The Leader as a Strategist Report Report

Introduction

With the rate at which global competition is advancing, many organizations are finding it worthwhile to adapt flexibility in their production process to enable them respond effectively to the competitive pressure that is being observed in the market today. Organizations are focusing on implementing best practices which can enable them to become efficient in their production processes.

Barriers to competition such as regulation are being eradicated. Companies are also investing in energy so as to become leaner and more efficient in the production process. Investment in energy is also enabling organizations to respond quickly to the needs of the market (Porter, 1997).

The main areas that organizations are focusing on in order to boost their competitiveness include productivity, quality, and speed. As a result, companies are paying a lot of attention to increasing their management techniques so that they can boost their competitiveness significantly. The most effective management techniques and tools that companies are implementing include change management, partnering, outsourcing, total quality management, benchmarking and time-based competition.

In order for any organization to be effective, it must be efficient in its production processes. In addition, it needs to have a team of experts who would be responsible for formulating strategies for the organization which would then enable it to cope with the competitive pressure of the global market (Porter, 1997). The goal of this analysis therefore is to assess the overall alignment of Apple Inc between its vision, mission, values and strategy.

Analysis of the strategic cascade of Apple

Strategy refers to a situation whereby an organization produces goods and services in a different manner. Therefore, an organization should be able to implement measures which can enable it add value to its customers (Porter, 1997). In the case of Apple therefore, the company it prides itself in offering products that are unique in the market. It believes in offering its customers with customized products which make them to feel different from other customers.

For example, Apple designs most of its products in a unique manner. Apple is also known for creating stores which stock Apple’s products only. This has made it easy for Apple to separate its products from the rest of the computing world. At the Apple stores therefore, the customers are normally welcome to witness the kind of technology that Apple offers them thereby enabling the company to have a very close relationship with its customers (Di-Muro, Murray, & Goode, 2010).

Apple also offers complete solutions when a person buys any of their products. For example, when a person purchases an iPod, he is able to download music from iTunes directly. For the people who love using computers, most of the Mac programs are usually designed by Apple. Therefore, Apple ensures that customers fulfill their needs as a result of using the Hardware and Software from Apple. This makes the customers to remain loyal to the products that Apple offers.

Apple also commits itself to designing varied products. In this perspective it designs products that customers can be able to acquire easily such as the iPod or the iPhone.

Therefore, while many people may not be willing to invest in a MacBook because of its high cost, many people have been observed to give a try to affordable gadgets such as the iPhone and the iPod. This makes it easy for new users to be able experience Apple products. When these people use the products, there are high chances that they would purchase an Apple computer in future.

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Apple also focuses on selling its products to schools in order to increase its customer base. In this perspective therefore, Apple has been able to turn classrooms into show rooms. The pleasant user interface of Apple products makes many students who use the products to derive maximum satisfaction from them. Therefore, since the students get exposed to Apple products at an early age, they end up being Apple’s customers in future because of the experience they get while using Apple products at an early age.

Every customer in the market looks for a product that has the capacity to meet his needs adequately (Porter, 1997). In this perspective therefore, Apple engages in extensive research whereby it considers all the aspects that the customers would be looking for in a product before releasing the product into the market.

Since Apple plans meticulously, it is able to design products that meet needs of the customers fully. Since the customers become happy with the products that they get from the company, most consumers have been found making repeat purchases of the products from the company.

Apple uses similar technology to design its products. As a result, customers who have ever purchased an Apple product before always know what to expect when acquiring a product from Apple. Therefore, customers are always aware that it will be easy for them to adapt to the new hardware once it is released to the market.

This makes it easy for the customers to make repeat purchases. Though the company has been known to remain consistent in its architecture, it also offers its customers various ways to enjoy its products. For example, customers are presented with an opportunity to use Apple products at home, in the offices and while having fun with their friends.

As a result, the customers are able to remain loyal to the company. Moreover, Apple products are easily accessible and attractive. The products from Apple are also bright in color. They also contain a smiling icon and a sleek-looking hardware which appeals to the customers (Di-Muro, Murray, & Goode , 2010).

The products that Apple produces target a large market ranging from students, music lovers, small and large organizations in general. It is therefore true that the products from Apple are designed to meet the needs of every person in the market. Apple also ensures that the products it designs are capable of adding value to the customers. In this perspective, it is able to provide products that are attractive and which meet the needs of the customers fully.

