Managing Organizations and Leading People Task 1 A1. Description of Organization In this organization and leadership analysis I am going to be analyzing the SMC Corporation of America. The reason I selected SMC is because I am a current employee of SMC. SMC Pneumatics has been a leader in pneumatic technology since its establishment. The guiding principal that navigates SMC is automation and labor savings. The SMC mission statement is: SMC is dedicated to deliver first-class business solutions to our customers through superior products and top-notch customer service by creating an environment for our employees where each person is valued, challenged to reach his or her full potential, and contributes to the growth of the company, community and themselves (SMC Corporation, 2013).
With its primary goal being advancing automation SMC remains steadfast in this pursuit with it’s team of engineers and technology driven production teams. This primary goal drives SMC to develop high quality, high reliable products that contribute to automation in industry, as well as in familiar areas of everyday life. According to the SMC mission statement, SMC is dedicated to deliver first-class business solutions to their customers through superior products and top-notch customer service (SMC Corporation, 2014). The SMC business environment is one in which every employee is valued and challenged to reach his or her full potential. These practices contribute to the growth of the company, their employees and the surrounding community.
The primary leader, Mike Loggins, can be described as a high energy visionary who promotes an environment where employees are encouraged to be independent while at the same time interacting with other employees to reach company goals and objectives. A recent survey comparing the importance of managerial skills today with those from the late 1980s found a decided increase in the role of skills for building relationships with others (Daft, 2014). This practice allows employees to flourish as individuals while at the same time increasing relationships with in that employee’s department and other departments that the employee may interact with. Mike is very driven and has the tenacity to keep SMC as a leader in its industry. This can be measured by the annual output of the SMC Corporation of America. Mike is also very optimistic and this trait has a trickle down effect causing all SMC employees to react in a positive way. Another Leadership practice that is practiced at SMC is the practice of consideration.
Throughout the offices and factories there are suggestion boxes. These are there so that employees can voice any concerns they may have in an anonymous way if they would like. The idea is that the people performing the actual day to day tasks at SMC are the ones whose suggestions should be taken into consideration when establishing company policies and establishing company objectives. This also creates an atmosphere of mutual trust in which employees feel free to express their feelings and views in a respectful way. A3. Effects of Current Leadership The current effects of the primary leadership at SMC creates a positive work environment in which all employees are encouraged to act in a way that is beneficial to the company and its individual employees. As previously stated great lengths are taken to be considerate of all employees allowing them to feel like an asset to the company. Employees are encouraged to express their ideas that may allow the company to operate in a more efficient manner.
When making decisions employee input is considered a major asset. According to Daft, (2014), during turbulent times, managers really have to stay on their toes and apply all their skills and competencies in a way that benefits the organization and its stakeholders—employees, customers, investors, the community, and so forth. This is no different for a corporation like SMC. Mike employees a team management style of management that gets everyone involved and assigns tasks according to those individuals’ strengths. Even in difficult times, leadership manages to stay ahead of the curve and keep on point with what everyone, especially the employees want and need. Many of the employees at SMC have been there for over seven years and there seems to be very little turnover. Many companies say that they want their employees to have a healthy work life balance, but when an employee needs time off for a family matter that employee is made to feel guilty. This is not true at SMC as I can attest to their commitment to a healthy work life balance.
When my son was born he had some health issues that required me to miss a great deal of work and SMC was very supportive during this tough time for my family and myself. I believe the reason for this is because the primary leaders from all the departments throughout SMC believe that in order to be a good employee one must have a healthy life outside of work and by giving employees the tools to create a healthy life outside of work creates a better employee. This is a way that, according to Yukl, (2012), “leaders can improve the performance of a team or organization by influencing the processes that determine performance.” B1. Strengths
One of SMC Corporation’s greatest strengths has to be the diversified product list. The list of products in the SMC catalog is dynamic and ever-changing. The products and services range from food dehydration to solenoid valves for airplanes. This is wide range of products and services shows practical uses for an SMC product in almost every industry. Another major strength is the amount of cash that SMC has on hand. Operating Profit Margin has increased from 11.5% in 2000 to 21.4% in 2009 (SMC Corporation, 2014). This increase shows a steady gain in operating profit margin that seems to be increasing as time goes on. SMC’s continuous improvement has created substantial cash to improve capital deployment for future improvements or acquisitions. B2. Weaknesses Despite SMC’s current strong position and positive outlook there are weaknesses that must be acknowledged.
