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Each reply should be a paragraph in length (or about 250 words) and must be substantive in nature. Do not simply say “I agree” or “That is great.” Specify why and be detailed in your explanation. Use research in your responses and provide 2 references.
The two implementation controls that aid in General Mills implementing their strategic plan are structure and budget. Structure is essential because it allows the company to operate in a smooth and efficient manner. When an adequate structure is established, then the lines of communication are effectively established. People know who they work for and how the overall team operates. With understanding structure, the team members of the company understand work specialization, departmentalization, chain of command, span of control, centralization and de-centralization, and formalization (McNamara, 2000).
The implementation control of structure is aligned with Mills Strategic choices. The company also ensures that the consumer is included in their cost structure by including them in their innovation process. Pertaining to the company’s corporate strategic choices of growth, diversification, and expanding its portfolio, none of this can happen seamlessly without an adequate structure (General Mills, 2019). Additionally, a company cannot function effectively if its budget is not intact. The company cannot expand its portfolio if it is lacking in budget or proper financial accountability. This is proven to be aligned with the company’s strategic plan with their accelerated growth platforms. For the FY 2019, the company exceeded their key full-year financial targets which included their organic net sales (General Mills, 2019). The company continues to be competitive with the industry as well.
General Mills. (2019). General Mills. Making Food People Love. Retrieved from https://investors.generalmills.com/financial-information/annual-reports/default.aspx
McNamara, C. (2000). Organizational Culture. Adapted from the Fieldguide to Organizational Leadership and Supervision. Free Management Library. http://managementhelp.org/organizations/culture.ht…
I chose the two implementation controls of culture and policies and procedures, to include measurement systems and quality control.
First, in culture, General Mills appears to make this a priority, as shown by the FY19 Annual Report in which CEO Jeff Harmening discusses the strong culture of the company, and cultivating culture during the launch of a new global inclusion strategy in FY19, in order to creating a sense of belonging for employees (“2019 annual report,” 2019). The global inclusion strategy ensures that diversity and inclusion is included in the company’s culture, not only for its employees but also with suppliers. It also reaches to societal inclusion, workforce inclusion, consumer inclusion, and cultural inclusion. This is especially important as General Mills distributes products to more than 100 countries, and this strategy addresses the challenge of inclusion across so many different countries and how to integrate this diversity into the company’s culture and overall strategy. One of the things I also found interesting is that the CEO states that he reviews diversity and inclusion progress on quarterly basis to ensure accountability (“Global inclusion,” 2019). This further demonstrates how General Mills uses this as a strategic control. Next, General Mills specifically addresses teams in this strategy, and how it is important the inclusion and diversity stretches to teams. This is important in the teams must align with the mission and vision of the company, and its overall strategic plan (Pryor, Singleton, Taneja, & Toobs, 2009). This shows how General Mills is ensuring the way its teams are structured represents the company’s overall strategy and priorities.
The second implementation control that I felt stood out with General Mills is in its Global Responsibility priorities it established and lays out in its in depth report, and covers policies and procedures, as well as quality control and measurement systems (Luca, n.d.). As an international food producer, it has setup certain procedures to ensure it is meeting regulations and also following responsible actions. For example, its facilities worldwide are audited and certified by independent third parties to ensure they are meeting food safety criteria. It also has continuous improvement metrics such as environmental, farming, and dairy metrics to ensure it is meeting sustainable sourcing. The company also has established specific priorities and goals across its value chain, covering areas such as climate change, responsible sourcing, ethics, and health and nutrition and tracks the progress they have made, providing measurement of their actual goals and priorities (“Global responsibility,” 2019). These policies and tracking mechanisms allow the company to see if they are actually performing up to the standards they have established as part of its overall strategy.
Finally, the actions of General Mills in its Global Inclusion Strategy and its Global Responsibility Report align with the overall company pursuits of “putting people first,” “earning people’s trust,” and “build a culture of creating.” Instituting a culture of inclusion domestically and internationally, along with establishing specific metrics as to how it is a responsible food company demonstrate its commitment on these company pursuits to its stakeholders (“Purpose,” n.d.). Additionally, this commitment extends to its strategic choices of producing more healthy and nutritious foods through more responsible food production, as well as driving growth through its culture and commitment to employees, which all leads back to the overall purpose of “Making food people love.”
2019 annual report. (2019). General Mills. Retrieved from https://investors.generalmills.com/financial-infor…
2019 global responsibility report. (2019). General Mills. Retrieved from https://www.generalmills.com/en/Responsibility/Ove…
Luca, A. (n.d.). Strategic Controls. Retrieved from Trident University.
Pryor, M.G., Singleton, L.P., Taneja, S., and Toobs, L.A. (2009). Teaming as a
strategic and tactical tool: An analysis with recommendations. International Journal
of Management, 26 (2), 320-334. Retrieved on November 6, 2012, from ProQuest.
Purpose. (n.d.). General Mills. Retrieved from https://www.generalmills.com/en/Company/purpose
Module 4 – Background
STRATEGY IMPLEMENTATION AND STRATEGIC CONTROLS
Strategy is implemented using organizational design (structure), people, culture, and control systems. Strategy must successfully work through these elements in order to produce performance. No matter how well a strategy is conceived, if an organization’s people cannot implement it, if the culture cannot support it, if the structure cannot coordinate it, and if the systems cannot measure and control it—the strategy will fail.
We will start by considering how of each of these components individually link to strategy. By way of the Case analysis, we will examine the integration or “fit” between the various components and strategy.
Organizational structure refers to the manner in which the lines of communication of authority are established, the manner in which work is divided up among organizational members, and the way that communication and work are coordinated. Different types of structures support different types of strategies. The key elements of structure that have the greatest effect on the success or failure of strategy implementation are centralization, boundaries, networks, and virtual organization.
