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Leadership role

Even though David Simon continued with Horton’s transformation process called “Project 1990”, he was able to reverse the company’s downturn and lead it back to success. The reason Simon was able to achieve a different outcome using a similar strategy was his leader management style. Simon stated “This is about the style of running the company at the top. It is not about changes in strategy.”

During his tenure at BP, Horton did not build team cohesion or provide motivational power among his employees. He had the right idea of changing corporate culture to accomplish the transformation, but he had failed to effectively articulate it to his subordinates. Many employees were disappointed with the program and were forced to deal with the change. This might have caused them to lose their sense of interest and involvement in the preparation phase, and error # 4 ensues. Specifically, loss of employee morale becomes a major problem in the initial process of change. Not only did Horton lose the “hearts and minds of [his] troops”, but also he pushed them off.

Horton began his leadership role with the idea of Americanizing BP, which was established as a British company – a mistake, in my opinion.

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Horton should have realized that attempting to establish one nation’s culture with people of another country is likely impossible, especially with British natives whose country was also a world power. Horton made another mistake by bringing more Americans into the company’s headquarters. I think this was taken as a big blow by current employees who had aspired to advance in the company. Horton’s actions were viewed as an implication to these individuals that they were not capable of taking important positions.

Horton gave them a feeling that “I am not valuable.” Moreover, Horton took away their sense of job security. This illustrates a situation similar to that of the Dashman case in which Mr.Manson appointed Mr.Post as vice president and took charge of the purchasing process. Managing people is the most complicated and important task in a company. Therefore, “When in Rome” seems to be necessary for one who will take a leadership position in an international organization. Learning the cultural background and opinions of people in a country to which you will move or even pay a visit proves to be a valuable measure to take.

Another obvious mistake Horton made was that he did not lead by action. He did not generate group dynamics or teamwork at all because he wanted things “done his way”. As stated in the article, Horton expected “others to empower their subordinates and work on trust and teamwork while – as they saw it – failing to give up any personal power or trust anyone else’s judgment as much as his own.” As I mentioned in my last journal that “trusting and being trusted” is an important factor for a leadership role. Horton failed to express his trust and respect to his colleagues and subordinates, so he did not receive them in return. The dark cloud was moving into the company’s atmosphere.

A concept that can be applied to Horton’s mistakes is the “behavioral or covert aspects” of an organization iceberg. He generated problems from all of the things under the surface regarding “attitudes & values, group dynamics, personalities, conflicts, and communication patterns.” Following the miserable situation at BP created during the early 1990s, David Simon became a hero in 1994 by accomplishing his recovery plan and bringing the company back on track. He used a management style opposite to Horton’s. He had a strong vision and goal for the future. He set a simple plan that told exactly what the company had to do and where the company would stand after completing it.

Simon had worked from the bottom up. He gradually improved the team cohesion among his subordinates at all levels throughout the company. He created group dynamics by emphasizing “the importance of personal contact.” He had an insightful method for doing this. He said “these people have their own network and see life in the organization differently than those in management.” His well thought out strategy eliminated error # 2.

He was successful in guiding coalition. He spread his ideas of corporate change throughout the entire company because he talked to all of the different groups of people who worked for him. This also helped him to avoid using a leader power to force the change, but employing peer-to-peer communication instead. I believe that peer pressure is an effective condition in constructing group norms. I think it is not an exaggeration to say that he probably developed his leadership skills and a sense of teamwork during his youth. He had obsessed with different kinds of group sports. Moreover, he listened to others and accepted their criticisms of his weak points. He took it positively. I think this is what makes him a real intellectual.

He stepped over error # 6 by implementing a simple three-year 1-2-5 plan. It is considered a short-term plan for a big corporate like BP. He created “short-term wins.” This plan proved to be successful and effective because “the goals of the 1-2-5 strategy had been achieved a year ahead of schedule.” His and everyone else’s efforts paid off. It really helped to keep the whole team motivated and encourage them to continue their hard work.

His personality was another under-the-surface aspect that kept his peer status high and drove him towards success. Simon showed the valuable leadership behaviors through advice he got from his friend, which was “Listen first, think next, and act after.” Most managers have failed this because they do not listen and clarify problems. They just rush the process to conclusion. A solution formulated without fully understanding the problem is a mistake that easily leads a team to failure. More importantly, Simon worked along with his colleagues and subordinates. He guided them to achievement. His intentional involvement paid off because everyone trusted him. Once everyone in the team trusts you, it is much easier to implement a new goal and make it happen through cooperation.

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