The first being the recent slow down in the production of aerospace products. Despite having a large range of products SMC relies heavily on production of aerospace products and parts, due to the recent slow down in this sector SMC must adjust accordingly and continue to diversify its catalog in order to combat this slow down. Another weakness is SMC’s reliance on a few large customers. This can become a problem if there is a large drop in one of these primary customer’s demand or even if one of these customers decide to go with another vendor. When a business relies heavily on one or just a handful of customers any decrease from one of these major customers can cause major problems for the supplier. B3. Opportunities One major opportunity that is currently available to SMC is the increased demand for automation. This demand can be seen in every industry with companies demanding to get more with less. SMC is the world’s leader in automation and is primed to take advantage of this ever- increasing opportunity.
Another opportunity for SMC is the large demand for actuators and air cylinders. As mentioned previously with the slow down in production of new aerospace equipment comes an increase for maintaining current equipment. This increased demand for maintaining of aerospace equipment will increase the demand for parts such as actuators and cylinders. This is a demand that SMC will be able to meet if they are able to recognize the opportunity. B4. Threats Like all corporations there are real threats than can cause problems for SMC. One major threat is its competitors. Despite SMC having a 20% share of all pneumatics in the world SMC must always strive to stay ahead of its competitors (SMC Corporation, 2014). The threat of competition is always a threat in an open market and SMC must recognize this threat and prepare for competition Another threat that the SMC Corporation must face is the threat of rising worker wages.
With other states continuously raising minimum wages this forces the state of Indiana to raise its minimum wage, which in turn will force SMC to raise the wages that it is paying to its workers. When the minimum wages raises it brings current wages closer to the minimum wage forcing industry to raise the wages of current workers so that they do not feel like they are working for minimum wage and to feel like their “seniority” is worth nothing. C1. Strengths of Primary Leader The current primary leader of SMC Corporation of America, Mike Loggins, has many strengths, as evidenced by the current success of the company. When thinking of Mike the first thing that comes to mind is his seemingly endless supply of energy and how he always seems to have a smile on his face. This kind of energy is contagious, and seems to affect everyone that he comes into contact with.
Mike is a transformational leader he has the ability to lead changes in SMC’s mission, strategy, structure, and culture (Daft, 2014). Mike is great at building relationships and getting a diverse group on the same page when sharing what he would like to see accomplished. A good example of this would be when Mike had me plan, oversee and implement a plan to replace all of the printers in our Noblesville factory. Mike put me in charge of the whole project from creating a cost analysis plan to be presented to accounting to justify the cost all they way to a scheme to deploy the printers in the most efficient way. Mike gave me clear goals of what I needed to accomplish and let me handle the project from start to finish; this was a valuable learning experience. Mike is also a visionary, he has both a goal and vision of where he would like for SMC to be now and in the future and is very good at implementing a plan to reach this goal and vision.
Being a visionary is not enough when it comes to being a great leader; one must also be able to implement a plan to attain ones’ vision and Mike excels at this. He is very good at getting everyone on the same page and getting them to work together to achieve the goals that he wants the company to achieve. Another strength of SMC’s primary leader is his approachability Mike is the kind of person who no matter how busy he is, he will always make time for you if you have a question or need something. If an employee comes to Mike with a problem no matter how busy he might be he will always take time to listen to the problem being brought up and offer some insight on how the issue can be addressed. Approachability and flexibility are such important qualities for any leader in order to keep employees engaged. Regardless of title, education, or experience, a leader must unleash his or her creativity and unique personality (Neumeier, 2014). This is one area that Mike excels in.
