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However, they focus on cost efficiency and development programs can be costly. Also at this stage, it is crucial to differentiate between the various resources which are required, such as technological resources, financial resources or labor force resources (Mayhew, 2011). This specifically implies that it is necessary to recognize and accept the costs of the development program. It is for instance plausible for the program to generate operational inefficiencies and Wal-Mart has to accept these short-term limitations.
6. Communications. Communications play a crucial role in the development of managers at Wal-Mart, but also at any other economic agent. Communication is in essence "so fundamental, that without it, no organization can exist and function effectively towards achieving its goals" (FK Publications). In order to enhance communications, John M. Grohol recommends the following:
a. Stopping and listening to the other party
b. Forcing oneself to hear what the other is saying
c. Paying attention of body language and other nonverbal signs
d. Focusing on the matters which are of the essence in the respective situations
e. Minimizing emotion and remaining objective
f. Accepting to cede an argument and an opinion.
7. Aside from actual communication, the plan for managerial development must also teach the middle managers how to interact with their subalterns and how to motivate them. In other words, it has to teach them the essential people skills. Some tips to developing people skills -- and as such gaining their trust, respect and loyalty -- include the following:
a. Sharing personal experiences with the subalterns
b. Recognizing one's mistakes, but not blaming others for their mistakes
c. Continually talking in a positive manner and choosing the words carefully
d. Never badmouthing other persons (Living to Win, 2010).
While the above mentioned tips to developing people skills are essential in interacting with the staff members, it is also necessary for the manager to be able to motivate the staff members to as such generate loyalty to the firm. In motivating the employees, the manager is advised to:
a. Recognize the individual features of each staff member and identify the elements which best motivate them. While some employees would be motivated by financial rewards, others would be motivated by flexible working schedules or the ability to professionally develop oneself. A relevant example of company which developed a comprehensive incentive program is represented by Google, which has as such managed to create high levels of employee satisfaction, loyalty and retention (Google Website, 2011).
b. Treat the employees as equals and understand the elements which motivate every one of them
c. Communicate in a clear manner and provide sufficient information -- including technical data
d. Promote empowerment, creativity and innovative thinking
e. Realize the strong link between employee motivation and employee -- and implicitly organizational -- performance
f. Maintain high expectations and clearly communicate them
g. Reward and recognize the merits of the employees. Reward exceptional performance and morally support and motivate the staff members
h. Promote accountability, responsibility and build trust (Bruce, 2006).
8. Respect individuality. The development process is a team one, in which the managers come to learn how to work together and how to motivate the employees to support the company in reaching its overall objectives. Nevertheless, an adequate development program recognizes the individuality of its trainers. In other words, the program will recognize and accept independent opinions, views, attitudes, motivations or intellectual capitals (Bright).
9. Control. The final stage of the management development plan sees that the lessons learnt by the leaders at Wal-Mart are adequately applied. Emphasis would be placed on evaluation of the means in which they are able to motivate and constructively interact with the staff members. Also, at this stage, it is crucial to retrieve feedback from the subalterns of the middle managers and assess their perception on the progress made.
Wal-Mart is the largest retailer in the United States, but it is often criticized for the compromises it has made in the name of the lowest retail price. In order to improve its image and public perception, the corporation has launched a program of increasing corporate responsibility in the relationship with various stakeholder categories, such as employees, customers, business partners or the general public.
The complex program which has been created can however only succeed in a context in which it is adequately understood and implemented by highly skilled and trained middle managers. The role of these middle managers is important due to the fact that they represent the liaison between the executives and the employees. In order to prepare the managers for the future responsibility, a plan has been devised. This plan is formed from the gradual implementation of nine stages: delimitation of organizational and program goals, executive commitment, strengths and weaknesses, resource allocation, communication, motivation individuality and control.
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Hoeger, W.W.K., Hoeger, S.A., 2008, Fitness and wellness, 8th edition, Cengage Learning, ISBN 0495388408
Hughes, M., Potter, D., 2002, Tweak to transform: improving teaching: a practical handbook for school leaders, Continuum International Publishing Group, ISBN 1855391406
Jacobson, D., 2010, Using IDPs to leverage strengths, GovLeaders, http://www.cornerstoneconnections.co.za/news/articles/high-performance/item/29-six-steps-to-effective-performance-management.html last accessed on May 9, 2011
Lipman, F.D., Lipman, L.K., 2006, Corporate governance best practices: strategies for public, private, and not-for-profit organizations, John Wiley and Sons, ISBN 0470043792
Mayhew, R., 2011, Steps for an employee development program, eHow, http://www.ehow.com/how_7879216_steps-employee-development-program.html last accessed on May 9, 2011
Stroup, J., Create a management development plan, American Society for Training and Development, ISBN 1562865218
2010, How to master people skills in 5 easy steps, Living to Win, http://livingtowin.com/how-to-master-people-skills-in-5-easy-steps / last accessed on May 9, 2011
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