The targeted organization for the exercise was Wal-Mart. This company was selected because it was associated with sustainable business strategies capable of fulfilling the emerging needs of more stakeholders. Wal-Mart’s primary products include apparel, beauty products, household appliances, jewelry, and electronics (Hill & Jones, 2013). This means that Wal-Mart operates in the global retail industry.
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The company’s current mission is “to become the best retailer in the minds and hearts of consumers and employees” (Hill & Jones, 2013, p. 12). The firm’s vision is “to help people save money so that they can live better” (Wal-Mart, 2016, para. 2). These statements guide the company to promote powerful strategies that can deliver competitive advantages. The firm’s approach to ethics and culture makes it easier for all stakeholders to focus on the most sustainable practices.
Wal-Mart’s Strategic Management Process
Any attempts to contact and invite the company’s chief executive officer (CEO) for an interview were unsuccessful. However, the Chief Merchandising Officer (CMO) was available and presented powerful ideas about the company’s business strategy. The gathered information described the connection between business strategy and leadership. The company’s CMO, Steve Bratspies, indicated that Wal-Mart had developed a powerful strategy that was shared with every stakeholder (Wal-Mart, 2016). According to the interviewee, strategic management was a vision-guided approach aimed at redefining the firm’s position and outlining new goals.
In order to achieve the most appropriate goals, different stakeholders such as customers, community members, business partners, and suppliers were allowed to present their ideas. With proper leadership incentives, Wal-Mart’s CMO indicated that the company was able to remain a leading player in the retail industry.
Wal-Mart identifies specific issues such as the external environment whenever crafting its business strategies. This process usually focuses on the threats posed by competitors, suppliers, and customers. This knowledge ensures that every implemented strategy seeks to minimize existing pressures. Competitors such as Target and Amazon are considered in order to implement the most sustainable strategies. In order to remain competitive, Wal-Mart uses reduced prices and personalized marketing processes.
The firm uses powerful strategies to hire competent workers who can transform the playing ground. The inclusion of diverse consumer products supports the company’s business strategy. The leaders at Wal-Mart offer powerful incentives and liaise with employees in order to develop the most appropriate strategies. Such strategies are guided by “evidence-based data and information from the external and internal environments” (Brinkschroder, 2014, p. 3).
Leadership and Strategic Management
Business strategy at Wal-Mart is an ongoing process. The company attracts different employees, stakeholders, leaders, and customers in order to craft sustainable strategies. The newly-created strategies are usually guided by the needs of the stakeholders. After designing the best strategy, Wal-Mart’s managers use various platforms to sensitize more employees about it. This goal is achieved through the use of memos, emails, and training sessions (Brinkschroder, 2014).
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The leaders in different departments guide, empower and train the employees in order to support the targeted strategy. Internal capabilities are considered throughout the strategy implementation process (Thompson, Peteraf, Gamble, & Strickland, 2015). The company identifies the most appropriate resources and human capital that can drive performance. Training and formation of teams play a positive role in informing the workers about the unique aspects of the proposed strategic process.
The firm uses its mission and vision statements to inform more people about the objectives of its business strategy. Leaders are always encouraged to communicate the targeted objectives to the workers. The supervisors at the firm evaluate the success of every strategy. The company’s profitability and sales are used to evaluate the effectiveness of every implemented strategy (Schoemaker, Krupp, & Howland, 2014). These measures have played a significant role in making Wal-Mart a successful player in the industry.
Role of Leadership at Wal-Mart
The interviewee indicated that every department was involved throughout the strategic implementation process. This means that departmental leaders collaborate in order to create the most appropriate strategies and deliver positive results. The leaders guide their followers to analyze the changing needs and expectations of different customers (Thompson et al., 2015). Wal-Mart’s leaders collaborate in order to sensitize more people about the objectives, goals, and benefits of the identified business strategy. The firm recruits competent leaders who can support the proposed strategy. The company’s managers identify specific roles and responsibilities that must be executed by different players. By so doing, the company finds it easier to implement each and every business strategy.