Mike takes a team management approach when assigning tasks, if he sees that a specific employee is good at something he will try to assign tasks that compliment that employee’s strength, which allows the employee to best serve the company and be successful at their position. When managing and leading is employees Mike focuses on individuals and the strengths and weaknesses that define that individual. C2. Weaknesses of Primary Leader
The essence of leadership in organizations is influencing and facilitating individual and collective efforts to accomplish shared objectives (Yukl, 2012). Although Mike does an excellent job getting his employees on the same page and getting them to achieve the company goals that he has set forth like anyone else Mike does have a few areas that if addressed would make her an even better leader. One area that may help in Mike becoming an even better leader would be when he would like for a specific person to complete a specific task to address that person directly instead of having that employee’s direct supervisor communicate the assignment to them. Sometimes when messages are passed along in this manner some of the meaning can be “lost in translation”.
One way to avoid this would be to take a more transactional approach when an employee approaches with questions, by providing structure, specific rewards and explaining what must be considered (Daft, 2014). I believe if the person who will be performing the task was given the task directly from the person that would like said task completed the chances of task being assigned will then be completed to the satisfaction of the requester. Another weakness to Mike’s transformation leadership style is loss of inspiration in his employees. I believe that when Mike assigns tasks to his employees giving them “free reign” and can be at times misinterpreted as him not wanting to deal with the task and he is just pawning it off on a subordinate so he does not have to deal with it. Over time if an employee feels that instead of being empowered he is just doing his manager’s “busy work” this can lead to loss of inspiration. The third weakness with Mike’s transformational leadership is that it can lead to favoritism.
When Mike assigns tasks he will always consult who a more experienced employee based off of the fact that this employee has completed more tasks for him than any of the other employees and if this employee is busy he will go to his “number 2”. This can lead to alienation of employees who are not his first pick and once an employee feels that he or she is not valued there individual performance and the performance of the team will both suffer. C3. Recommendation for Primary Leader Many of the responsibilities of top managers, such as decision-making, resource allocation, and innovation, require a broad view (Daft, 2014). It is very difficult to make a recommendation for the current primary leader of the SMC Corporation. This is mostly because without knowing exactly what Mike goes through on a day-to-day basis I would be making recommendations from a position of ignorance.
That being said making a recommendation for the current primary leader is a requirement for this task and if weaknesses are going to be pointed out a plan for addressing these weaknesses should be provided. One recommendation would be to take a more transactional approach when assigning tasks to employees by being as specific and include as many details as possible when assigning a task to an employee. It is widely known that the more information that an employee has when attempting to complete an assignment, the more likely that this task will be completed in the fastest and most efficient way possible.
Another recommendation would to take into account consideration and addressing an employee directly when assigning them a task. Again as noted earlier when addressing the employee directly, the chances of misinterpretation will be greatly decreased. By directly addressing the employee this gives that employee the opportunity to ask questions and get additional information to ensure the task is completed as quickly as possible while not missing any critical details. According to Neumeier (2014), “you have to focus on individuals’ strengths and good qualities, versus the weaknesses and what you don’t like about them.”
This will also decrease the loss of motivation and leadership neutralization that can occur in employees when they don’t feel like they are the tasks they are performing are important. My third recommendation would be to try and increase group cohesiveness and to avoid the favoritism that can sometimes occur when leading in a transformational way. By asking the new guy occasionally first to perform a task will give the new guy credit, relieve the guy who has been their forever that has too much on his plate and shows that he is really all about creating a true team environment in which all team members can flourish.
Daft, R.L. (2014). Management. South-Western, Cengage Learning. ISBN: 9781285068657SMC Corporation. (2014). SMC corporate guide [PDF file]. Retrieved from https://www.smc.eu/
Neumeier, M. (2014). What makes an
effective leader? Agency executives tell all. Tactics, 14. SMC Corporation. (2014). SMC corporate guide [PDF file]. Retrieved from https://www.smc.eu/ Yukl, G. (2012). Effective leadership behavior: what we know and what questions need more attention. Academy of Management Perspectives, 26(4), 66-85.