Centralization refers to the level of concentration of decision making. In a highly centralized organization, decisions are made by a relatively small number of people, usually concentrated at the highest levels of the organization. Standardization is common in centralized organizations, thus favoring economies of scale and efficient value chains.
Decentralized organizations are characterized by flexible and autonomous decision-making groups at operational levels in the organization. Such groups have the ability to rapidly adjust to changes in the marketplace and are well-suited to strategies that require innovation. However, because of duplication, economies of scale are difficult to achieve.
Borderless Organizations: Taking cross-functional teams to a new level, the borderless organization does not just assemble teams with members from different organizational levels and functions. Instead, the borderless organization removes barriers both vertically (between levels) and horizontally (between functions or departments). The implications for strategy implementation include increased information, transparency, and flexibility.
Alliance Networks: These are collections of suppliers, distributors, customers, and even competitors who have the ability to bring needed assets to bear on an urgent problem where there is insufficient time to develop the needed resources and capacities in-house. Organized and coordinated online, these networks can be mobilized and put to work instantaneously.
Virtual Corporations: An extension of Alliance Networks, the virtual corporation is an extra-organizational coalition of people and organizations brought together expressly to work on a specific problem or project. They can be assembled rapidly and dispersed as soon as the project is over, representing the ultimate in flexibility and speed in strategy implementation.
The following reading is an exposition on how various types of teams can be useful in strategy implementation:
Pryor, M.G., Singleton, L.P., Taneja, S., and Toobs, L.A. (2009). Teaming as a strategic and tactical tool: An analysis with recommendations. International Journal of Management, 26 (2), 320-334. Retrieved on November 6, 2012, from ProQuest.
Review this presentation on Organizational Design by Professor Anastasia M. Luca, Ph.D. MBA.
Strategic Controls (Systems)
Three organizational systems are essential to controlling strategy implementation:
Accounting and budgeting systems: These systems can be complex and not easily adapted. If a new strategy requires data that is not easily accessible through existing accounting systems, implementation can be slowed, and a potentially successful implementation can be jeopardized. If a new proposed strategy does not fit a familiar pattern, decision making can be become risky and unpredictable.
Information Systems: Information technology is playing an ever greater role in strategy implementation. IT provides point-of-sale information between retailers and manufacturers, streamlines logistics and distribution, and controls inventories. IT systems must be capable of providing the right information in the right format to the right people at the right time.
Measurement and Reward Systems: Rewards can be used to shape behavior in the direction of meeting strategic objectives. Rewards must be connected to measures of goal attainment (e.g., specific increases in market share), and proper time horizons (future rewards for future goals).
Review this presentation on Strategic Controls by Professor Anastasia M. Luca, PhD MBA.
Strategies that are based on distinctive competencies or unique capabilities are often dependent on people and their skills to carry them out. Thus, for successful implementation, sufficient numbers of people with the right skill sets are essential.
In-house or Import? Hiring raw talent and growing employees with the needed qualifications maximizes fit, but it can take years. Retraining existing workers with new skills can be problematic when old employees resist “learning new tricks.” Hiring employees with needed skills external to the organization is faster, but there is no guarantee that even they will fit well within the organization’s culture.
Motivation: It is not enough to have the right number of people with the right skills; people must also be motivated to work toward successful strategy implementation. Much is known about motivation, and many tools are available; these include tangible rewards (e.g., bonuses) and intangible rewards such as self-fulfillment. Perhaps the motivator with the most potential for eliciting long-term commitment to fulfilling the firm’s strategic goals is that of empowerment, which gives employees the discretion and autonomy to use their initiative.
The following article highlights the importance of having the right people in place to achieve strategic goals:
Garrow, V. and Hirsh, W. (2008). Talent management: Issues of focus and fit. Public Personnel Management, 37(4), 389-403. Retrieved on August 29, 2014 from ProQuest.
The fit between an organization’s culture and its strategy is critical. If a firm is depending on innovation to achieve differentiation, but the culture is risk averse or has a tendency to punish mistakes, the strategy will in all likelihood fail. Culture can support the strategy when three elements are in alignment:
Shared values that are aligned with the corporate vision and strategic focus along with a management style that fosters behavior that will support the competencies that confer competitive advantage.
Norms can act as strong controls for strategic implementation. They encourage behavior that is in alignment with shared values. People can circumvent rules, and they cannot be watched all of the time, but norms can promote the desired behavior even when nobody is watching.
Symbols model for employees what values and norms are important. Some important symbols include the vision and style of the founder of the company and folklore or stories that embody company values, rituals, and routines, and which reinforce the types of events and behaviors that are most desired and celebrated.
The following reading ties together the importance of systems, strategy, structure, and culture. It is highly readable and will help you see how all of these elements are interdependent and must align to achieve successful implementation:
Heneman, R. L., Fisher, M. M., and Dixon, K. E. (2001). Reward and organizational systems alignment: An expert system. Compensation & Benefits Review, 33(6), 18-29. Retrieved on November 6, 2012, from ProQuest.
Aligning organizational culture with business strategy. (2013, November). Towers Watson. Retrieved on August 29, 2014 from http://www.towerswatson.com/en-US/Insights/Newslet…
Durden, C. (2012). The linkages between management control systems and strategy: An organic approach. Proceedings from The International Conference on Accounting and Finance. Singapore: Global Science and Technology Forum. Retrieved on August 29, 2014 from ProQuest.
Klosowski, S. (2012). The application of organizational restructuring in enterprise strategic management process. Management, 16(2), 54-62. Retrieved on August 29, 2014 from ProQuest.