This case study deals with how a businessman can make his business a successful one through paying attention to the customers. The leadership skills and characteristics are described through the answers to the case study problems. The first question examines the application of leadership competency model in Andra Rush’s case. The second question describes the role of mentors behind the success of Andra Rush while the third question addresses the causes of management derailment and how Andra learned the lessons form other’s failures.
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CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) is a recent phenomenon in the business world. But it got wide spread attention during the short period itself. In simple sense, “CSR is about business giving back to society.” (Corporate social responsibility).
For the business leaders such as Andra Rush, to keep up the sustainability of their business, CSR is important. It is an instrument to make relationship with the stake holders of the company. A business is exists in the society and it gets something from the society. So business has some kind of responsibility to return back it to the society. So it’s a kind of mutual benefit shared by both the business and the society. “The reasons for companies becoming interested in social responsibility are diverse. Risk protection, market positioning, recruitment, political-social relationships–each displaying an inverse relationship between immediate economic impact and degree of commitment.” (MacGregor 2009). Ultimately it will create value to the business. More than creating a positive image, It adds some strategic point to the company that may be benefited in the future. Thus it cannot be considered as occasional, moral boosting play. Rather than it will become one of the decision making process of the top management.
Here leadership skill and leadership behaviour are depicted through a study of a successful business entrepreneur. Leadership skill is one of the important skills that an entrepreneur should possess. An entrepreneur starts a new venture by employing his self-confidence and leadership skill.
Leadership competency model and it’s applicability in Andra Rush case
As per the leadership competency model, a leader should possess some competency. They are self-management, social responsibility, innovation, leading others, task management, etc.
From the case we can understand that Rush has competency of self-management; i.e. she possesses initiative and she is ready to take up new challenges. Commitment and dedication towards the work, persistence (ability to continue the work even in the difficult situation), enthusiasm and energy that are exhibiting through out the work, self confidence etc. are some of the good symbols of Andra Rush’s leadership ability. Commitment towards customers and the society is another significant aspect of Andra Rush. “Leaders must act with integrity, honesty, and justice. They must work in the best interest of others, showing respect and empathy for unique individual and cultural differences.” (Social responsibility dimension 2004).
Andra Rush exhibits innovation and creativity throughout her business career. She got the idea of starting transportation business from a man who had some bitter experience. She managed to handle the change and was able to improve (management of changes). She had foreseen the change which may occur in the future, in the business, industry and business environment. Interrogating perspective was another significant aspect of Andra Rush. That is openness to listen to others, readiness to accept ideas from others and society, ability to observe other related field and searching the solution etc. Her enterprising nature i.e., ability to find out the actual reason of the problem and after gathering as much information as possible and trying for improvement also makes her a good leader. Leading others is another criterion of leadership capability. She has now become a role model to her community. She is communicating, influencing, motivating, promoting, and encouraging other members of the community. Task management, another criterion of leadership capability, also can be interpreted from the leadership skill of Andra Rush. She is able to manage her resources, handle the task efficiently and effectively and find out solution to the problems. (Leadership competency model 2004).
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Mentors of Andra Rush who helped her to become a successful entrepreneur
“A mentor is simply someone who is committed to and willing to offer information and contacts, strategies and support to another person.” (Mentoring and entrepreneurship workshop what works! Rural entrepreneurship & community development in the northeast 2005). Mentoring will be of different types. People who are giving information when we need it, helping us in achieving our goals, supporting us emotionally, or helping us for better performance in personal life and in career can be considered as mentor. “The most successful people look not only for long-term mentoring relationships, but also for mentoring moments with people who can offer them information or guidance at a particular time. Even a single encounter can sometimes be very significant, if the person is well chosen or the moment particularly ripe.” (Mentoring and entrepreneurship workshop what works! Rural entrepreneurship & community development in the northeast 2005).
In the case of Andra Rush the family has made an important influence. She was coming from the family of Native American tribe, Mohawk. She came into the business arena without any previous experience or family background. But her family gave her all support to overcome any difficulty. Her grandmother and other immediate family members helped her to resolve the problems in business. Americans are traditionally warriors who fight against odds. And the family members taught her how to be proud in her inheritance and gaining strength from that. As per some survey, minority entrepreneurs have to acquire more education, entrepreneurial capabilities in order to be successful. (Characteristics of minority business and entrepreneurs: An analysis of the 2002 survey of business owners 2009). Thus Andra Rush’s story reminds us about the role of mentors for developing new entrepreneurs.
One of the main ability and strength of Andra Rush that differentiated her from her competitor was her listening skill. The idea to start a business house came when she knew about a bitter experience of a person. She was ready to understand the actual problem of customers. From their queries she can understand where she has to focus. A success of the organization lies in listening to its customers, who really know their needs and wants instead of getting advice from management gurus. (Listen to consumers, not marketing gurus 2008). Through the experience she learned many lessons and later became proactive when handling the customer problems. Sometimes it was beyond the expectation of the customer. “Successful marketing and customer satisfaction depend upon listening effectively to understand current customer needs, to demonstrate to customers that you understand, and to anticipate future needs. A listening-centred approach to selling can make business development fun, rich in learning, and extraordinarily rewarding.” (Listening to customers 2005).
The story of Andra Rush also reminds us how others failed. They are not ready to listen to their customers. And there comes a gap between the customers and the business unit. They provide service without understanding the customer preference or taste. Andra exhibits the ability of entrepreneur in this regard. “Entrepreneurs are often “autodidactic” learners, which means that much of what they know they learned on their own by seeking information, asking questions, reading, and research. They are also quick to learn from their own mistakes. True entrepreneurs surround themselves with those who know more than they do in related disciplines.” (12 characteristics essential for entrepreneurship).
Andra Rush’s success itself proves that she is a good leader. Even though she had to face many difficulties, she is able to become a successful business entrepreneur. The leadership competency model, tells she has all the ability to become a leader in the society. Andra knows the importance of mentors for shaping an entrepreneur, and thus she motivate and promote other community members to become self reliant. The ability to listen others and understanding their problems is also another important aspect of Andra.
Social responsibility dimension 2004, Web.
Leadership competency model 2004, Web.
Mentoring and entrepreneurship workshop what works! Rural entrepreneurship & community development in the northeast 2005, Mary Dingee Fillmore, Web.
Characteristics of minority business and entrepreneurs: An analysis of the 2002 survey of business owners 2009, SME Toolkit, Web.
Listen to consumers, not marketing gurus 2008, Branding Strategy, The Black Project, Web.
Listening to customers 2005, Business Listening.com, Web.
12 characteristics essential for entrepreneurship, 2009, Web.
Corporate social responsibility, Mallerbacker.net, 2009, Web.
MacGregor, Steven 2009, Corporate social responsibility: You must remember this, Core 77, Web.