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Marie Jackson Revitalizing Renfield Farms Case Solution

Solution Id Length Case Author Case Publisher
2151 3707 Words (16 Pages) Anthony J. Mayo, Heather Beckham Harvard Business School : 915555
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Marie Jackson was an energetic and invigorative leader who entered the company with a cohesive vision and aimed to revitalize the operational dynamics of the firm. Throughout her functional tenure at Renfield farms, Jackson had exhibited many leadership traits that enabled her to stand out as a CEO. Since the start, she displayed utter extraversion in her managerial functions by calling employees for a series of virtual town-hall meetings. She also showed assertiveness and gregariousness when she discussed her ambitions to restore the reputation of Renfield with her team of employees (Ozbag, 2016). Her democratic style of leadership enabled her to consistently coordinate with groups of executives and discuss the organizational structure and reporting lines (Sharma & Singh, 2013). Hence, her social skills and her confidence are pre-dominant is her managerial approach 

Following questions are answered in this case study solution:

  1. Analyze (Don’t describe) Marie Jackson’s leadership characteristics and performance as CEO of Renfield Farms? Consider if the challenges had revealed more of her strengths or weaknesses, and if there were areas where she had over or under-estimated her leadership abilities in facilitating change in the organization. 

  2. Analyze (Don’t describe) the change process of Renfield Farms and discuss if there were pull and push factors that contributed to the challenges and difficulties confronting the organization. Argue if the overall change was indeed a success or failure and justify why?

  3. If you were an Executive Coach helping Marie Jackson with her leadership skills, how would you advise her to resolve the challenges she had encountered in order to manage complexity and lead more effectively? Discuss the specific strategies or approaches she should adopt to take Renfield Farms to the next level and consider the potential risks and tradeoffs. 

Case Study Questions Answers

Jackson was also a conscientious leader who acted responsible and perseverant in her organizational endeavors. She worked towards restoring the brand image by regularly interacting with the trade partners and consumer groups. She remained perseverant despite the negative comments from the chief financial officer who told Marie about the little consideration the company has for outsiders. She drew his self-motivation from her leadership capabilities and continued to take actions to change the company’s operational strategy (Zopiatis & Constanti, 2012). She was highly task-focused and hence, immediately organized a weekend retreat with the top management in order to discuss the strategy for revitalizing the company’s brands. 

Jackson was also a pace-setter, and she aimed for quick progress. She wanted all employees to keep pace with the company's expectations. His serious commitment towards her goals can be seen by the fact that he openly dismissed a senior brand manager when she was resistant to change. Furthermore, Jackson was also a creative, innovative, and artistic leader who displayed thorough openness to experience (Zhang, et al., 2019). She executed the transformation declaration strategy by investing in utter creativity in his brand execution strategy. She introduced the Hale Fresh Greek yogurt after digging deep into the consumer trends and by employing innovative marketing strategies like social media blogging and celebrity-posting.

Jackson's strategy to execute the transformation declaration plan was partially successful; however, she was a sedulous leader and hence, continued to enhance her strategic direction and work towards success. She also displayed self-awareness by continuously monitoring and changing her managerial approach as needed by the company. Overall she was an enthusiastic and zealous leader who successfully employed her innovation and creativity in her brand execution strategies and stayed adhered to her aspirations despite the challenges on her way.

ii. Strengths / weaknesses revealed during the organizational Challenges

Jackson had encountered a series of challenges while achieving her aims at Renfield farms; however, a thorough analysis of her performance revealed a few strengths and weaknesses about her personality. Firstly, her experience showed that Jackson had an emotionally stable personality, and she acted complacently and rationally despite the turfs within the organization (Li & Ahlstrom, 2016). Many employees bristled at her new strategic approach, mocked her weekend retreat meeting, and also failed to support her transformation declaration plan; however, she remained persistent in her efforts and controlled her anger and emotions. She also maintained her degree of self-esteem with utter pride and resilience and continued to pour efforts towards her objective. Her neurotic personality, stability, and confidence enabled Jackson to reiterate the same vision with a broader perspective and experiment with her revitalization strategy with a bigger group of people.

