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Strategic Management Interview with CEO


The interviewee is Mr. Clyde. The CEO has been in office for close to thirty years and the company in question mainly deals with the construction of parts for houses and offices. He started working in the company as a General Manager. These components are packed and shipped outwards to their destinations from where they are unpacked and assembled into the finished products. Their client also includes the government.

Their employee base has shifted from sixty employees to about twenty-three in the last four years. Their business is by order. This means that they work on contractual terms and they are only operational when they have a business order. The amount of orders that they have, will therefore determine the amount of space that they occupy, this has direct proportionality; the more the orders available, the more the space they occupy and consequently the more employees that they have at any given point in time. However, they do not stock any products at any given time and they only produce these on order.

Most of the employees that are hired in this company are former prisoners. These are approached while in prison and offered a chance to work with the company. In addition, because they want to reform, they take up their duties diligently and responsibly and put in all the effort they can maneuver and consequently both the company and the employee benefit at the end. The CEO believes in giving members of the society a second chance to reform and by getting employees straight from prison is one way that he gives second chance to the society members


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The advice given to those who are in the early stages of their careers is that they should be hard working, they should be willing and open to learning opportunities and they should also have the initiative to improve both themselves and others that they work with. In addition, they should not have an attitude of always wanting to do things the way they see right. Rather, they should be open to suggestions as to how others carry out the same tasks and in what manner they do it. In order to be prosperous in a company, one should strictly adhere to the company policies and rules, which will be a guide to their success. Moreover, if one has an idea, they should follow the correct channels in executing these ideas instead of directly imposing, in which case it might land them into trouble and even cost them their job placement!

The CEO is charged with the responsibility of executing the strategies as approved by the Board of Directors and in developing the Group objectives through leadership of the senior executive team (MacKenzie, 2006). The CEO will propose to the Board any new investment or any new business opportunities that may arise and which meets this strategy as resolved. The CEO also ensures that the company’s risks are sufficiently taken care of and appropriate internal controls are in place. The CEO is responsible for meeting with shareholders and ensuring effective communication between the company and its shareholders.

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The CEO in question is a family man and thus most of the time spent outside of work is with family. He has a wife with three children. The basic duty of this CEO is to provide oversight on the jobs that are being done in the company as he heads a very capable team that does a very efficient job, which gives him an easy time in the running of the company.

The CEO basically stays in touch with his employees by interacting with them frequently at the workplace. He usually walks around and talks to them on a one-on-one basis. Further to this, he sometimes plans cookouts in the farm away from the work place and invites his employees to join him there. At this 'meeting', he interacts with the employees each at a time and finds out if they are encountering any difficulties at the workplace. If so, he goes ahead to collect information on how these can be resolved in order to improve on the employee output. He believes in communicating directly with the respondent be it the employees of his children. He believes that the issue of mass communication and text messaging does not really pass the point across, and he says that if the employee or even child for that matter, does not have time to talk to him face to face, then they rather not text message him at all!

On the other hand, the CEOs office is open to the employees and they can walk in whenever they are free to do so. On the table is a jar of candy which the employees are free to pick from. At some point, the company used to invite the employees to have turkey together during thanksgiving. However, with time, they opted to offer gifts and vouchers to the employees.

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Strategic management is both an Art and a Science because all these aspects are encompassed in it. However, strategic management has a little bit of Science and much of Art. The company strives to teach the employees their way of doing things and also look for those who have initiative to come up with new ideas and projects. Being a small company, they are not rigid or fixed on a certain aspect of view.

For the CEOs, they have to deal with different kinds of people who carry out different types of tasks. There are those who do all the work in the company but in the end they end up getting underpaid, while there are those who do not have much work to do, but end up getting hefty pay nonetheless. The CEOs have to grapple with these kind of decision making whether they are beneficial to the company or not.

CEOs can keep the entire organization in balance by ensuring that the employees are satisfied at their workplace and that they are comfortable. The consumers also are to be taken care of, and they should receive satisfactory services and goods in order to make them happy and ensure that they return many more times over.

The intelligent, well-trained, well-educated and highly-motivated executives make bad decisions mainly due to lack of a positive attitude. They possess a care-free type of attitude and thus if they are capable of doing a good job, but without the right attitude, they will not be able to perform their duties in the best way possible. A good executive will manage the business enterprise better than if it were his or her own business because they have been entrusted with the job. Those with a poor attitude towards work will end up ailing miserably at the work place.