The leaders treat every new strategy with the most appropriate urgency (Wal-Mart, 2016). The managers at Wal-Mart create “a sense of urgency by explaining to different employees why the new strategy is critical” (Hill & Jones, 2013, p. 24). They collaborate with the employees and guide them to understand how Wal-Mart might benefit from the strategy. During the implementation process, the leaders embrace different models of change such as Kurt Lewin’s framework. The models are used to identify the existing gaps and propose new practices. Such practices eventually become part of the organizational culture.
The company’s leadership focuses on the issue of empowerment. The organization uses powerful training approaches and mentoring programs to guide the workers. The employees and marketers are equipped with the most desirable traits that can drive performance. Monitoring is taken seriously at the company to ensure different systems, resources, and practices are developed to support the newly-implemented business strategy (Thompson et al., 2015). The customers and employees are always encouraged to present their reviews. Such reviews are used to identify new changes and improvements that can make every strategy sustainable. These measures show conclusively that leadership is a critical practice towards crafting and executing the most desirable business strategies.
Lessons Learned: Leadership in Crafting and Executing Strategy
This interview has outlined critical issues that must be embraced by business leaders. To begin with, leaders should be on the frontline to identify every gap in their respective organizations. By so doing, the managers liaise with different stakeholders to craft powerful business strategies capable of addressing such gaps (Baroto, Arvand, & Ahmad, 2014). The leaders should be aware of the goals of the proposed business strategy. It is also necessary for managers to engage in sustainable strategy-making processes (Thompson et al., 2015). Stakeholders such as employees, marketers, managers, customers, and consultants should be involved throughout the strategy formulation process.
The leader should be able to define the best strategic position. The individual should identify what might work positively and communicate the strategy to the targeted followers. Business leaders must consider the best strategic decisions capable of adding value to the business. The outstanding lesson here is that business leaders have a huge responsibility for ensuring that the targeted strategies are implemented successfully (Brinkschroder, 2014).
The next lesson is that leaders must be on the frontline to develop desirable organizational behaviors and cultures. The ultimate goal of such cultures is to support every proposed strategy and ensure it is executed successfully. The case of Wal-Mart explains why leaders should promote the best organizational behaviors (Baroto et al., 2014). The other critical observation is that leaders must design the most appropriate teams. The teams should be guided by competent people who understand the gaps existing in the company. The leaders should also sensitize the workers about the targeted objectives. The individuals can be trained and equipped with the most desirable resources. By so doing, more firms will find it easier to realize their business potentials.
The case of Wal-Mart explains why leaders should collaborate with their deputies to empower every employee. This practice makes it easier for the workers to focus on the targeted goals, implement the best initiatives, and realize the firm’s objectives (Hill & Jones, 2013). The leadership of an organization should monitor the effectiveness of every strategy. Business leaders should analyze the sustainability of the implemented strategy and identify new areas for improvement.
Organizational managers should always use powerful change models and leadership styles. By so doing, the leaders will support the needs of their workers and eventually implement every business strategy successfully (Hill & Jones, 2013). The workers will eventually work tirelessly in order to support the targeted organizational objectives. Every company embracing these practices will find it easier to address the major issues affecting its business performance.
Baroto, M., Arvand, N., & Ahmad, F. (2014). Effective strategy implementation. Journal of Advanced Management Science, 2(1), 50-51.
Brinkschroder, N. (2014). Strategy implementation: key factors, challenges, and solutions. Web.
Hill, C., & Jones, G. (2013). Strategic management theory: an integrated approach. Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.
Schoemaker, P., Krupp, S., & Howland, S. (2014). Strategic leadership: the essential skills. Harvard Business Review, 1(1), 1-5.
Thompson, A., Peteraf, M., Gamble, J., & Strickland, A. (2015). Crafting & executing strategy: the quest for competitive advantage: concepts and cases. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
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Wal-Mart. (2016). Web.