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Harrison-Keyes Inc. (HK), known for its quality products, was once the leading organization in the publishing industry worldwide. HK is a global publisher specializing in scientific, technical, and business books and journals; professional and consumer book, and textbooks and other educational materials for undergraduate and graduate students as well as lifelong learners. 40% of HK¡¦s revenues are generated from its sales offices in Europe, Asia and Latin America. Yet as the e-publishing is becoming more and more popular, HK is starting to experience reduced sales, declined market share and profitability in
the print markets. HK is under the economic pressure and facing the biggest business crisis it has ever been facing. The leaders of the organization have to make a number of key decisions in order to turn the situation around.
Externally, HK is facing several challenges. First, the stock holders¡¦ confidence is fading as the company¡¦s stock value went down 12% from 50% to 38% in less than a decade. Second, HK¡¦s old technique is being challenged as the traditional printing business is facing a higher operation cost compare to the e-publishing and forecast is not looking well to the stockholders. Third, the company is losing its market share to its competitors in both traditional publishing and e-book business. The independent booksellers as HK are being edged out by superstores as the superstores offer mega discounts and no-question-asked return policies to the customers, therefore HK are being forced to consolidate its distribution channels and cut down the profit to the bone.
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Internally, ever since the management and the board decided to expend into the e-book business, HK is suffering from the communication problems in several departments. IT department has difficulties launching the e-book software, lacking capacity on hardware which will cause a huge amount of unexpected expense. The outsourcing plan also creates additional problems as Production department has a hard time getting in touch with the outsourced
company in India, which results in major delay on meeting the deadlines and extra expenditures. Moreover, the authors were very unhappy about not being well informed of the launch of the e-books and they are seeking legal solutions. The newly hired CEO failed to make the right decisions starting from using the outsourced company without conducting any survey or research but just going by the referral to not running a test trial on the new software before it goes live. The new CEO also failed to communicate with the authors to gain trust and confidence from them.
The human factor seems to be the main reason that HK is unable to push the e-book plan through smoothly. These problems indicate that HK lacks strong leadership; therefore HK¡¦s opportunity statement will be to become a front-line innovator to setting agenda for the entire publishing industry by developing an organizational culture that promotes discovery, imagination and empowering personnel.
To launch Harrison-Keyes into the era of the 21st century, it is
essential for Harrison-Keyes to first achieve its mission and vision by
following its core values founded in 1899. The mission statement of Harrison-Keyes is to create a set of values and a vision that attracts, finds, evaluates and
recruits players that have a set of diverse skills to fit the company norms. The company vision is: Our Vision is to be the world¡¦s most influential publishing company in the world by having the best leadership to provide the best customer satisfactions. The values which are to help Harrison-Keyes achieve its mission and vision are: excellence, integrity, fairness, innovation, adding value to our
customers and environment, commitment and consider that HK is as valuable to its customer as they are to the company.
Remember part of what the overseer says in the movie"1984" ad: "We have created, for the first time in all history, a garden of pure ideology.
Where each worker may bloom secure from the pests of contradictory and
confusing truths. Our unification of thought is more powerful a weapon
than any fleet or army on earth. We are one people, with one will, one
resolve, one cause." (Evans, B. 2005) That ugly idea hit a chord with a lot of people 22 years ago, and the same thing holds true today. None of us wants to
be limited, held down or prevented from discovery and imagination. In order for Harrison-Keyes to be prepared for the future, it must plant these seeds of developing and inspiring great talent, creating and manifesting innovation through implementing the essence of leadership.
Strategic failures are often the result of poor implementation and
ineffective leadership. Effective execution of strategies is the key to
operational success and long-term performance. Harrison-Keyes¡¦ implementation plan will be:
« Creating an innovative organization by attraction, retention,
A. Hiring more senior people from a variety of companies in the
industry, online companies and enterprise companies.
B. Recruiting great talent off college campuses.
C. Retaining our best employees by allowing them to be free thinkers and
D. Compentation. Be the highest payers in our industry. Bonus compensation
and stock option.
« Create a platform for apprenticeship.
A. Continually teaching our newbies to grow.
« Create policies that empower.
A. Every employee is allowed 20% of company time to free think and
« Leadership development (Southwest Air & Nissan)
A. Eexecute coaching. Assessment and coaching with high impact, high
profile managers to increase leadership performance through behavioral
change; results include improved relationship with boss, peers, and
Carlos Ghosn joined Nissan as its CEO in June 1999 when Nissan was $20 billion in debt. (Benjamin, T. 2005) The company was on the verge of bankruptcy and only three of their 48 models were making any profit. One year after Carlos Ghosn arrived; Nissan profited 2.7 billion dollars and had an operating margin of 10.6%. Carlos Ghosn has since cut costs, increased sales and turned Nissan around to be the most profitable automotive company in the world in terms of operating margins. His turnaround of Nissan has gained him celebrity status in Japan, where he has published books and even has an animated character based on him. When asked what the key factors in the turnaround were, the great leader responded ¡§vision, strategy, commitment, and result.¡¨(successful case)
What Harrison-Keyes is lacking is a strong leadership throughout the company. The IT leader has no formal education and his knowledge is outdated. There were costs and problems that he should have anticipated and did not. He could have prevented those problems from occurring had he had a broader vision and experience. The production manager had a hard time reaching the new overseas publishing company which no body knew anything about but just used it from referrals. Most of the problems mentioned on the scenario would have been mitigated had the CEO worked intensively with the fellow managers to gather more information and come up with a better strategic business goals and operational requirements. The new CEO failed to share the vision and goals thoroughly with neither the department heads nor the customers (authors) and that resulted in the idea of going e-publishing not being executed thoroughly by each department head.
P The managers have to build a strong leadership to see where the business is going 15 years down the road. Having a vision is important for nowadays organizations.
P Externally, a good leader has to have a very broad vision of where the organization is going, what types of markets and customers the company is going to serve.
P Internally, a strong leader has to establish with the people of the company a strategy and goal about where we're going, what the destination is and how we are going to do it. A good leader has to be able to motivate people so they will deliver the results.
P A strong commitment, whether it is personal commitment or team commitment, has to be coming from the top management to let people know that we're here to revive the company and if you don't do it well, we're out of here.
P Eventually, results are going to cement everything. Good results will give the leader the credibility and they're going to make people feel safe about the company and wanting to be part of the team.
Leadership is "a relationship through which one person influences the
behavior or action of other people." (Queenland, Australia 1998) With shared stategic vision and commitment to that vision, people will motivate themselves to learn, which also helps to identify the strategic objectives to be accomplished by
the organization. Leadership is one of many factors which can impact upon the development and implementation of strategies. A well known story illustrates the point: A group of U.S Senators were visiting NASA at a time when funding was
a threat. One Senator asked a man cleaning the floors "so what are you
doing here?" The man answered " I'm here sending a man to the moon!" (Farsight Leadership Ltd, 2004) If the methods enable every single person to know WHAT he/she is doing, and WHY, and to be EMOTIONALLY COMMITED to it, then the process of turning strategy into action is probably working.