The second strength that was revealed during the change process was his decisive nature. When the weekend retreat happened, the diverse group of managers failed to come to a common consensus; however, then Jackson stepped in and picked up three traditional values that she thought would change the market place dynamics. Her choice of strategic objectives showed that Jackson is an innovative and transformative leader who loves to explore and experiment with new ideas and opportunities. It also showed that she was an affiliated leader who loved executing a collaborative plan (Zhang, et al., 2019). He also displayed agreeableness by working in cooperation with the teams and listening to their opinions

She also had a few weaknesses that were discovered during her leadership at Renfield farms. For instance, she failed at effectively managing her human resources. Her achievement-oriented personality enabled her to plan strategies in a rush, which left many employees bewildered (Ozbag, 2016). She also assumed an authoritative role where she performed all the tasks on her own, instead of delegating the less-essential tasks to the senior management. Her central managerial control drove the business by a storm and enabled her to face considerable challenges. She also lacked essential social empathy, which is required to initiate collaborative teamwork and understand the needs and opinions of the employees. Her lack of integrity shunned the employees’ confidence and productivity (Zarghamifard & Fard, 2019). Furthermore, she acted like a short-term thinker and hence, ended up developing a narrow vision, which reflects his lack of decisiveness.

The case shows that Jackson displayed more strengths than weaknesses while experiences challenges at Renfield farms.

iii. Areas where Jackson over / underestimated leadership abilities

During her initial years at Renfield Farms, Jackson experienced a lot of challenges as a CEO, and she approached those challenges in multiple ways. However, in many situations, she over/under-estimated her leadership traits, which crumbled her plan and made her vulnerable.

She over-estimated her leadership capabilities of decisiveness when she took the decision to execute the transformation declaration plan. She assumed that fostering interactive relationships with the consumers and abandoning the company's traditional print and media campaign would be an innovative and creative strategy that would prove successful in the long-run. She gave extra priority to openness to experience, which thereby leads her downfall. Furthermore, she also over-estimated her extraversion and her ability to inspire others. Jackson believed that her regular town-hall meetings, brand coordination groups, and senior manager meetings were sufficient in bringing the employees and the senior management on the same page. She assumed that her strategy would transform the operational dynamics of the company and thereby displayed utter confidence while executing his brand strategy.  

Furthermore, Jackson also over-estimated her conscientiousness. She believed that she is acting task-oriented and responsible by developing a customer-centric brand execution strategy. However, she had ended up developing a rash strategy that was doomed to fail.  

She had underestimated her leadership capability of socializing. She was unaware of the employees' mindset, which thereby enabled the entire revitalization strategy to crush down. If she had communicated effectively and displayed social empathy towards her employees, her plan would have been successful.

2. Analyze (Don’t describe) the change process of Renfield Farms and discuss if there were pull and push factors that contributed to the challenges and difficulties confronting the organization. Argue if the overall change was indeed a success or failure and justify why?

i. Analysis of the Change process 

The organizational dynamics of the Renfield farms underwent a major change that transformed the company's systems, strategy, and structure. Renfield Farms, an organic farm enterprise, was founded and led by Donald Franklin since 1964. Franklin had utilized a decentralized organizational structure for the farm, which promoted a culture of accountability and authority at a local level. This philosophy enabled Franklin to delegate tasks to the lower-level managers, thereby enabling them to become a significant part of the business decision-making process. This also empowers the managers to stay task-focused and allows them to induce cooperation amongst themselves. This decentralized philosophy also enabled him to disperse labor-intensive tasks to the lower levels, thereby keeping the most significant decisions in his hand (Lee, et al., 2016). 

Furthermore, Franklin had established the company’s culture in a way that it reflected healthy living and honest nutrition. Organizational culture plays a significant role in driving organizational effectiveness. Hence, due to the healthy and environmentally-friendly culture, the employees were passionate about natural and sustainable living and hence, they effectively launched nutritious brands and operated in a safe working environment (Gochhayat, et al., 2017). The organic farm was peaking due to its effective operational philosophy, and it's a strong culture until 2002 when Franklin retired as a CEO.  

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