Implementing a New Management Style and Philosophy Abstract Homefield Advantage is a company in the lawn and landscape industry. It is a relatively new company under going its third change in management in five years. This paper discusses the flaws that the previous managers incurred and why they failed. The need for a new strategy and management style is necessary in order for the company to survive. The need to develop a low cost strategy to become more competitive will increase revenue. The results of the new manager will be based on profit.
The paper discusses the problems that need to be addressed and what changes will be made. Homefield Advantage: Implementing a New Management Style and Philosophy Homefield Advantage is a company specializing in the care of sports fields, home lawn care, and landscaping for residential homes and larger companies. It was formed in the spring of 2004 as a side company of the Louisville Bats baseball team. Initially, the company was only to be used for lawn care treatments. This then turned into mowing, sports fields, landscaping and even some irrigation.
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Using the Louisville Bats name as an umbrella, the company was able to bring in great business the first year by renovating fields for local schools and maintaining little leagues. While this was not the intended purpose of the company, this is where all of the money was made the first year. The company has gone through many changes in the short amount of time it has been operational. These changes have been both good and bad, but the majority of them have worn down the moral, camaraderie, and willingness to change for the crew that has remained with the company through management changes.
This proposal will attempt to define the changes in the organizational structure and strategy of the company and what the benefits will be. I have just been handed the reigns as the third manager of Homefield Advantage, and my ideas on managing differ completely form the previous managers. Neither of the previous two manager’s styles worked for what this company needs. The first manager was very unorganized and never established any leadership and let each employee under him do their own thing, which created chaos and inefficiency. The second manager used the old scientific management style of his way or no way.
This worked the first year he was there by reestablishing the business with more organization and efficient methods. This did not work for this company very long because his style eventually broke down the employees and created conflict among everyone. The employees no longer felt like they could contribute any ideas or say anything about what was or was not working. The problems of the company are now my problems. The owners of the company have made it clear that unless we can be profitable quickly the company will no longer exist. “Each manager generally has no more than five or six objectives.
One is almost always a short-term financial objective that is related to the company’s annual profit plan” (Fenton, 1976, p. 16). The first goal is to make the company profitable on a month to month basis for the remainder of the year. The next objective is to bring the employee’s morale back up by involving everyone into the plans. The other objectives will be to start planning a major overhaul for next year. Making a profit is not the only problem facing me in the short and long term. In the short term, I am still trying to make the adjustment from being ‘one of the guys’ to being the boss.
It has been a difficult adjustment in that I have always been more of a friend than someone the other employees had to listen to and follow. Other short term problems include creating the hierarchy of the company???who to promote, who to let go. Unfortunately, when there is a change in management, there is usually a change in the staff. In the long term, the problems facing the company are trying to create a business plan that will continue year after year to create a profit and allow not only the company to make money but also create enough revenue to provide raises to myself and the other employees. Staff costs will remain one of your biggest costs, and you need to assess your staff requirements continually. If there is a downturn, you will need to act to reduce staff numbers sooner rather than later” (Lane, 2008, ??7,8). The staff of this company will need to be reevaluated twice a year. It means looking at the performance during the peak times of the year and deciding what the company can afford and what the company needs. Currently the company is divided into two different sections, the lawn care and the sports care. This works because we have been able to pare down the duties and create specialties in the sectors.
There is more organization within the company and crew because everyone knows what is expected of them and their duties. What doesn’t work is the crew has become complacent in what they do and are not willing to go above and beyond their normal routine, including additional hours and weekends when needed. This needs to change because the needs of the company are changing. There are too many crew leaders for the amount of work, each crew leader has their own ideas of what needs to be done and this clashes when a large project requires them to work together.
As the new manager, it is my project to restructure how the company is staffed and to ensure the understanding of what will be required from everyone. “There are two key issues companies face. One, after they downsize, they don’t redesign the work” (Fitzpatrick). It will be important not to create more work for fewer employees. This will only cause more morale problems and could lead to the remaining employees to quit. So in addition to cutting staff, it will also be necessary to cut a part of the business. In order to determine which part of the business to eliminate, I will need to measure each department’s bottom line.
