Contributions to the Field
Andy Grove and Michael Dell made major contribution to the field of technology. Not speaking to product contributions, but the effective management tools, leadership, poise and strategic thinking are perhaps their most impressive contributions to the field.
Andy Grove brought definition to the words “crises management,” and has forever changed the way organizations anticipate and recovery from potential destruction. Andy’s strategic approach and recovery plan has been his most effective contribution to the field. Andy believed that building experimentation into the everyday business would someday be reason for market share recovery. Similar to Michael, Andy also thought like an outsider as he formulated his new business strategy. That outsider approach was the turning point in Intel’s legacy.
Michael Dell forever defined consumer value. Michael understood that the consumer was the driving force of any successful business, and technology was no different. Often times when an organization produces a product in which there is very little contact with the customer, there is a loss of focus on the customer’s wants, needs and experience. Michael took pride in maintaining relationships with its most valuable asset, its customers. For example, as success forced the company to expand, Michael created silos (or customer teams) within the organization to maintain the personalized customer service approach. Valuing customer demand has proven to be the key contributor in the company’s success.
Both professionals encountered “strategic inflection points” (Krames, J.A. 2003). Strategic inflection points may include business competition, or a new channel of distribution. Strategic inflection points will cause change, and with change comes resistance.
During a price reduction in 2001, Dell sliced the prices of its computers. Why Dell knew that a reduction in price would not affect its business’s because of the quality of their product, its competitors were resistant. In fact, one competitor stated that it was a “dumb” move (Krames, J.A. 2003). Dell captured and mastered one part of the business that not many other organizations have, customer rapport. Dell was confident that it could engage in a pricing war because he always knew what the customer wanted. Dell knew that he would produce a better product than all of his competitors at that time. Although it seemed like a risk to cut prices, Dell had his competitor’s right where he wanted them.
Andy Grove faced resistance when he presented the notion that the organization would sunset the companies chip making past and embark on a new product. This is very difficult in most successful organizations. Leadership becomes complacent with products in which they experience success. Complacency proves dangerous as it does not allow time to anticipate competitor’s moves, market changes and the possibility to explore new products.
Andy’s new initiative would indeed cause plants to shut down resulting in major lay-offs across the organization and would require a major financial contribution. One could only imagine the amount of resistance that Andy received through out the decision making and communication process.
Andy kept a level of paranoia in his organization. Andy always wanted management to remain on their toes avoiding complacency. Andy also wanted to help his leadership team to understand the difference between organizational change and a major organizational shift, and he wanted his team to be prepared. Grove and Dell had a management skill that was not common in major organizations during that time. External resistance was almost a given, but internal resistance proved not to be a deterrent.
Management 101 techniques help to reduce internal resistance...