Archie Norman Essay

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Archie Norman took the position of Chief Executive Officer at Asda during a critical time for the grocery chain. In its efforts to increase profits and diversify its business beyond grocery, Asda made two serious business mistakes and as a result Asda was nearly $2 billion in debt and at risk for defaulting on its loans. (Archie Norman at Asada) In addition to poor business decisions, Asda’s top management was misusing company funds resulting in the need to increase product pricing and a loss in market share. The company lost sight of its base customers and would likely fail if it did not make drastic changes. Norman’s story at Asda is about a leader focused on organizational change. Norman’s leadership behavior reflects heavily on principles of the Heifertz and Laurie readings. He initiated the changes by first coming to terms with the board of directors on an understanding that there may be some initial short-term losses in an effort to produce long-term profitability. (Archie Norman at Asada, page 2) Through honesty with the board, Norman was empowered to forge ahead and begin the process of identifying not only the technical challenges, but also the adaptive challenges. Norman used the first six months of his tenor to highlight the problem with the grocery chain. He was direct and honest with employees at every level about the financial condition the company was in and ignored well-meaning, yet ultimately useless advise to soften his speech. (Archie Norman at Asada, pager 3) The result was a company that fully understood the financial realities and implications of the situation. Norman “replaced four of his five direct reports” (Archie Norman at Asada, pager 2) which only further highlighted the severity of the situation to all employees and indicated that the problem was not only a financial or technical one that could be corrected with a new Chief

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