This will be one of the more difficult decisions to make because everyone on the staff is capable of leading every department. The original philosophy of the company was that higher prices could be charged because we were built up of experts and our plan was to offer more personal service to our customers. The competitors care more about the numbers, while Homefield cares about the customer and their individual needs. It is my idea to turn this company into a profitable company by lowering the costs and streamlining what is offered while still maintaining the highest level of customer satisfaction.
Our competition comes from the big name brand companies who have franchises across the country. They use their brand name and an aggressive sales pitch that includes telemarketing and door to door sales to build a quick customer base. “Telemarketing is alive and kicking. It remains a strong lawn sales tool” (Hall, 1996, ??1). This has been one area previous management has failed to capitalize on. This is the only way we can build our customer base to maximize each employee’s workload.
Our company is at a slight disadvantage because we can’t hire a sales only employee like the larger companies can. It is my plan to motivate the employees to become salespeople. We can’t sit back and wait for customers to call us anymore. We have to be aggressive and pick up the phone and go after customers. In addition to building a customer base, we need to institute a low cost leadership plan in order to become a profitable company. This plan will consist of lowering our prices, becoming more customer driven, returning calls in a timely fashion, and becoming more competitive in our industry.
According to Malburg (2000), low cost leadership requires the following capabilities and skills: ???Capital access and the willingness to invest it in a low cost leadership strategy. ???Products redesigned for a low cost manufacturing environment. ???Expertise in process engineering. ???Supervisors and a labor force committed to the low-cost leader strategy. If we are to make this company a low cost leadership, the employees have to believe in what they are doing and selling. They have to believe this in order to provide the best customer service.
We need to ensure that each employee is being efficient in what they do. Do they have all the materials and tools for the job with them when they pull out of the home office? Are the professional when they meet with the customers? Is every division profitable or does the company needs to be condensed in order to maintain that profit? Have the service routes been divided into the most efficient routes? These are the questions that need to be answered in order to make this strategy work for the company. The new management style that I would like to create for this company is to have a learning organization.
A learning organization is a growing organization. And growing organizations are profitable. New employees need to have some experience in this industry. It’s not enough to hire mediocre people and train them, because at the end of the day, you’ve still got mediocre people. Only with the best people on your side can you create competitive advantage over the companies that are stuck with the second and third best people. (Gibson, 1999, ??3) While this is correct in many organizations, experience in this industry includes cutting your neighbor’s yard for 20 bucks when you were 12.
On the other side of it, it includes helping your t-ball coach drag a field and chalk a line down the bases. What I hope to accomplish is building on the basic knowledge to create an experienced, expert, specialized employees. Yes, they can cut a yard with great precision, but they need to also recognize problems and be able to explain those to the customer. For example: I visit a customer’s yard that had obvious damage due to a grub worm problem but the company who was originally doing their lawn care treatments did not recognize that there was a problem and could not tell them why their grass was dying.
This is the difference in the big companies hiring employees with no experience and training them to do a job, where we hire experienced and knowledgeable employees who will be able to recognize and diagnose problems on the spot. Being able to hire employees with less training and knowledge and being able to properly train and educate them before sending them into the field will create a huge advantage over the other companies. “The bottom line, according to Harper, is that ‘Companies that invest in their people are going to survive.
Companies that sit back and don’t do anything are not going to survive'” (Fitzpatrick, 1996, ??9). It is my hope to create a school of sorts to train experts in the lawn care and sports field industries. Another issue to handle is to get the staff to work for me. One problem is that everybody is friendly with each other. I need to make sure that I am seen as the boss and have the respect from everyone. I plan on making the supervisors feel like they are more involved in the company than the previous manager did. The previous manager followed the do it my way style and this led to the employees not taking pride in their work. You’ve got to motivate your workforce, and they then will provide the momentum for high performance” (American Gas, 2001, p. 36). The future success of this company depends on the output of the workers. It will be my job to provide that motivation. One change I plan to make is to involve each supervisor into the decision making process. I want to hear their ideas and involve them into the daily operation of the company. If there is a better way than I have, I want them to show me. I want them to feel that they are important to this company. Communication with the supervisors will be vital to keeping everyone involved. There are many impediments to organizational learning, but the most basic is communication” (Bohlin, 1992, p. 81). It will be important for both the staff and I to understand one another in order to work effectively and efficiently. Effective communication will allow the company to maintain outstanding customer service. The investors in this company want to see a return on their investment. After losing money for three consecutive years change has become necessary. I have been given the final chance to turn the company around and with only a few months left in the year, I have very little time to work with this year.
