Fire Art is a family owned business in the glass making industry based out of Indiana. The company has an 80 year history of producing high quality and high priced glass merchandise. About 18 month ago, sales and earnings bottomed out which drove the need to implement a strategic realignment plan to have the business running and winning within six months. The problem in this case is building a collaborative team with various backgrounds and skills to create a strategic realignment plan in the glass industry to take on the competition, build brand loyalty, increase sales and maximize earnings.
Assumptions The assumptions in the case are the employees lack of knowledge of the family business being in trouble due to flat earnings and sales, participation in a team environment now needed versus contributing individually, the Directors of each division needs help with learning how to collaboratively operate and co-exist together to achieve company objectives, the company is not technologically savvy with the necessary tools to compete, and the company is not known nationally or global in their industry.
Some of the key issues in the case are Team Dynamics, Team Development, Leadership Styles, Managerial Decisions, and Industry Competition which are discussed in further detailed as follows. Team Dynamics Team Dynamics plays a key role when forming a team because it is important to ensure the team is cohesive with positive energy. The team would need to reflect not only individual ideas but be mutual and complementary as they reach the goals set for the team. Team base activities are becoming standard in today’s business environments.
Having a team establishes a way for businesses to collaboratively reach their objectives and hold each other accountable for the tasks at hand. “Teamwork is everywhere. More than ever before organizations are recognizing the types of situations for which group work can provide a key competitive advantage” (Miller, 2003 p 121). Eric, the Director of Strategy had experience working in a team environment in his previous job function, however he lacked the experience needed for team development not utilized in a family business. Team Development
Various reasons, such as different objectives, priorities, personalities, perceptions, methods and styles get in the way of having effective members on a team (Adkins, 2004). Teams are very conventional in new management thinking and have become a main stay in many businesses for collaboration of ideas, goals, and strategies. However, when having a team, there may be members who are not accustomed to a team environment and cause division within the team as they try to reach their objectives.
To maintain team performance, it is increasingly important to ensure each individual on the team have high emotional intelligence. The premise for linking emotional intelligence to team performance is that high emotional intelligence enables team members to manage and be aware of their own emotions and the emotions of other team members” (Jordan & Troth, 2004). Emotional awareness and emotional management are essential attributes for team performance because they cultivate effective relationships with fellow workers to enhance team dynamics. Leadership Style Leadership skills are integral to team dynamics and development in order for the team to perform proficiently.
Leadership encompass many styles and variations based upon several factors that make up the individual leader. Forbes magazine highlights four key styles of leadership, which are Visionary, Empathetic, Humble Servitude, and Moral or Ethical (Karlgaard, 2009). These key leadership traits work together when running a major business like Fire Art. Jack, the CEO, ran the company based on his family values and lacked the vision needed to forecast changes in the glass industry. “To know and understand yourself is fundamental to knowing and understanding others and motivating them to follow your vision as a leader (Youngblood, 2010).
There are several leadership resources available to develop oneself not only at the CEO level but at all levels in order for the company to achieve its objective in the marketplace and within their own businesses with employees. What family businesses value and believe about people, work, and money shapes their behavior toward their business and their employees. Without shared values, it is difficult to create a sense of direction for the business. Managerial Decisions The decisions that managers make when running a business, forming teams, or creating strategies are very important for the overall health of the business.
Fire Art limited itself strictly in the Mid-Western region and did not embrace expansion outside of it current market area. This decision may have worked for many years in the company but it restricted its growth which allowed competition to gain market share in their industry. It is also imperative that management from a Senior level ensure their employees are aware of the direction the company wants to take in regards to increasing market share, sales and earnings particularly if they see a downward trend in those areas.
Hence, the CEO vision for their business or company becomes increasingly important along with the belief the company has a viable product or service the consumer wants. ” A manager with strong beliefs about the right course of action will attract subordinates with similar beliefs. This alignment of beliefs between managers and workers in the same company gives direction to the firm and affects incentives and coordination” (Wen & Zhou, 2009). The CEO of Fire Art believes he can turn his family business around with a comprehensive plan for strategic realignment in the glass industry.
He has made a key decision by tapping into his subordinates resources and skills along with bringing in a consultant to facilitate the process. “Every business has to examine its own situation and decide what constitutes the critical aspects of its own environment” (Heller, 1972). The Fire Art is a family own business without any mass production or national distribution. The business did not embrace current technologies or market strategies for their current industry and therefore needs to reexamine its needs in the marketplace.
The use of information technology and the Internet between small family businesses and their economic environment enables resource exchange and electronic interaction inside the company, with their client base and vendors (Niehm, Tyner, Shelly, & Fitzgerald, 2010). Fire Art has to fine tune their business in the technology area to keep ahead of their competition and remain competitive in the glass industry. Industry Competition Constant changes can be expected in products, in product lines, and models of existing products in a competitive society (Cassady, 1964).
With the evolution of various products, today’s technology plays an intricate part in how a business competes with their competition. Design, Manufacturing, and Distribution are all key roles that are intertwined together to put out the best product to the marketplace. It’s imperative that businesses stay abreast of the new technologies as it relates to their industry in order to stay ahead or compete against their competitors. Fire Art is a family owned business that has stood the test of time for about 80 years as a high end glass manufacturer.
Because of this, their Brand has longevity against the competitors in regards to standing out in the industry. ” In modern times, brands and brand management have become a central feature of the modern economy and a staple of business theory and business practice” (Desai & Waller, 2010). Fire Art can utilize their brand to propel them forward as realign and restructure their business to take on the competition in glass industry. Recommendations The plan of action is for the CEO to hold a companywide meeting to address the trouble the company is facing and why strategic repositioning needs to take place now.
In order for the strategic repositioning to be effective and provide impact to the earnings and revenue, the CEO needs to incorporate senior level management in the newly formed team. Because the CEO has already brought in a Strategic Director for the job, he should allow Eric to interview the potential team members before forming the team to ensure the goals and objectives can be met. Once the team is formed a monthly report should be provided to the CEO to assess the progress of the strategic realignment. The CEO has requested the strategic repositioning to be done in six months.
The recommendation here is to have a comprehensive plan in place in six months and then implement the plan in next six months to give the team time to work out any issues or factors that may prevent the team from reaching the ultimate objective of repositioning the company. In order to mitigate any problems that may arise during team development, it is recommended the selected team participants undergo the Stages of Group Development Model by Bruce Tuckman. Training and development is recommended for all employees to increase and maintain their current skills so they continue to be a valuable mployee to the company efforts to reposition.
The company as a whole needs to invest and implement new technologies to have their product put to market faster to keep abreast of the competition. Currently Fire Art is limited to the Mid-Western region for their glass products. It would be advisable to look at expanding nationwide in the United States and then Globally. A market analysis should be conducted in regards to new design trends, pricing, manufacturing, distribution and other factors in regards to re-branding the family business beyond the Mid-Western footprint.
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