Q1. Marcus McGraw was faced with a “never encountered complex business challenge” that had put him into a dilemma. McTiernan, a trusted consultant for years, advised that recent consumer trends were changing and hence affecting the sales growth. The focus on nutrition was adversely affecting the Oscar Mayer brand due to high fat red meat being less preferred over white meat and hence benefiting the Louis Rich brand.
McTiernan also suggested that the changing competition trends also require to be catered to thereby requiring an expensive marketing campaign. McGraw had to struggle with multiple issues like poor sales growth within the division’s largest brand, comparatively inexperienced new product development department, and four division managers encouraging four different investment directions. Each of his four trusted managers had suggested their own solutions and recommendations to the problem but none of their future plans seemed to have been alike.
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But as McGraw sat down with his thinking cap on he realised that after receiving this pool of solutions from his best managers, his work had become easier. He need not choose a single option from the pool but can use them to strategize a mixed agenda by proper budgeting and risk management to allocate the company resources. His decision was based on the facts of McTiernan and his faith in his managers. His talk with his long time colleague about the difficulties of the past that they had overcome motivated and inspired him to make the decision. Q2.
McGraw considered all four of the managers to be highly competent and also all their suggested solutions were for the best of the company. If McGraw would have chosen the recommendations of just a one department, be it any one, he would be risking it all on a single bet as well as negating the importance of other departments and their recommendations. It would have sent wrong signals about the company’s belief in the diversity of their products and their profit earning capabilities. Also that could have resulted in internal clashes between the managers.
Hence, McGraw needed to mitigate or negate these damages by devising a strategic approach towards the problem. He needs to evaluate and allocated the budgets to the departments for new product development and promotions according to his risk management evaluation and strategic planning. His decision should be such to improve and motivate the departments so as to result in improvements in quality and price and hence the sales too, so that it becomes very difficult for their competitors to compete with them.