see the compromised solution in difficult business and organization challenges.
Transformational leadership is not equally effective in all situations as cited by Robbins & Judge (2011). Kevin’s style of management by exception as cited by Robbins & Judge (2011) is effective in allowing new associates to develop their own tact and approach to business solutions. Of course Kevin also deploys characteristics of the transformational model as well in order to be an effective leader and manager. He gives strong individual consideration to associates he coaches, and has a strong sense of individualized influence, instilling pride and gaining trust from the people that work with him (Robbins & Judge 2011).
When I started at West, Kevin gave me a great deal of autonomy and allowed me to develop my own approach to solving business problems and issues. The Company Vision and Mission Statement Geoff’s vision for the company is firmly based in the company’s mission statement. The statement has changed over time to incorporate the different goals of the company, and encompass the direction that business headed. This dedication to the mission statement and vision of the company highlights the strong idealized influence of a transformational leader.
He “provides vision and a sense of mission, instills pride, gains respect and trust (Robbins & Judge 2011). ” Transformational leaders set an example and encourage others to transcend their traditional roles. When I asked Geoff for advice on how one improves their career and skill-set he replied “Put yourself in a position with the potential to fail. Taking on more challenges will get you noticed, and be motivated by success. Winners like winners (personal communication August 2, 2011). Companies with vision do not rely on “Any one program, strategy, tactic, mechanism, cultural norm, symbolic gesture, or CEO speech to preserve the core and stimulate progress. It’s the whole ball of wax. (Collins & Porras 1994). ” My Leadership Style and Approach I have always prided myself on being an effective leader that inspires associates and is respected by my subordinates. For this paper I interviewed four associates (former employees from my previous job as a Project Manager so), and two current associates. I also interviewed a few superiors just to get the 360 degree feedback.
Communication and attention to detail surfaced in every interview as leading attributes to my approach to leadership. This was not something that I was completely cognizant of prior top conducting this research. My personal values to work hard and be the best in my field have made me an effective leader and manager. An area to improve on is my resilience to failure, and learning from setbacks and mistakes. The Caliper At West Marine we have a standardized test that associates take prior to being hired. One of the aspects of the management dynamics profile created by the test is leadership.
The leadership profile is based on assertiveness, aggressiveness, ego-drive, empathy, ego-strength, risk taking, urgency, and cautiousness scored from 1-100. I took the test two years ago and scored highest in empathy (my ability to sympathize and understand people), and lowest in ego-strength (my ability to bounce back from failure). [pic] The report then generates a few paragraphs based on 200 answers to questions. It suggests that I am very capable of communication my directives in a direct and convincing fashion and that I will use targeted persuasion to build consensus rather then just issue orders to subordinates.
Since I tend to be self-critical I could benefit from tempering my expectations. Task or People-Oriented Approach? While conducting the SAL “What is my Leadership Style,” I noticed that I scored an equal 7 and 7 on task and people-oriented focuses of leadership. In the Blake Mouton leadership grid, this would place me in the team leader quadrant. “You have a high attention to detail and very persistent to get the job done when we approach challenging deadlines, but you put the workers before the task (Buchannan, C. ersonal communication August 5, 2011). ” “Between task and people oriented, you lean toward people-oriented (Preto, R. personal communication August 5, 2011). ” As a Project Manager, I always made sure that my associates were paid for their work on time, even though I was often not. I set high standards for my crew, and made sure that they were paid accordingly which increased job satisfaction and productivity. This would be labeled as a transactional leader. The transformation piece of my leadership was cited by Tom Dewey. You motivated us to continually learn new trades and improve our work (personal communication August 5, 2011). ” Interpersonal Communication Downward communication is common at West Marine, as managers convey information to the organization form one management level to the next. While interviewing a co- worker named Matthias, he pointed out that I do an excellent job of communicating with my team. The communication process in formal channels as cited by Robbins & Judge (2011) doesn’t always convey the reason “why” decisions are being made. When ITT was unable to deliver our products on time, the senior executives told us to purchase the key products through the season for quarterly deliveries. You pushed back and purchased all products with monthly deliveries and we had the best in stock we have had in years. They wanted us to be in stock, but you pointed out with our normal purchasing pattern, ITT would be unable to fill POs on time and we would be in the same position we were in 2009. You gave specific details (personal communication August 5, 2011). The use of the phrase “push back” is common in our business, and really means lateral or upward communication in response to organization decisions. This particular scenario was a great example of how I effectively managed the expectations of the executive team, translated are goals into an implementable and measurable strategy, and communicated to my team “why” we are taking this approach to the business. The trait theories of leadership perspective considers “Personal qualities and characteristics that differentiate leaders from non-leaders (Robbins & Judge 2011). This understanding of personal attributes would highlight my interpersonal-communication skills as the distinguishing feature contributing to my ability to be an effective leader from my associates’ perspectives. The Big 5 I showed my 4 former associates (and 2 current) the Big 5 Model below and asked them to rate on a scale of 1-5 each trait for my style of management. The average score among my associates was highest in conscientiousness (4. 5), and lowest in emotional stability (3. 3). This again reinforces my SAL score on “Personality Insights” as I scored highest in conscientiousness and lowest in emotional stability and openness. pic] Opportunities for Future Improvement After interviewing former associates, fellow co-workers, and managers, I concluded that my most effective leadership attributes from my employees’ perspective was my ability to effectively communicate, and attention to detail. All of the traits approaches to leadership, various tests, and interviews unanimously point to me being self-critical, and needing to improve on set backs that I encounter. I am taking this as an action-item to review setting attainable goals for myself.
