Corporate Culture and Leadership: Keys to Good Strategy Execution

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Corporate Culture and Leadership: Keys to Good Strategy Execution


1 Which one of the following is not something that shapes and helps define a company's culture?

A) The core values and business principles that executives espouse together with the operating practices and behaviors that define "how we do things around here"

B) The company's standards of what is ethically acceptable and what is not, along with the legends and stories that people repeat to illustrate and reinforce the company's core values, traditions, and business practices

C) A company's approach to people management and its style of operating

D)The strategy and business model that the company has adopted

E) The "chemistry" and "personality" that permeates its work environment

2 Which one of the following is not something to look for in identifying a company's culture?

A) The company's approach to people management and the official policies, procedures, and operating practices that paint the white lines for the behavior of company personnel

B) The company's track record in meeting or beating its financial and strategic performance targets

C) How managers and employees interact and relate to each other

D) The spirit and character that pervades the work climate

E) The strength of peer pressures to do things in particular ways and conform to expected norms

3 Which of the following statements about a strong-culture company is false?

A) Decisive leadership on the part of top executives, an industry-leading market share, and strict enforcement of long-standing company policies are all important traits of a strong culture company.

B) In strong culture companies, senior managers make a point of reiterating key principles and core values to organization members; more importantly, they make a conscious effort to display these principles and values in their own actions and behavior—they walk the talk.

C) Continuity of leadership, small group size, stable group membership, geographic concentration, and considerable organizational success all contribute to the emergence and sustainability of a strong culture.

D) In a strong-culture company, culturally-approved behaviors and ways of doing things are nurtured while culturally-disapproved behaviors and work practices get squashed.

E) Senior managers insist that company values and business principles be reflected in the decisions and actions taken by all company personnel; moreover, individuals encounter strong peer pressures from co-workers to observe culturally-approved norms and behaviors.

4 The characteristics of a weak company culture include

A) deep hostility to change and to people who champion new ways of doing things.

B) no code of ethics or statement of core values, a highly centralized managerial hierarchy, and a big corporate bureaucracy.

C) a lack of values and principles that are consistently preached or widely shared, little co-worker peer pressure to do things in particular ways, and no strong employee allegiance to what the company stands for or to operating the business in well-defined ways.

D) no strong sense of empowerment among company members, little or no top management commitment to a clearly-defined competitive strategy, and a poor track record in producing good financial results.

E) All of the above are traits of a weak company culture.

5 Which of the following is not one of the four types of unhealthy company cultures?

A) Bureaucratic cultures

B) Change-resistant cultures

C) Unethical and greed-driven cultures

D) Politicized cultures

E) Insular, inwardly-focused cultures

6 Companies with insular, inwardly-focused cultures

A)are typically opposed to performance-based incentive compensation and employee empowerment.

B)are prone to be preoccupied with avoiding risks, are unlikely to pursue bold actions to capture emerging opportunities, are frequently lax when it comes to product innovation and continuous improvement in performing value chain activities, and prefer following rather than leading market change.

C)are typically gung-ho about adapting to changing market conditions so as to protect the company's culture from shareholder criticism.

D)tend to resist recruiting people who can offer fresh thinking and outside perspectives and typically refrain from looking outside the company for best practices, new managerial approaches, and innovative ideas.

E)are typically run by empire-building managers who jealously guard their decision-making prerogatives; they have their own agendas and operate the work units under their supervision as autonomous "fiefdoms," and the positions they take on issues is usually aimed at protecting or expanding their turf.

7 The hallmarks of a high performance corporate culture include

A)a shared willingness to adapt core values and ethical standards to fit the changing requirements of an evolving strategy, use of a balanced scorecard approach to tracking company performance, and a gung-ho approach to discovering best practices.

B)considerable political infighting that typically consumes a great deal of organizational energy, often with the result that what's best for the company takes a backseat to political maneuvering.

C)a "can-do" spirit, pride in doing things right, no-excuses accountability, and a pervasive results-oriented work climate where people go the extra mile to meet or beat stretch objectives.

D)charismatic managerial leadership, a lean management bureaucracy, and a must-be-invented-here mindset.

E)strong inclinations to adopt a wait-and-see posture, carefully analyze several alternative responses, learn from the missteps of early movers, and then move forward cautiously and conservatively with initiatives that are deemed safe.

8 Adaptive cultures are characterized by such traits as

A)willingness on the part of organizational members to accept change and take on the challenge of introducing and executing new strategies—company personnel share a feeling of confidence that the organization can deal with whatever threats and opportunities come down the pike; they are receptive to risk taking, experimentation, innovation, and changing strategies and practices.

B)orchestrating organizational changes in a manner that (1) demonstrates genuine care for the well-being of all key constituencies (customers, employees, shareowners, suppliers, and the communities where the company operates) and (2) tries to satisfy all their legitimate interests simultaneously.

C)a proactive approach to identifying issues, evaluating the implications and options, and quickly moving ahead with workable solutions.

D)a willingness to change operating practices and behaviors to adapt to new market and competitive conditions so long as the changes do not compromise core values and long-standing business principles

E)All of these.

9 Which of the following is not one of the leadership roles that senior managers have to play in pushing for good strategy execution and operating excellence?

A)Learning the obstacles in the path of good execution and clearing the way for progress

B)Weeding out managers who are consistently in the ranks of the lowest performers (the bottom 10%) and who are not enthusiastic about the strategy or how it is being executed

C)Staying on top what is happening and closely monitor progress.

D)Putting constructive pressure on the organization and initiate ive actions.

E)Delegating authority to middle and lower-level managers and creating a sense of empowerment among employees to move the implementation process forward.

10 The task of top executives in making ive adjustments includes

A)deciding when adjustments are needed and what adjustments to make.

B)knowing when to continue with the present corporate culture and when to shift to a different and better corporate culture.

C)being good at figuring out whether to arrive at decisions quickly or slowly in choosing among the various alternative adjustments.

D)deciding whether to try to fix the problems of poor strategy execution or simply shift to a strategy that is easier to execute ly.

E) deciding how to identify the problems that need fixing.

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