It is a sign of good leadership when vision is clearly defined and communicated throughout the organization. A major advantage leaders with a vision enjoy is that their standards are not measured by what others consider acceptable. Visionaries have no predetermined boundaries.
Michael Mitchell of Regency Company is one leader with a good sense of vision. As a business leader, he does not try to base his growth rate on his peers’ performances. Instead, his personal standards are higher than—or different from—the norm. Likewise, his perceptions are closely in tune with those of his customers. Fixing this vision firmly in his mind consistent with customer needs is, according to him, a prerequisite to his success.
I worked with Michael on Project Dynamo where we had several problems. He developed a set of strategies that involved circular thinking on the basis that optimal strategies will evolve gradually and be very interdependent. We encountered several problems then. A business, they say, is most prone to failure during its first three or so years of operation – the so-called ‘valley of death’ years. A key to getting through these early years is to avoid the obvious mistakes. Generally speaking, businesses fail for significant and substantial reasons that are often very evident to outsiders. Insiders often fail to see them because of their closeness and determination.
I worked with Michael on Project Dynamism where we had several problems such as:
A. The company needed a reinvention. It was the same drink that was sold in schools but nothing much changed in packaging or marketing
B. The employees had a low morale because they thought management would be downsizing.
C. Sales was swindling in away. The staff obviously was not motivated at all.
And here is what he did:
A. Being the main innovator in the company, Michael opened the process of innovation in order to influence people. Innovation is an incredibly powerful method that he uses to improve, awaken or save this business. Innovation allows him to keep all the good points of Smart Drink such as its professional people and its hold of the market. It allows him to get all the working parts together while he changes the corporate mission until he can find a working formula.
B. He empowered his people by encouraging employees to go the extra mile for the customers. Each staff is empowered to use his or her own best judgment to handle customer complaints. Every employee is authorized to resolve a guest complaint.
C. He spent quite a sum to on the company’s image. This included training his people in customer relationship.
He motivated the team by telling them that he would give incentives when the company’s earnings increase to 20 percent from the past year. It was a realizable goal because people were slowly getting his idea of good customer relations. After he organized the marketing of Smart drink, I marveled at how he managed the situation by doing the following:
1. He emphasized in trainings that the individual, first and foremost, must be respected.
2 He focused on the principle that the customer must be given the best possible service.
3 There was no compromise to excellence and outstanding performance. This must be pursued at all times. All three of these wonderful bedrock principles focusing on doing what’s right for the customer have guided Smart drink for years.
Michael could also be understanding and direct. When faced with the insecurities of a customer:
A. He gave exceptional service. He insisted on its execution by every employee,
B. He decreed that even when there is a thirty-day complete guarantee, and a dissatisfied customer wants a refund six weeks after a purchase, in a truly customer-driven company, an employee could rectify the situation without having to ask permission from a supervisor.
C. He says that, “When the written guarantee states that the company is not liable, the company’s unwritten commitment to service takes precedent.”
Michael as Team Leader – As a team leader, Michael is creative. He makes sure to get the best results from employees, which involves managing his relationship with them. Honesty goes a long way toward coping with the evolving relationships between employees and employers.
Michael as Client Leader – Michael encouraged that employees become enthusiastic and cheerful when they meet clients. The friendly atmosphere that these employees create cannot be found in a company manual. It is an intangible quality that is not a result of low prices or no frills. Clearly, the Smart drink management team has earned the respect of its people.
Michael as 360-Degree Manager – He embraced constant change. This means that when competition responds to his strategy, he was ready to implement his contingency plan immediately. Sometimes, even before Plan A is implemented; he was planning ahead to introduce Plan B and Plan C, always staying a few steps ahead of the competition.
Being the main innovator in the company, Michael opened the process of innovation in order to be of influenced to people. Innovation is an incredibly powerful method that he uses to improve, awaken or save this business. Innovation allows him to keep all the good points of Smart Drink such as its professional people and its hold of the market. It allows him to get all the working parts together.
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