The president of the company will be reviewing the bottom line on a monthly basis for the remainder of the year. As long as the company shows that it is making an upward swing the current investors will continue to support it. I feel that if I can implement my strategy and style that the company will be profitable. Unfortunately, there will have to be some unpleasant changes made now. The first goal is to cut staff until it is aligned with our sales. The previous manager added three full-time salaried positions. Sales increased every year, but not enough to cover the increase in salaries.
I will need to eliminate two full-time positions immediately in order to keep from taking a loss for the next month. The current staff has come to rely on having plenty of help to get jobs done, so it will be important not to overload the remaining staff with more work than they can handle. The next thing will be to determine when to lay off the part-time staff. I will have to research at least the last two years of sales each month and project for this year. The sooner that staff can be reduced the better chance at making a profit. The final step will be to lay off full time employees during the winter months.
This will be the first year that the company will lay off full time positions, but it is necessary in order to survive. The problem is that there is a good chance that these employees may not come back. I can’t be concerned with that because my goal is to make the company profitable by the end of the year. The next step is to begin planning for the next year. Staffing will be the first priority. New positions will be created based on the type of work and expected revenue from that division. Salaries will have a lower base, but will include a lucrative incentive package based on sales.
This will provide some motivation for each employee to act as a salesperson. There will be days incorporated into the work schedule that will require each employee to make cold calls or go door to door to make sales. The next step is to cut any work that is not profitable. I will review each division’s revenue and expenses and work time to assess its chances of being profitable. The previous manager had planned to do this but never took the time. There has been speculation that the mowing division was losing money, but by keeping it allows us to have a few extra employees on hand to perform other jobs when needed.
It makes it hard to put a number together when evaluating the company because everybody can fill in any position. The next step is to begin the implementation of the low cost strategy. This combined with the pressure to sale should have a dramatic increase in revenue. The rest will be upon my management of the company. Hopefully my style will be effective in leading the company into its best year. The bottom line is my success will be determined by a hard number at the end of the year. Homefield Advantage is a lawn care and sports turf company that has many challenges in front of it to stay alive.
Management has changed hands numerous times and it is now my turn to see if I can make the company profitable without losing any of the customer service or dependable employees needed to be a success. By streamlining the services offered and communicating with the staff what is expected and allowing them to be a part of the decision process, I hope to create a brand that is not only good at what it does but creates a profit that will keep the investors happy. A successful company is one that treats it customers and its employees with respect and value. References Best management style: care about people. 2001, November). American Gas, Retrieved August 10, 2008, from Business Source Premier database Bohlin, R. (1992, March). Organizational learning in practice. McKinsey Quarterly, Retrieved August 10, 2008, from Business Source Premier database. Fenton, N. (1976, December). Managing the Adolescent Company. Management Review, 65(12), 12. Retrieved August 10, 2008, from Business Source Premier database. Fitzpatrick, D. (1996, August 5). Redesign, investing in people key to survival. Westchester County Business Journal, 35(32), 11. Retrieved July 10, 2008, from MasterFILE Premier database. Gibson, S. 1999, February 15). Management 101: Be Like Bill. PC Week, 16(7), 96. Retrieved August 26, 2008, from Academic Search Premier database. Hall, R. (1996, January). Marketing by phone: It’s still effective. Landscape Management, 35(1), 1L. Retrieved August 26, 2008, from MasterFILE Premier database. Lane, C. (2008, July 10). Business strategy in a recession. Caterer & Hotelkeeper, 198(4535), 90-90. Retrieved August 26, 2008, from Hospitality & Tourism Complete database. Malburg, C. (2000, October 16). Competing on costs. Industry Week/IW, 249(17), 31. Retrieved August 2, 2008, from Academic Search Premier database.