I need to view failures and losses as potential learning situations. Having established values and sticking to them in all business decisions is what separates great leaders from mundane managers. I also need to be more open to new experiences. As CEO Geoff said, “Continuously put yourself in position with an opportunity for failure… Take on more responsibility and you will get noticed (personal communication August 2, 2011). ” Geoff and I discussed some of his failures; unshipped mail advertising, over purchasing products, and incorrect marketing strategies.
But at the end of the day, he stuck to the company’s vision and mission statement. After 25 years he is the CEO of the organization, and well-respected by associates, vendors, and the business community as an effective leader. What I have learned more than anything from this course and interviewing associates and leaders, is that having established core values and vision are the most important attributes of being an effective leader of any organization. I consider the “Level 5” leader as depicted by Jim Collins (2002) as he described in the diagram below.
As I continue to refine my leadership skills with a balance of humility and professional determination, it is important to adhere to my personal values as well as the vision of my company. [pic] Interviews Questionnaire given to Interviewees on 8/5 Big 5 Questionnaire |Rick |Casey |Tom |Matthias |Mark |Bill |Averaged Total | |Emotional Stability |3 |3 |3 |4 |4 |3 |3. 3 | |Extraversion |5 |4 |3 |5 |5 |5 |4. 5 | |Openness |3 |3 |3 |4 |5 |3 |3. 5 | |Agreeableness |3 |3 |4 |3 |5 |5 |3. 8 | |Conscientiousness |4 |5 |4 |5 |5 |4 |4. 5 | |Grand Total |18 |18 |17 |21 |24 |20 |19. | | Interview with Geoff Eisenberg 8/2/2011 Q: What is your leadership style, how does it make you an effective leader? A: “I strive to treat people fairly, be respectful of others, and be team oriented. CEOS have different styles, some are motivated by money an d success. This is a a narrow approach. ” Q: Are leaders made or born? A: “I would like to think that they are made. I am constantly improving on my ability to effectively lead and manage people. I am the manager of a wide span of the business and I am constantly seeking to do what is right for the good of the company.
It is a constant challenge that I do not think people are innately born with, It is skill-set that needs to be developed over time. ” Q: What motivates you? A: “I am motivated by working hard, and the prospect of being great. I have said many times, I want to do what is right for our organization. If the boartd ot I believe at any time that someone else can do a better job then me, I have no problem stepping down. I am here to build a great company. ” Q: Who are great leaders that have inspired you? A: “Randy Repass the founder of this company is a great example of an ntrepreneur that was able to hire and leverage great managers to build this business. He is an inspiration to me. Walter Scott, a consultant we hired a few years back was a brilliant man, and someone I admire as a motivator. My dad was someone that worked very hard and I try to immolate. He wasn’t successful in making money, but he built a great business and put a lot of time and energy into being a hard worker. ” Q: How does an effective leader balance social responsibility and providing returns for investors and workers? A: “It’s a balanced approach. We have set up a system of QWL to make sure that people are being treated well.
We have an organized fashion to set target goals for revenue and profits for the company on an annual and quarterly basis. It is a constantly eveolving process and we are always getting better. Sometimes solutions are two expensive and we need to compromise, it is always a compromise. It is rare that I get to do things 100% the way that any party would like. 80% of any job is interchangeable, anyone can perform it. It is the 20% where you get the value of the job. For me that 20% is about making effective compromises and presenting them to people involved. ” Q: What is the achievement that you are most proud of as CEO?
A: “QWL is up, and the way that people treat each other and interact has improved. I think that is the most important thing. ” Q: What is a big mistake you have made as a leader? A: “We had a n advertisement for a product one year and I set up a marketing concept with a mail flyer. When the weekend came, no one showed up for the event. Turns out the mail did not go out in time, and no one received the flyer… I have made lots of mistakes but I always learned from them and we as a company constantly improved through the years. ” Q: How does one improve their career track?
