The Most Effective General Managers

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From:Mr Xolani Xulu
Master in Business Administration Student

A REPORT ON THE MOST EFFECTIVE GENERAL MANAGERS

1. Executive summary

According to Boyer and Associates (2010), a General Manager (GM) “is not a job but a position”. He further states that a GM is a focal point and has the authority to impact immediately any area of a business. This tells us that such a position must be occupied by someone that has relevant experience, the right attitude and necessary skills to make a positive contribution.

It is therefore crucial to understand the characteristics to look for when employing a GM. In this report, your attention will be drawn to the most relevant characteristics to be possessed by a GM.

2. Research findings

Two of your GMs were interviewed as part of the research. One was from the Pietermaritzburg sub-cluster and the other one in Durban sub-cluster. The survey was also extended to the Public Sector and the Non-profit Organizations in order to get a bird’s eye view in the matter. The research findings were, among others, as follows:

* The adverts of the GM posts have many gaps that need to be addressed.

* There is no plan to identify existing potential and talent.

* The recruitment and selection process also not comprehensive.

* Shortcomings were identified with one of the GMs I interviewed.

* More research findings attached for your perusal as Appendix 1.

3. How to find the most effective General Managers

Christ, S. (2011) states that successful restaurant GMs combine management skills and culinary knowledge. GMs do not need to be experts of everything. However, they should have the understanding and knowledge of all functions they manage. The most appropriate characteristics that one needs to possess, in order to be an effective GM, are as follows:

4.1. Experience

* Must have 5 years experience as a Store Manager and a 3 year track record of establishing relationships with vendors.

* Must have 3 years experience in developing marketing strategies that led to increased profits and business.

* Possess experience and proven track record in reducing costs at a restaurant that employed him/her.

* A minimum of 3 years involvement on planning for the restaurant daily functioning. This should involve all functions within a restaurant.

* Minimum of 3 years financial management experience in a fast food restaurant. Without this experience it would be difficult to monitor the financial position of the business.

* Customers are the most important stakeholders in a fast food business. A minimum of 3 years working with customers both at an operational and management level.

* A minimum of 3 years doing human resources management. Slack, Chambers and Johnston (2010-236) argues that “human resource strategy is the overall long-term approach to ensuring that an organization’s human resources provide a strategic advantage”. If personnel are managed by an inexperienced General Manager, the business will struggle to meet its strategic business objectives.

4.2. Qualifications required

* Must have passed matriculation and in possession of Senior Certificate.

* Possess a valid code 8 driver’s license and be computer literate.

* A Diploma in Hospitality is also an important requirement. According to Ms L. Barrett from the Nandos Scottsville (2012:1), at least a one year Diploma or a National Certificate in Hospitality should be possessed by a General Manager.

* A 3 year Degree in Business Management is a must have. This helps the GM to understand not only the Operations, but also to be able to manage finances, human resources, marketing and sales more effectively.

* It would be an added advantage for a General Manager to have a postgraduate qualification. Mrs M. Linda form the KZN Department of Public Works (2012:1), stated that a postgraduate qualification for a...
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