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A firm may be said to be well managed if the figures in the books are good and the company is making money. If the company is doing better than other similar companies that ply the same trade, then the company can be deemed to be doing well. However, if the company is performing poorer than companies that are in the same field, then the company can be said to be performing poorly. These comparisons can be made to gauge the performance of a company viz-a-viz its potential in the industry. The duty of the employees is to make money for him or herself first, that is the main reason that they go to work. And in order to get that money, the employees have to make money for the employer. Hence a well-managed firm makes profits and the employees are well paid and are happy to do their job.

CEOs should have very little control and they should bear the greatest responsibility in the company. All the decisions as pertaining to the company will fall on the CEO and he will be answerable to the board. The CEO will also go ahead and bear the consequences as a result of the decisions, on the other hand, the control of the company does not lie with the CEO, and rather, the CEO delegates the control of the company to the employees that he has confidence in and those that he trusts. For these employees, a token of appreciation and reward is given to them maybe in form of monetary value or other forms that are worthy to the employees.

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An excellent CEO can be described as being honest, caring to his employees, responsible to the organization that they are working for. All these put together summarize the qualities of the CEO. However, the CEO is no better than any other employee of the organization. On the contrary, they may only possess certain special or extra-ordinary skills that others do not have. They might also have slightly more experience than the others. The CEO needs the rest of the employees just as they need him. Therefore they need each other in order to realize their goals in the organization.

The CEO is obliged to operate within the legal law of the country. All employees are treated on the same platform without discrimination. Despite the race, sex, religion and education among other factors, all employees are given the same treatment. This company started hiring ex-convicts, and the difference between them and the rest of the others is that the others were not caught. For example, to sell and consume alcohol in the country is legal but within the company it is illegal. As for drugs, these are not allowed in the company and according to the law of the land in general. Consumption of alcohol and drugs within the company may lead to the consumer to bringing a great loss to the company by doing things the wrong way and running other employees over. The output returns of the alcohol and drug consumer are reduced by a great margin. Hence, these practices are among those that are not allowed by the company CEO.

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In order to deal with ethical and moral predicaments, one cannot apply double standards all over, in that they apply moral principles at work and act immorally out there. The fact is that these behaviors will spill over each other. As a CEO, he gives these kinds of people a chance to change what they are doing in the company by reforming or otherwise leave the company to go somewhere else where double standards can be applied. By involving all stakeholders in a forum which will educate them on the importance of working together, and the disadvantages of these ethical and moral problems, it is possible to eliminate any kind of prejudice among the employees. For those who exhibit any of these negative attitudes, they are given a chance to change their attitude and blend together with the rest of the members or to otherwise leave the organization if they find it difficult to have an overhaul of their attitude for the better of their colleagues, themselves and the company in general.

The corporate scandals include offering of bribes by the corporation in order to get a license for example, to carry out other extra duties. This is immoral and it will definitely spill over to the operations of the company. However, this is not the right channel to follow as it will adversely affect the company and its employee in a very negative way, and their morals will be corrupted.

The corporation is not directly responsible to the society in general. However, the corporation is directly responsible to the employees, to the owners and to the customers too. The corporation can however give employment opportunity to the members of the society to work and earn some money from which they can translate to development in the society. The corporation cannot however take its hard earned money and give it to the people who do not have a passion to work. Therefore the corporation is only responsible to those who are directly involved with the corporation.

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The decisions that a CEO makes are aimed to be for the better of the organization and company in general. However, there may be a few individuals who may view the same thing in a different perspective which will benefit only a couple of people including him (van der Veen, 2003). Therefore if the CEO makes decisions in favor of the few individuals of the company, then the greater good of the company will be thrown out in to the air. The goals and achievements of the company would not be achieved hence making the CEO ineffective and inefficient. However, on making the decisions, the CEO will consider an aspect of the few individuals and stakeholders, where they will come to a truce and be satisfied partly. In this respect, the CEO is in no position to meet the needs and demands of all the stakeholders, but a good CEO will try as much as possible to cover all the majority stakeholders’ needs and requirements. This can be attributed to the fact that CEOs keep changing from time to time and each new CEO comes with their own policies, which differ, from the former CEO.

Corporate culture basically entails the manner in which the company treats its employees, customers and also stakeholders. It also involves the general attitude of the company towards trade and operations. It is important because it has a direct impact on th company's returns. If the employees are satisfied with the way they are being treated by the management, then they are most likely to give their best at work. Consequently, this leads to the increased company returns. Satisfied customers are most likely to be more loyal to the company or organization and this guarantees continued and sustained market for the company's products and services.

