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Chapter 1

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Wilfrid Laurier University
Pat Lemieux

Chapter 1: The Job of the General Manager A fundamental challenge facing general managers today stems from the fact that the external environment in which their organization operates-which includes current customers, potential customers, competitors, technological innovation, government, suppliers, global forces and so on-is changing so rapidly that the firm, with its finite resources and limited organizational capabilities, is hard-pressed to keep up (which it must do because of the rapidly changing environment). The Job of the General Manager The general manager’s job is to create value of the enterprise. You need to recognize emerging opportunities and challenges, prepare a response, and ensure the success of whatever plan of action you decide upon. After establishing a long-term direction and creating the strategy, the general manager must make important decisions such as making drastic reductions in the workforce, develop new technologies/capabilities, face new competitors, develop new distribution channels, establish new customer relationships, and convince employees/investors that it is moving in the right direction. Fundamental Components of the GM’s Job 1. Setting Direction 2. Creating Strategy 3. Implementing Change 4. Assessing Performance 1) Assessing Performance Our assessment of organizational performance is based on two sets of measures: a) operating performance - quantitative measures of financial and market performance b) organizational health - qualitative measures such as management and work enthusiasm We use the performance matrix to ask three questions: where were we three years ago, where are we today, and where are we currently moving towards? Quadrant 1 - operating performance / org. health are both positive - strategy will be a question of fine tuning and taking further look into the future Quadrant 2 - people enjoy their work but collectively are performing inadequately in terms of market/financial standards - happy employees will not want to face the prospect of making uncomfortable
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