Hannah Jones has been one of the most successful leaders in contemporary business environment mainly due to her shrewdness and intelligence. She has been very instrumental in driving innovation in relation to sustainability at Nike Inc. Her success has also been influenced by commitment of Nike in pushing for sustainability strategies. Before joining Nike, Hannah Jones had an impressive background working in “social campaigns, production, new media, and public affairs, positions her well to lead sustainability initiatives at the largest global athletic footwear and apparel company”, Nike (Henderson, Locke, Lyddy, & Reavis, 2009). This paper will discuss personality traits of Hannah Jones, as well as her leadership style and qualities, which have influenced her success in implementing sustainability programs at Nike. Moreover, the paper will discuss strategies she used to ensure that environmental sustainability was achieved. Finally, the paper will discuss personal strategies that I would apply to enhance business sustainability.
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Various personality traits of Hannah Jones may be associated with her success at Nike. These traits include focus/vision, passion, active persuasive ability, confidence, care, risk taking, and communication. Specifically, her personality trait of being focused or visionary helped her in implementing her sustainability mission using appropriate strategies. Additionally, she has been passionate about her job as evidenced by successes she achieved both in social campaigns and at Nike. Moreover, her persuasive ability as well as good communication skills were instrumental in convincing stakeholders to embrace her sustainability initiative.
Another personality trait is care, which she used effectively by demonstrating her concern for everyone affected by the company; her sustainability project provided economic benefits to the company as weel as healthy working environment for employees and protected the well-being of the community at large. Finally, she is a risk taker, who engages in projects regardless of how challenging they may be, and this is mainly enhanced by her innovative mind.
Jones uses democratic style of leadership, which has been very successful in enhancing performance at Nike. She introduced dialog with stakeholders such as policy makers, civil societies, and trade unions to solve social injustice leveled against Nike in European countries, especially Belgium and Britain. This democratic leadership is also exhibited in her engagement with human resources in initiating change, emphasis on continuous consultations and her role in creating a sense of mutual responsibility among employees (Henderson, Locke, Lyddy, & Reavis, 2009).
Hannah Jones demonstrated her leadership qualities during her time at Nike. She had appropriate experience and knowledge derived from her previous engagements, especially in social field and media, which prepared her adequately for her new role at Nike, where she successfully implemented several measures to boost sustainability. According to Grooms & Reid-Martinez (2011), effective leaders must be in a position to understand organizational structures as well as ethics and morality in enhancing sustainability. Hannah Jones introduced a culture of having tremendous focus on innovation, including how to think about things differently by embracing counterintuitive strategy, where transparency was upheld through discussing challenges and their solutions. She introduced a sense of mutual responsibility right away from the executive level.
Moreover, Hanna Jones ultimately stresses the fact that one has to continue consulting on matters concerning the business, including how to influence growth. In contemporary society, leadership in sustainability poses problems to leaders due to complex interrelationship between environment and social issues such as “stakeholder conflict, ethical choices and layers of uncertainty” (Shriberg & MacDonald, 2013). One also has to be flexible and have capacity to understand change as well as how to make it effective. Nike, as a growing company, takes precaution by expanding its human resource base carefully and selectively. At Nike, Hannah Jones introduced a compliance mechanism that focused on regulatory component where she suggested adoption of water-based chemical that was less toxic for screen-printing than the previous chemical, that necessitated the company to employ precautionary measures by providing protective gears for workers.
Hannah Jones used value-based management as one of the strategies to boost sustainability in a business. Value-based management involves formulation and management of a strategy to maximize a company’s long-term economic performance. It is marjory based on adding economic value to the company and increasing its revenue growth and financial return. Environmental costs such as liabilities, risks, and threats to business performance should be controlled. Investments in human resource, knowledge, and expertise will also influence economic value-addition, further increasing sustainability of the business (DesJardins, 2007).
It is also worth noting that sustainable marketing of goods and services among the poor has a ripple effect on economic growth and profitability of the company. They constitute the largest percentage of market for goods, thus providing a high capacity to consume, purchasing power, brand consciousness, value consciousness, and technological sophistication. If principles for marketing access, availability, and affordability are availed effectively to the poor, they will actually boost sustainability of the business (Savitz & Weber, 2006).
According to Savitz & Weber (2006), strong business leadership is an important ingredient for the sustainability of a business. Viable leadership in any organization enforces the implementation of its goals, vision, and principles, and enhances their fulfillment through daily encouragement and motivation of employees. An active and strong leader boosts the morale of workers, allowing them to have a sense of commitment towards fulfillment of those goals (Christopher, 2007).
Planning ahead of time boosts business sustainability in that, unforeseen factors that might cripple the existence of the business are avoided or prepared for in advance. The importance of planning would also be seen during financial constraints, such as the American recession, and other structural constraints, such as the extinct of the business in case of natural calamities or personal mistakes; planning will provide a fallback plan that will aid the company to continue running (Wilson & Sasseville, 1999).
Vision is the first strategy that I will apply for sustainability in business. It creates a clear point of view of principles, guidelines, goals, and performance factors that will inspire employees and other stakeholders to work towards it. It keeps reminding them of implementation process to achieve a stated vision (Christopher, 2007). Development of honest self-awareness of the financial situation of the company is also an important factor to business sustainability. The ability to see clearly and state the real condition and performance of the company as well as acknowledge any existing shortcoming enhances chances of improvement and stabilization of productivity in the company.
In conclusion, sustainability in a business can be achieved if a business leader implements strategies based on the environment the business operates in, economical factors, social factors, human resources and a personal initiative to growth; thus, a leader must have desire to grow. As illustrated by the personality profile of Hannah Jones of Nike, being visionary is very important in influencing others to achieve the goals of a company. Here, self-awareness is vital, as it allows commitment in establishing the direction the company is coming from and where it is heading to, thus enhancing implementation of sustainability strategies.
Transparency, effective communication, and accountability are essential ingredients to sustainability of business, especially in matters related to ethical business and change management. Finally, Hannah Jones has been successful at Nike due to her ability to employ value-based management strategies that enhance economic performance of a company, thus boosting financial and market sustainability.
Christopher, W. F. (2007). Holistic management: Managing what matters for company success. NJ, USA: John Wiley & Sons. Web.
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Desjardins, J. (2007). Business, ethics, and the environment: Imagining a sustainable future. NJ, USA: Pearson. Web.
Grooms, L., & Reid-Martinez, K. (2011). Sustainable Leadership Development: A Conceptual Model of a Cross-Cultural Blended Learning Program. International Journal of Leadership Studies, 6(3), 412-429. Web.
Henderson, R., Locke, R., Lyddy, C., & Reavis, C. (2009). Nike Considered: Getting Traction on Sustainability. Web.
Savitz, A., & Weber, K. (2006). The triple bottom line: How today’s best run companies are achieving economic, social and environmental success – and how you can too. CA, USA: Jossey-Bass. Web.
Shriberg, M., & MacDonald, L. (2013). Sustainability Leadership Programs: Emerging Goals, Methods & Best Practices. Journal of Sustainability Education, 5(1), 1-21. Web.
Wilson, W., & Sasseville, D. (1999). Sustaining environmental management success: Best business practices from industry. NJ, USA: John Wiley & Sons. Web.