Managers can make or break a company, as they are responsible for planning its general strategy, decision-making, organizing, leading and controlling the employees. Managers have to make quick decisions and predict what shape the market will take in the future to offer valuable products or services. This post will discuss effective and ineffective leaders who either ensured the success of their company or caused its downfall.
It can be stated that successful business leaders efficiently perform such essential managerial functions as strategic planning and decision-making. A SWOT analysis is integral for the planning, as it allows to determine a valid strategy and direction of a business (Evans & Wright, 2009). Furthermore, a good plan enables managers to make appropriate and timely decisions (Phillips, 2011). Thus, effective managers can facilitate the design of a good strategy and make choices based on the data available to them.
The web search of the best and the worst managers in business yielded many results. For example, Jeff Bezos and Mary Barra are considered highly efficient managers. Bezos, the founder of Amazon, recognizes that the company’s main strength is its customer service and acts quickly to remove any threats to it. Meanwhile, Mary Barra, the CEO of General Motors, is renowned for handling the defective ignition switches scandal, openly admitting to the company’s mistakes (Schmidt, 2020). It can be argued that these managers carefully analyze their position in the market, capitalize on opportunities, and block threats (Melkman & Simmonds, 2006). Thus, both Bezos and Barra can be recognized as exceptional leaders and managers.
However, many managers fail to recognize their business’s strengths and weaknesses and plan accordingly. For example, Jonathan Schwartz of Sun Microsystems and George Shaheen of Webvan were ineffective in their positions. Due to the Java application programming interface invented by Sun Microsystems being free, the company could not monetize its projects due to fierce competition (Mullin, 2016). Furthermore, a decision was made to pursue Java-based smartphones when the market was dominated by Apple and Android (Mullin, 2016). George Shaheen of Webvan grocery delivery service invested heavily in new technology and focused on expansion rather than ensuring that the company’s strategy was viable (Mannor, Matta, Block, Steinbach, & Davis, 2017). Sun Microsystems was disorganized in a highly competitive market, while Webvan focused on quick expansion rather than high-quality execution in the market with no competition. In summary, planning and decision-making are vital for business success.
Evans, C., & Wright, A. (2009). How to conduct a SWOT analysis. The British Journal of Administrative Management, 24(65), 10–34.
Mannor, M. J., Matta, F. K., Block, E. S., Steinbach, A. L., & Davis, J. H. (2017). A liability of breadth? The conflicting influences of experiential breadth on perceptions of founding teams. Journal of Management, 45(4), 1540–1568. doi:10.1177/0149206317714311
Melkman, A., & Simmonds, K. (2006). Strategic customer planning: How to develop and implement a strategic account plan. London: Thorogood Publishing Ltd.
Mullin, J. (2016). Sun’s Jonathan Schwartz at trial: Java was free, Android had no licensing problem.
Phillips, L. D. (2011). What is strategy?. The Journal of the Operational Research Society, 62(5), 926–929.
Schmidt, A. (2020). How Mary Barra led GM through its 2014 recall scandal and changed the company’s culture.