Case Study Seven – Leadership Makes It Happen – Execution as Learning; The Discipline of Teams Section I – Summary Real teams at the top of large, complex organization are few and far between. One of the issues is because groups at the top of large corporations needlessly constrain themselves from achieving real team levels of performance because they assume that all direct reports must be on the team, that team goals, that the team members’ position rather than skills determine their respective role, that team must be a team all the time, and that the team leader is above doing real work (Katzenbach & Smith, 993).
Nonetheless, Pepsi Bottling Group (PBG) has become the world’s largest manufacturer, seller, and distributor of Pepsi Cola beverages (Levi, 2009). “Execution – as-Learning” (p. 263), has played a significant part in PGB’s successful infrastructure implementation. “Execution-as-learning” entails operating in a manner that allows organizations to learn as they go. The whole company, departments, or work groups can create, innovate and make adjustments while at the same time successfully deliver services or products to customers.
This method forces action and reflection hat complement each other. There are four steps involved in the framework for “Execution-as-Learning” that organizations use for making leadership happen. They are diagnosing, designing, acting, and reflecting (Edmondson, 2012). The first task is to diagnose the challenge that lies ahead. This can be done by identifying process issues, performance flaws, or chances for innovation. “Execution-as-Learning” (p. 263), intent is to strive for continuous improvement for greater efficiency and reliability (Edmondson, 2012).
Productive learning in organizations does not happen when ndividuals work alone to sort through and solves important problems, but rather through people working and learning collaboratively in flexible teams. Often times, leaders might have to recruit and look outside of the organization to seek individuals with skills that fit the qualifications for the task. The next step is to design the situation and select possible actions to take. Often times this involves brainstorming and reducing choices to a single possibility for action.
This can be done by an official determining a plan, or agreement about something to try next. Basically, a design’s urpose is to guide action. Determining how to achieve a goal often begins with seeking out current best practices from experts, publications, or even competitors. Action entails putting in place what was discussed. It is imparative to track what occurs, as well as the results that the actions produce. One of the differences in “Execution-as-Learning” (p. 63) as opposed to traditional management is that Just as much attention is paid to how the work progresses. Reflecting enables teams and leaders to understand what works and what does not to stop any detected failures from recurring. Regular assessment is vital to “Execution-as-Learning” (p. 263). Reflection is a methodical task. Reflection allows both large and small improvements to exlstlng practlces, wnlcn tnen can De Incorporated Into tne Olagnosls ana aeslgn 0T the next iteration (Edmondson, 2012).
Section II – Implications for Leadership The diagnosing stage consisted of PBG leadership being aware that increased complexity in the bottling landscape and the competitive nature of the bottling industry needed a new approach to production sourcing. The consumer preferences network and supply chain drove this complexity. Consumer preference changed from cans to bottles and from carbonated soft drinks to noncarbonated drinks. PBG was only producing these products at limited locations. The end result was over half of PBG’s bottling lines operating at capacity and peak demand outstripping instantaneous production capacity (Levi, 2009).
During the designing phase, PBG leadership took a “network-based” (p. 5) approach to production sourcing that delivered minimized system wide cost, better customer service and competitive advantage. PBG recruited a leader from outside the organization to match the skills ith the task for exploring how to restructure. The team goal was to create a process that would improve the response to the market aligned with the supply chain’s strategy of achieving competitive advantage through managed continuous improvement (Levi, 2009).
PBG actions consisted of moving from a static sourcing strategy to a dynamic one by implementing an enhanced production sourcing strategy bringing into line different business functions and demonstrating positive results. The results included reduction in raw material and supplies inventory, a ecline in the growth of transport miles, an increase in the return on invested capital, and a reduction in warehouse out-of-stock levels that provided an extraordinary amount of product ready to be sold.
Also, there were no capital expenditures associated with the new infrastructure. Ultimately, by constantly evaluating and optimizing production sourcing strategies, PBG has remained competitive and its supply chain is flexible. Their revenue continues growing and the supply chain complexity and risks increase (Levi, 2009). This keeps reflecting alive and prompt eaders to respond to changing markets and rising energy cost to better utilize resources and infrastructure to reduce costs and increase profit (Katzenbach & smith, 1993).
References Edmondson, A. (2012). Teaming: How organizations learn, innovate, and compete in the knowledge economy. (1st ed. ). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Katzenbach,J. R. , & Smith, D. K. (1993). The discipline of teams. Harvard Business Review, Retrieved from http://www. harvardbusiness. org Levi, S. (2007). Designing and managing the supply chain: Concepts, strategies, and case studies. Retrieved from http://www. ibm. com/legal/copytrade. shtml