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The Four Functions of Management Essay

Charles Schultz did for coffee what Henry Ford did for cars; these men took their product and made them available to the masses en mass and the masses embraced these products. Cars and coffee are an important part of everyday life for most of us living in America. Are there foundational elements of management that both Henry Ford used as well as Charles Schultz when building their empire’s even though a hundred year separates them? What are these foundations of management? This paper will look at four foundations/building blocks of management. It then will explore these building blocks in a real-world setting, at Starbucks, one of the greatest success stories of corporate America.

There are four building blocks of successful management: planning, organizing, leading and controlling. All great management is built upon this foundation. The four building blocks of management are like Lego’s, one built upon one another causing each level to become stronger, building a firm foundation. If there is any weakness in any of these blocks, it could cause a crack in the foundation and a loss of profit for the company.

The planning level is considered the first of the four building blocks of management. In the planning level the management of the company evaluates where the company is, where the company wants to go, and what the company can do to succeed with the goals set before them to be achieved. Once this level of management has been accomplished the company can plan out the company’s goals implementing the strategies to get there. Planning is not just an immediate outcome, planning looks at the current situation, the future goals, determines objectives, looks at the activities that the company will participate in, deciding strategies and determining specific resources to accomplish the set plan and goals. Within the planning level the management must be realistic in their processes or the company will end in failure.

The next building block of management is organizing. The management needs to organize the resources to carry out the plan which was previously established in the planning level. During the organizing process management should determine the organizational structure within the company, establish and maintain relationships with the staff and also allocate necessary resources to further the company’s success.

The third building block of management is leading. Leading is when the managers work with employees stimulating them to become more successful performers. Within this level the managers meet with employees individually and within group settings. The managers have the day-to-day contact with the employees guiding them to aspire to achieve the goals of the company.

The fourth and last universal building block of management is called controlling. Controlling is where managers monitor performance. Managers must quickly and competently make decisions based on prior sales and performances to make things better for the future. They tweak the day to day happenings to obtain the goals of the company. This is also where they use the resources as recognized in the planning level. Good managers make certain they meet the company goals of profitability, quality, and safety for the company’s end results of growth and profit.

These four building blocks of management, the same ones that helped build Henry Ford’s empire and change the world are the very same ones that Starbucks used to create their empire. Everything Starbuck’s has done, is, and will do, happen because these four building blocks are the foundation of its structure. In the late nineteen seventies, Charles Schultz planned everything around one concept at his then one and only coffee shop in Seattle, Washington.

During the planning stage is where Starbucks philosophy was birthed, this philosophy has led to total domination in the coffee arena. Starbucks came up with the philosophy of the “third place.” Starbucks purposely creates a warm and welcoming environment so that the customer will consider the Starbucks establishment their “third place.” First is home, second is work, and third is Starbucks: a cozy environment, a haven, and a place where the customer has a sense of belonging. This haven does not just happen but rather it is in the organization of staff and duties that creates this environment.

Organization at Starbucks is centered on the customer. The staff spends their time creating fresh drinks, a clean environment, and on the customer themselves. The Starbucks goal is quite simple: Starbucks creates inspired moments in each customer’s day. It is the organization of duties that provides for inspired moments for the customer with a great product, a clean environment, and exceptional service.

The leadership at each store is equipped to anticipate and provide for the customer’s needs during their visit. Each store has control over the pastries it serves, how much and when to order as well as the coffee it brews. The leadership partners with the barista’s, inviting them to be the best part of the “product.” The product isn’t so much coffee, as it is the “third space.”

Controlling as defined above and at Starbucks is the partnership between the leadership and the barista. Each barista connects with the customer by forming ongoing relationships. The barista is to know the customer by name and drink. The Barista is well equipped to serve and interact with the customer who brings pride, care, and attention to all details in creating the highest quality and best tasting beverages for each customer.

The founder of Starbucks, Howard Shultz, said, “If there’s one accomplishment I’m proudest of at Starbucks, it’s the relationship of trust and confidence we’ve built with the people who work at the company. We treat warehouse workers and entry-level retail people with the kind of respect most companies show only for high executives.” (The Starbucks Experience, 2010) Not only does Starbucks have great employees but by following these management foundations Starbucks creates highly satisfied customers.


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