Difficulties Encountered by Cheryl
Lakeland Wonders is a family-owned business that has been in operation for 94 years. In order to attain its vision of business growth and competitive advantage, the firm decided to employ a CEO who is an expert in management.
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However, things did not go as expected because of managers’ resistance to change. Primarily, the new CEO, Cheryl, was encountering difficulties in trying to impose her vision of the company because of lack of support from other managers.
In addition, she faced a difficulty of convincing key managers in the company, specifically the senior vice president, Mark, to accept changes in the organisation.
The vision that Cheryl had is to outsource production from China for the Lakeland Wonders Company; indeed, she was planning an ambitious and potentially viable business contract with Bulls-Eye Stores.
However, some senior managers were not interested in that deal in the near future as they wanted to maintain the status quo.
Another difficulty that Cheryl encountered involved dealing with the union. This is due to her new bonus plan and strict deadlines policy she introduced; the plan was not received well by the union.
Cheryl also faced a challenge of fitting into a team that was closely bonded, both at work and family level. It should be noted that only family members have been operating the Lakeland Wonders Company for as long as it has been in operation.
It is only after the retirement of the preceding CEO that the company decided to hire a person from outside.
Therefore, the close ties existing between family members made them work as the whole, and as such, Cheryl needed to convince all of them that her plans were meant for good of the company.
Another important thing is that Cheryl always did successful business with the Lakeland even when she was not its employee. In fact, her performance at her previous company, Kids & Company, was beyond reproach.
Reasons why Cheryl was Encountering Difficulties
There are two ways to look at the reasons why Cheryl was encountering difficulties in performing her duties. First, Lakeland Wonders is a wholly family-owned business. Secondly, people working in the company were reluctant to change.
Cheryl always wanted to implement her strategies, beginning with the manufacturing strategy, but she had a lot work to do in order to convince the management to accept immediate implementation of the strategy.
In most cases, it is often difficult to take control of things in a family-owned business mainly because family members do not want to relinquish their dominance or control to an outsider.
This was a lesson that Cheryl learnt when she suggested the management hiring Cecil to take up outsourcing duties; nobody was interested in that idea. Normally, family-owned businesses collapse or fail to grow due to emotional challenges through which they go.
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For instance, one may have great ideas about the growth of the business, but when majority of family members fail to share the same vision, that person lets emotions reign by giving in to the decision of the family.
This is the case with Lakeland Wonders, where, despite some managers having had good ideas (for example, the sales manager and marketing manager), they were resigned to follow the decisions of senior members, such as Mark, who was one of the longest serving managers of the company.
The main reason behind the difficulties that Cheryl was encountering was reluctance to change.
This is emphasized by the statement from the former CEO that the company had been in operation for a long time and that Cheryl should have implemented new trends slowly to avoid tearing the company apart.
There are various reasons why people show resistance to change, one of them being lack of competence. In case of Lakeland Wonders, it is true that those resisting change are incompetent, based on their response to the manufacturing strategy.
For instance, Cheryl stated that Mark, the vice president, did not understand the manufacturing strategy, and that is why he did not stick to it.
Additionally, Mark did not tend to know that there were various strategies to venture into international market apart from setting up a plant in foreign land. Another reason why change is resisted is the fear of unknown.
It was evident in Mark’s opposition to the idea of changing “made in the USA” slogan as well as his position that that new strategy may have resulted in slowdown or strike.
In addition, Cheryl asked herself why the head of manufacturing, design director and procurement manager did not want to venture overseas and into new designs and consolidate vendor accounts accordingly.
Sometimes, people show resistance to change because of their strong connections to the old ways. Thus, it was a big challenge for Cheryl as she had to break that bond by demonstrating to the entire team that what she was trying to do was for the future of the company.
In Lakeland Wonders, although the managers were not completely opposed to the manufacturing strategy brought about by Cheryl, they were slow to accept its implementation immediately and tended to hold on to what they had been doing all along.
Despite these challenges, Cheryl should have not given up but she should have continued pushing forward her vision.
She needed to continue discussing the vision with all the employees in the company in order to convince them that off-show manufacturing had a great potential to promote the prosperity of the company, especially that time when global competition had intensified.