A: “Put yourself in a position ot fail, constantly. Take on more responsibility and getr noticed. Winners like other winners. Do hard work and having a strong work ethic is important. Jerry Rice once said “I hate tp o loose. ” His primary motivation was not being great, but not loosing. ” Interview with Tom Dewey, Rick Preto, Casey Buchannan, Matthias Kennerknecht, and Mark Dewey 8/5 Q: What are the aspects of my leadership style that make me an effective leader? Rick: The way that you communicate with us. Some bosses stop by and tell you what needs to be done and walk off.
You give workers the big picture of the scope that needs to be accomplished. ” Casey: “I would agree communication was very strong with you. I remember a couple of times when you had to calm down workers when our deadlines were to close, and we got it done working over time. I think you motivate people well which is why you were a good manager for us. ” Q: Am I more task of people-oriented in my leadership? Casey: “You have a high attention to detail and very persistent to get the job done when we approach challenging deadlines, but you put the workers before the task.
I would say that you are probably more people-oriented. ” Mark: “It was always people first with you and it has to be in our business. There is no way that someone could be as effective if they cared only about getting the job done on time. It is rare that I have worked in other insurance jobs and been paid every Friday. You always put the crew first which is why they busted a__ for you. ” Matthias: “I would say your ability to understand your team. When ITT was unable to deliver our products on time, the senior executives told us to purchase the key products through the season for quarterly deliveries.
You pushed back and purchased all products with monthly deliveries and we had the best in stock we have had in years. They wanted us to be in stock, but you pointed out with our normal purchasing pattern, ITT would be unable to fill POs on time and we would be in the same position we were in 2009. You gave specific details. ” Rick: “Between task and people oriented, you lean toward people-oriented. ” Tom: “You are highly motivated and have strong attention to details of every project. We knew that if anything was not done correctly, you would find it and we would have to start all over.
You never let the details slide, but you didn’t micro manage us, you just wanted results. ” Q: How Can I improve my Leadership Skills? Matthias: “Do not be afraid to speak your opinion in company meetings. You push back on executives in private, but the company doesn’t see that. ” Tom: “Be willing to be open to new business trades. I think you have a tendency to pigeon hole yourself in one position or one industry. I think you are doing that with the MBA program. Another thing is you don’t bounce back well from set backs. Mark: “I would agree that the resiliency to failure is where you could improve. When we went over budget you took it personally as reflecting on you rather then a learning opportunity. That would be something good to work on. ” Casey: “I would say continue on your strengths, people like you and respect you. Your word is trustworthy and that is what makes people in this business. Don’t over commit to things that you cannot deliver and keep the communication lines open with your team. ” Rick: “You have a tendency to get stressed when the projects go over budget and we don’t hit our deadlines.
Using that stress to motivate you instead of hurt you is something that could be improved on. ” References: Bennis, W. G. , & Nanus, B. (1985). Leaders: The strategies for taking charge. New York: Harper and Row. Robbins, S. , & Judge, T. (2011). Organizational Behavior ( 14th ed. ). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. Elkington, J. (1999). Triple bottom line Revolution- Reporting for the third millennium. Australian CPA. Nov 1999; 69, 10; Retrieved from http://extendededonline. csumb. edu/assets/BUS632/W_3/W3_Triple_Bottom_Line_V1. pdf Collins, J. Porras, J. (1994) Built to last successful habits of visionary companies. New York, NY: Harper Business Ulrich, D. , Kerr, S. , & Ashkenas, R. N. (2002). The GE work-out: How to implement GE’s revolutionary method for busting bureaucracy and attacking organizational problems–fast!. New York: McGraw-Hill. Smith, L. (2011). Executive Council. Executive Offsite Prework Abstracts for West Marine. April, K. , Shockley, M. (2007) Diversity. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan. Collins, J. C. (2001). Good to great: Why some companies make the leap–and thers don’t. New York, NY: HarperBusiness. Image References Blake Mouton Grid. Mindtools. Image retrieved from http://www. mindtools. com/pages/article/newLDR_73. htm Big 5 Personality Triats. Gaurdian. Co. UK. Image retrieved from http://www. guardian. co. uk/lifeandstyle/2009/mar/07/personality-test Flywheel. A Kitch Consulting. Image retrieved from: http://akitch. wordpress. com/2011/06/29/always-applicable-good-to-great-by-jim-collins/ Level 5 Leadership. Mindtools. com. Image retrieved from http://claudius. blogsome. com/2009/10/01/level-5-leadership/