“Although caring may not be a word many people would normally associate with management. Cheryl Womack of Kansas City, Missouri, has built a $45 million company (VCW Inc.) by caring about her customers and her employees. She started her business in 1981 inthe basement of her home with one telephone and call-waiting. What does VCW Inc. do? The company oversees the National Association of Independent Truckers. VCW offers
cost-effective insurance coverage, retirement benefit plans, low-interest credit cards, and other benefits to thousands of independent truck drivers who belong to this association. In addition, many large motor carriers who hire independent drivers are also her customers.Womack’s customers are a unique breed, indeed! Independent truck drivers “move the world” as they travel across the country with the products we use every day. Independent truck drivers are also business people and must run their businesses efficiently and effectively or they won’t survive in this intensely competitive industry. How does VCW show that it cares about its
customers-these independent truckers? It provides an answer to a problem that many of them face: where to find cost-effective insurance coverage that other insurance companies refuse to carry. Womack subscribes to the belief that if you can help solve a customer’s problem, you’ll be successful. She and her employees have been successful at solving their customers’ problems and
caring about them by providing outstanding customer service. But
Womack’s caring management doesn’t stop with her customers. It extends to her employees, as well. Her most compelling statement about her management philosophy is that
“everything I do here is designed to cultivate and grow employees.” From the beautifully designed offices to the formal dinners and travel experiences she provides, Womack sees her role as a mentor for employees, not as a boss. She wants her employees to not only do their jobs but also to recreate,
redesign, and expand them. Employees can earn $1,000 for proposing suggestions that help them do the job better. VCW Inc. also has a profit-sharing plan that gives employees a stake in the company’s ability to make a profit. Womack also recognizes that employees need more than financial caring. To that end, she implemented on-site day care for employees’ children, and employees enjoy inexpensive, delicious home-cooked meals at
the office prepared by an employee who started at VCW in customer service but who had always dreamed of a job cooking for others. Womack strongly believes in the power of such benefits to show employees that she cares about them and wants them to be committed and productive at their jobs”.
Q1) Which of the four management functions does Cheryl Womack seem to be particularly strong?
The four functions of management are: planning, organizing, directing, and controlling.
Planning is the core area of all the functions of management. It is the foundation upon which the other three areas should be build. Planning requires management to evaluate where the company is currently, and where it would like to be in the future. From there an appropriate course of action to attain the company’s goals and objectives is determined and implemented.
The planning process is ongoing. There are uncontrollable, external factors that constantly affect a company both positively and negatively. Depending on the circumstances, these external factors may cause a company to adjust its course of action in accomplishing certain goals. This is referred to as strategic planning.
During strategic planning, management analyzes internal and external factors that do and may affect the company, as well as the objectives and goals. From there they determine the company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. In order for management to do this effectively, it has to be realistic and comprehensive.
Getting organized is the second function of management. Management must organize all its resources in order to implement the course of action it determined in the planning process. Through the process of getting organized, management will determine the internal organizational structure; establish and maintain relationships, as well as allocate necessary resources.
In determining the internal structure, management must look at the different divisions or departments, the coordination of staff, and what is the best way to handle the necessary tasks and disbursement of information within the company. Management will then divide up the work that needs to be done, determine appropriate departments, and delegate authority and responsibilities.
The third function of management is directing. Through directing, management is able to influence and oversee the behavior of the staff in achieving the company’s goals, as well as assisting them in accomplishing their own personal or career goals. This influence can be gained through motivation, communication, department dynamics, and department leadership.
Employees that are highly motivated generally go above and beyond in their job performance, thereby playing a vital role in the company achieving its goals. For this reason, managers tend to put a lot of focus on motivating their employees. They come up with reward and incentive programs based on job performance and geared toward the employees’ needs.
Effective communication is vital in maintaining a productive working environment, building positive interpersonal relationships, and problem solving. Understanding the communication process and working on areas that need improvement help managers to become more effective communicators. The best way to find areas that need improvement is to periodically ask themselves and others how well they are doing. Controlling
Controlling is the last of the four functions of management. It involves establishing performance standards based on the company’s objectives, and evaluating and reporting actual job performance. Once management has done both of these things, it should compare the two to determine any necessary corrective or preventive action.
Q2) Which of the management skills Cheryl Womack optimally possessed? Provide examples supporting your choices.
Cheryl Womack possesses the following management skills:
- TECHNICAL SKILLS
Cheryl Womack understands the problems of her customers at grass root level; she is proficient in her field of insurance industry, she keeps her eyes open and does her best what others don’t.
- HUMAN SKILLS
In order to meet the new challenges employees are welcomed to take part in decision making process by putting creative, fresh and innovative ideas on table which can be proved as solutions for organization’s main challenges, Womack utilizes this tool of “Human Skills” to solve her customer’s problems.
- CONCEPTUAL SKILLS
Cheryl Womack believes that if she cares employees, employees will definitely care customers, the powerful management tool behind VCW Inc. success story is friendly and congenial work environment with optimum remuneration and other social benefit charges as payback to employees which motivates team work and builds high performance team.
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