Archie Norman

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Archie Norman was thirty-seven years old when he took over as chief executive of a supermarket chain, Asda. Before joining Asda, Norman had no previous experience in the grocery business. He had attended Harvard Business School MBA and had worked for the McKinsey consulting firm. When he took over Asda, it was in the brink of collapse. Asda had lost sight of its core customers, their competitors were gaining market share and Asda was nearly in $2 billion in debt. Norman was able to turn this struggling company around by exhorting an adaptive leadership. In the following paragraphs, I will analyze the five principles that leaders use to mobilize people to do adaptive work. I will share my own experience with a leader and how her leadership style helped me shape my own. Lastly, I will share my opinions about this course. Adaptive leadership helps leaders and organizations adapt and thrive in challenging environments. Adaptive work is challenging because it requires that we relinquish some of our deeply held beliefs and learn new skills where old ones are insufficient (Heifetz & Laurie, 2003). Archie Norman recognized this challenge very early on. He found demoralized employees with no clear direction of where the company was going. Asda lost track of its core customers, working class, and was targeting the wealthy consumer. Asda embarked on new disastrous business operations such as furniture and carpeting. It also did not help that management was spending lavishly on corporate jets and high style corporate offices. Norman knew that in order to turn the company around he had to revitalize the company by shattering its current culture. Adaptive leadership promotes five principles that need to work in conjunction with one another. One principle is to identify the adaptive challenge. The first task in adaptation is to spot the challenge and identify its implication for the organization (Heifetz & Laurie, 2003). Archie was very honest with its employees about the...
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