Asda & Archie Norman: Good Leadership

In: Business and Management

Submitted By jkirschner71
Words 1686
Pages 7
The case study of Asda and Archie Norman is a prime example of how good leadership and change can affect a company’s growth. Asda, a formerly successful supermarket chain, was teetering on the edge of bankruptcy after numerous bad business decisions, was saved by Norman’s dynamic approach. Norman believed that everything about the organization needed to be changed in order for the company to survive. His approach was significantly inline with the ideas discussed in Heifetz’s and Laurie’s article “Learning to lead: Real leaders say, “I don’t have the answer.””
Heifetz and Laurie state that effective leadership requires us to make the distinction between leadership and authority and between technical and adaptive work. By clarifying these two distinctions we are able to understand a major error that people often make – treating adaptive challenges as technical problems. The case of Norman and Asda is a prime example of a company that treated their issues as adaptive challenges. Norman was a firm believer that in order to turn around Asda, he would need to start from scratch, eliminating almost all infrastructures that were previously accepted.
Heifitz and Laurie describe five interdependent principles that leaders can use to mobilize people to do adaptive work. The first is that the leader must identify the adaptive challenges. Companies often fail because they do not adapt to new market challenges and needs. Part of Asda’s initial failure was top management’s decision to divert much of the profit from the grocery operation into non-food acquisitions and the changing of their customer base, which was already a tapped market. One of Norman’s first orders of business was hiring a consulting organization to help him redirect the companies position within the market. They decided that they were going to supply shopping needs of the ordinary working family – a market…...

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