In addition, Apple is known for its consistency while designing its products as well as its readiness to innovate in new products. In addition, Apple offers solutions to its customers in case they encounter any problems while using any of its products. The company is therefore sustainable in the market because of the unique strategies that it adopts while designing its products.

Apple SWOT Analysis

Apple has various strengths in the computing world. To be effective at maintaining its competitive advantage therefore, Apple is known to constantly scan its internal and external environment. The company does this so that it can manage to address any weaknesses and threats as well as assess its strengths and opportunities in order to take advantage of them appropriately (Marketing Teacher, 2012).

Strengths

Apple’s brand recognition and strong brand image serves as one of the key strengths of the company. Apple is known to develop its products in an attractive manner and in a way that meets the needs of the customers fully. When the popularity of the company was gaining momentum, the company also expanded the range of products that it was offering to its customers.

When Apple designed products such as the iPhone and the iPad, customers expected the same product quality. In addition, the customers anticipated that the products would be easy to use. Therefore, since customers regard Apple products as superior, the sales of the company keep on growing (Di-Muro, Murray, & Goode , 2010).

The financial performance of a company also plays a very important role in determining whether it can survive in the market. Those companies which are good at managing their finances end up being very successful in the market. For example, Apple is said to occupy an enviable position in the financial world.

The financial performance of the company is great. In this perspective, the company has been able to grow its capital base significantly thereby enabling it to continue expanding and increasing its competitiveness in the computing world. Many companies which do not manage their finances in an appropriate manner cannot succeed in the market today.

Weaknesses

Any company that has strengths also has certain weaknesses. In this perspective therefore, Apple’s weakness were observed when it released iPhone 4. There were concerns that the Antenna of the device could significantly lower its performance. Therefore, any product that a company recalls can damage its image significantly.

This can then make the sales of the company to drop significantly. In addition, the company is also likely to incur other expenses such as Warranty expenses which can be very costly for the organization to recover (Di-Muro, Murray, & Goode , 2010).

Opportunities

A company needs to take advantage of market opportunities in order to increase its sales significantly. In the case of Apple, the iPhone was regarded as the major opportunity for the company. Today, the iPhone is said to lead the company’s sales. It is said that with the release of the iPhone 4s, the market share of the device will increase the sales of the company significantly. In addition, more service providers are expected to support the device thereby increasing the dominance of the device.

Moreover, the tablet market is expanding at a very high rate. When the tablet market is combined with the expanding socio-cultural demand for mobile technology, the sales for the iPad market are also expected to increase significantly thereby enabling Apple to remain competitive in the computing world (Thomke & Feinberg, 2010).

Threats

In the modern competitive world, organizations are being faced with serious threats in the market. For example, the popularity of Google’s Android Operating system is a major threat to the growth of the iPhone. Many people argue that Android technology is comparable to the iPhone technology.

There are other people who argue that Android’s technology is superior to the iPhone technology. Many people are therefore shifting from using the iPhone and are now using devices that support Android technology. This is because most devices that support Android are cheaper and they have superior features like those ones which are offered by the iPhone. Since Google has become a fierce competitor to Apple, the market share of Apple is declining rapidly (Thomke & Feinberg, 2010).

Summary of the Internal Environment

The employees at Apple are very hard-working. All the managers within the organization ensure that every person performs the tasks that are assigned to him in a perfect manner. The organization also believes in providing the best quality products to its customers. As a result, the employees must be committed to working within the organization in order to meet the objectives of the organization. Apple hires the best talented and most hardworking employees.

This is in order to help the organization to remain ahead of other organizations in terms of providing quality products that meet the expectations of its customers. In addition, the organization engages in employee reward programs whose goal is to reward the best performing employees within the organization. This motivates the employees to work hard (Thomke & Feinberg, 2010).

The employees are also allowed to take part in the decision making process within the organization. As a result, all the suggestions that the employees make are put into consideration. This makes many employees within the organization to be comfortable while working for the organization. The finances within the organization are also managed in a very effective manner. Therefore, the employees are awarded competitive salaries while other funds are used to finance other major operations of the organization.

The employees are also free to interact with the senior managers within the organization. This state of affairs has created a peaceful working environment within the organization. In addition, the employees and the managers are known to work together in order to come up with effective ways of enabling the organization to compete effectively within the computing world.

