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Dynamics of Leadership
Think of a leader that you know. Give examples of how this person influences others using formal authority, expertise, rewards, coercion, and charisma. How do you think people generally respond to these different influence tactics? Explain.
The former Starbucks marketing executive John Moore is a leader who is very interesting to me as he generally works very effectively with the strong personality of Howard Schultz. Moore once said, "Food is something they've been trying to solve for 20 years. The stores are set up as places to brew and serve coffee, and they don't have a back of the house suitable for the prep work and other work that goes into serving high-end pastries like these well." Moore uses his expertise of the retail food industry to exert influence on the trajectory of the company, taking Starbucks in directions that people who work there would never have imagined. Although Moore is not in the foreground in the same manner as Howard Schultz -- who is practically a household name -- he is a charismatic man. He is easy to talk to, quick to praise, and a risk-taker who owns failure rather than looking for someone to blame when his ideas don't pan out the way that he would like.
Moore, who is now COF for marketing consulting firm Brains on Fire, explained that Starbucks had struggled to achieve success with brands, especially prepared food ites or packaged beverages, that were not a Starbucks branded product. Moore championed the idea of Tazo teas, and he was ready to navigate the hazards of promoting a product that would always be a stepsister to Starbucks coffee. Moore saw that Tazo could be marketed to a target market that would be interested in Starbucks Third Place environment, but not necessarily in the coffee. Tazo was an early acquisition that was never culled from the product lineup -- primarily because Moore served as a champion for the product. And he always executed his influence in a gentle, almost organic manner that allowed him to do more than most people to change the face of Starbucks -- mostly because they didn't notice the trajectory until Moore had led them well along the path. Moore said, that Tazo teas "became a $1 billion brand almost in spite of Starbucks."
Perhaps Tazo has survived because it road on the coattails of a number of products exiting and entering the particular niche that is Starbucks. To consumers in a Starbucks store, whether online or bricks and mortar, Tazo was seen as just another product. Tazo had not really achieved status as a brand. Steve Smith, one of the founders of Tazo said that:
"I have the utmost respect for Howard Schultz, who told me when we first started putting our products on their shelves, 'Don't let us get our fingerprints all over your brand...We had to fight to get displayed on the back of an etagere, and sometimes we even got front and center. But there was this constant tension between coffee and tea and merchandise and ready-to-eat, with everyone managing those categories vying to be the next featured item in the store so they could demonstrate that they could grow their business."
Chapter 16 -- Communicating Effectively
2. Describe a communication experience you have had either at work or in a different setting. Using the materials in Chapter 16, describe the elements of the communication process (e.g. sender, receiver, etc.) Discuss any barriers to effective communicate you experienced in this particular process. Identify and explain two or three aspects of the situation that might have improved if the parties involved had followed the text's suggestions for effective communication.
Human resources in the company I work for conducts many approaches for managing and sharing the human resources responsibilities. For instance, the company routinely provides orientation training to newly hired employees as part of the onboarding process. However, the nature of human resources is bureaucratic, and the legal issues make it important to conform to the rigid processes and strategies for dealing with people. This means that communication is not free flowing and it also means that communication can go seriously awry as human resources personnel may be more focused on not saying anything that can spin out of control, rather than really getting to the heart of the matter. There are almost always two sides to a human resources story, but people in authority may be so focused on their career that they have a mindset that does foster a balanced view, or even allow them to truly hear both sides of a story. The sender of the communication was my peer and I was a receiver of the communication, and so was the human resources assistant. The communication had to do with a request for additional support and training from my peer to the human resources department. My peer had a slight speech impediment and wanted to request various trainings. The range of trainings the company offered was considerable. For example, the following were all customary training offerings for employees: 1) Employees receive basic skills training in all of the information systems that are an integral part of doing business in the firm; 2) the human resources department also conducts team training to help smooth interactions within the global teams, as diverse cultures and several languages can sometimes lead to miscommunication or confusion among members of these far-flung teams; 3) the company also supports career development for employees that have been with the company five years or longer; 4) e-training is an important component of the career development effort, particularly since the international scope of the company requires access to training according to the different time zones and the wide range of schedules people keep; 5) the company has established a mentoring program, launching it -- and re-launching -- it over a number of years (Note that the mentoring program seems difficult to sustain, even though mentees and mentors have said that they value the mutual arrangements quite a bit.); and 6) finally, there is a formal coaching program that is focused on succession for top-level executives in the company. My peer had approached the human resources assistant to request mentoring and coaching, and had said to me that he hoped this training would help him overcome his hesitancy to talk more at meetings and when working on accounts. It is important to know that the generally the coaching is part of an informal plan for promotions, and it also enables executives to help select and groom the people who are expected to replace them when they retire -- and sometimes when they simply go to work for another firm or become engaged in a start-up company. So from the perspective of the human resources assistant, my peer's request for mentoring and coaching was not appropriate since he was not at the executive level, though I know he aspired to be. As a middle manager, he had a long way to go and he was pinning his hopes on the extra attention that an experienced mentor or coach could provide. The first meeting that he attended with the human resources assistant did not go at all well. The human resources assistant was dismissive, and though she did not exactly say so, she intimated that he would not be successful in his effort to climb the corporate ladder because of his speech impediment. So my peer asked me to attend the second meeting he requested with the human resources assistant. His idea was that I would be able to direct the conversation in a more productive direction, and that with me present at the table, the human resources assistant would not go down this same path again. I came to the meeting with notes -- with explicit questions for my peer and for me to ask. I explained to the human resources assistant that I was interested in the same training as my peer, so the discussion was relevant to me as well -- and this justified my presence. In addition to using written questions -- and writing down her answers to the question -- I used active listening, repeating her comments to make certain that I understood them, before I wrote them down. Finally, I suggested two follow up meetings that would serve as check points for ensuring that progress was being made by the human resources department with regard to my requests and that of my peer. I add this comment to the end of this description of the scenario because I didn't want to impact the reader's thinking about the situation: my peer is a black man. He felt discriminated against, and I believe that was an accurate analysis.
Chapter 17 -- Working in Teams
3. Think about two teams in which you were a member. These can be either work-related or in an outside organization. Pick one team that you thought was effective and…[continue]
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