Corporate culture can be changed basically by altering the attitude that one has towards work. Those that have a positive attitude will tend to have better corporate culture and they will prosper in their work. Any negative attitude towards the employees, customers or the stakeholders will mainly tend to have negative returns to the company. The attitude of the employees can also be changed in order to make them enjoy their work. The company could also give good quality products and services and offer the better price in the market. This helps to attract the customers.

Corporate culture affects strategy and competitive advantage of the company in one way or another. For example, if the employees have a good attitude towards what they do, then they are better placed to execute the strategies of the company. And in their putting effort in what they do, they will lift the firm to a higher level, giving them an advantage over their rivals.

Diversification of a company may be done within a sphere in the same company depending on the type of business that is being dealt with. The idea of starting another business altogether may be costly and may not work well. On the other hand, production of different goods and products within the same sphere may be manageable and cost-effective. For this company, they specialize in construction and supply of house parts. The diversification to produce other parts of houses is very sensible to them as they are guaranteed of a market share and the production costs are minimal. It is therefore only sensible to diversify the operations of the company within the given spheres and areas of specialization, rather than to engage in a whole lot new business venture altogether. These should also be related in one way or another to ensure security of market and customers in order to avoid production and advertisement costs which may impact on the company’s returns at the end.

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Synergy is when members of the company work in collaboration and support for each other towards achieving the company goals. For example, the manager or CEO may not have the expertise of carrying out a certain task within the company, but he has the capability of selecting the person who seems best fit for the task. They may also offer leadership skills which are significant in running the company altogether. Since not all the people or employees may have the skills to carry out all the duties in the company, distribution of responsibility will play a major role in the ensuring that the company is successful in its endeavors. The roles that each employee plays in the company are dependent on their colleagues’ and cannot be executed independently. That is what synergy is all about, working and supporting each other.

It can however be difficult to achieve synergy in a company where some of the employees are not very gifted in a particular area in dealing with other people. Some employees try to work in departments in which they are not specialized in order to compete with their fellow workers; hence they end up neglecting to play their part, which is very important as well. Thus in this case, synergy is lost in the company and the goal to be achieved is not achieved in the end.

A truly excellent type of strategic manager can effectively lead any type of firm only to some extent. A strategic manager will only be effective in leading any type of firm if they know and understand the products and the industry very well. If they do not, then they will run down the company despite their being excellent strategic managers. This is because the manager will work with the people that he or she will find in that company. It is God who decides what kind of people that are present in that company. In the end, what matters most is the resultant output, and the excellent manager will always aim at maximizing the returns of the company despite the type of employees that he or she works with (Dewit, 2004).

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An excellent CEO might not really know how to operate something or to carry out a certain duty of sorts, but he may be really good at selecting the right people for that particular job and in the end he becomes successful in the company. The CEO does not necessarily have to know how to do the things that run the company, but in presenting good leadership to the employees and the people who work with the company makes the CEO an excellent and strategic manager.

Firms can gain, maintain and expand their competitive advantage over their rivals mainly by executing fair market prices for their goods which will attract and retain the customers. On the other hand, the firms should also take care of their employees in the best way possible by treating them fairly and appreciating their input in the firm. By this, the employees will feel important to the firm and they will most definitely give their best in the operations of the company.

By stressing on hard work and emphasizing on aggressiveness, a non fast-moving firm can generate advantage in the market (Porter, 1980). The firm can employ all means possible, for example sending out sales and marketing representatives to go and explore the market opportunities that are available for the firm, and in this way gain an advantage for themselves.

Firms opt to go international depending on the nature and size of their products. The type of business that the firm deals in will dictate if the company should go international or not. If the costs of shipping the manufacturing and/ or shipping the products overseas are very high, then going international may not be the right way to go. The firm is better off remaining local-based.

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Partnering will depend on the type of business and products of the firms wishing to engage in partnerships. One of the advantages of entering into a partnership is that there is an increased in the amount of products that are presented to the market. Also, partnerships between different related companies and corporations enable the easier marketing and sale of products of one company as the services that are offered by one are related to those offered but the other. For example, in the sale of house parts and lumberjacking, one needs the other in order to carry out business.

A disadvantage that partnering is that it may grow complex. Issues may arise from partnering in that one firm may see the other as not fully playing their role in the partnership, and therefore open room for criticism and dislike. Acrimony may set in and this sets the pace for failure of the partnership.



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