The organization is also good at planning for future activities. It invests its finances in research and development in order to ensure that it is capable of providing its customers with products that meet their needs adequately (Marketing Teacher, 2012).

Kouzes and Posner’s Five Practices

Taking up a leadership position is a very challenging experience for a person. However, every organization must have a leader who would guide it to a level where it can manage to compete with other competing organizations effectively (Kouzes & Posner, 2007).

The Kouzes and Posner’s five forces can therefore be used to analyze the leadership strategy of Apple and therefore demonstrate how the company has been able to emerge as one of the most successful companies in the world. Leaders need to devise very clear strategies in order to make it easy for employees to follow in their footsteps.

It is the goal of every leader to challenge the processes that his organization undertakes. In this perspective, a leader should always look for opportunities that can enable his company to outdo his competitors in the market (Kouzes & Posner, 2007). Apple has therefore been observed to be innovative to an extent that it has been able to introduce various products in the market which meet the needs of the different income groups in the market.

For example, the iPod and the iPhone are cheap and it is therefore possible for middle and low income people to acquire the products. However, the MacBook is designed for the elite society. A leader should also be able to identify weaknesses in the products that his organization manufactures and implement corrective measures immediately. For example, when iPhone 4 was released by Apple, it was said to have problems with its Antennae. However, this issue was resolved quickly and the company continued developing the product.

In order for an organization to be successful in the market, it needs to have leaders who would ensure that the employees within the organization share a common vision. In this perspective, the leaders should encourage the employees that they can achieve anything they set their minds to do (Kouzes & Posner, 2007).

For example, Steve Jobs was a very inspirational leader. He believed in perfection and believed that Apple had the ability to achieve a significant market share in the computing world. He was a very influential person and he ensured that the employees within the organization worked extremely hard to ensure that the company achieved its objective.

Steve Jobs was also committed to enabling the employees within the organization to act responsibly. He ensured that the employees worked in teams in order to enable them to come up with products that would meet the needs of the customers. Most of the employees at Apple therefore take time to analyze the needs of the market before designing a product (Thomke & Feinberg, 2010). Once they design a product therefore, it ends up meeting the expectations of the customers thereby making the reputation of the company to grow significantly.

An effective leader should be able to show other employees with the organization a way that they can follow. A leader should be able to set a positive example by standing with what he believes in. In this perspective, Steve Jobs was observed to stand with what he believed in.

Despite the discouragements that he faced, Steve Jobs still remained persistent in producing products for the elite society (Di-Muro, Murray, & Goode , 2010). This form of uniqueness has proved to be very effective in terms of enabling the company to acquire a significant market share in the computing world.

Conclusion

From the analysis therefore, it is true that Apple has been able to attain a competitive edge in the computing world. The company believes in providing its customers with high quality products which address their needs effectively. In addition, Apple prides itself in providing unique products to its customers. Before the company produces a product, it lays a well-thought out plan to enable it understand the needs of the market fully.

This way, it is able to produce products that appeal to the eyes of the customers. In addition, the company sells its products to schools and universities thereby enabling it to create future customers (Thomke & Feinberg, 2010). The paper has also shown the various strengths that have enabled the company to be successful in the market. The company has also been able to identify opportunities which have enabled it to introduce new products to the market successfully.

In addition, the paper has shown the manner in which Apple has been able to handle any weaknesses and threats that come its way. Moreover, leaders at Apple have been known to remain committed to ensuring that the organization realizes its objectives despite the various challenges that they encounter. The strategic position of Apple has therefore enabled it to emerge as one of the most successful companies in the world today.

References

Di-Muro, F., Murray, K., & Goode , M. (2010). Strategic Planning at Apple Inc. Retrieved from http://hbr.org/product/strategic-planning-at-apple-inc/an/909A26-PDF-ENG

Kouzes, J. M., & Posner, B. Z. (2007). The Leadership Challenge. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Marketing Teacher. (2012). SWOT Analysis Apple. Retrieved from http://www.marketingteacher.com/swot/apple-swot.html

Porter, M. E. (1997). What is Strategy. Boston: Harvard Business Review.

Thomke, S., & Feinberg, B. (2010). Design Thinking and Innovation at Apple. Retrieved from http://hbr.org/product/design-thinking-and-innovation-at-apple/an/609066-PDF-ENG