Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the following proposal for Kudler Fine Foods:
Intervention Recommendation Proposal
Kudler Fine Foods Inc. a specialty food store has submitted a request for intervention to increase market share in lieu of competition from new warehouse food stores. Kudler is experiencing a substantial drop in sales since the recent opening of Costco and Sam's warehouse stores within the past 13 months. Seizing the opportunity to capitalize on the increase traffic flow from the new warehouse stores, Kudler seeks an OD intervention. This will distinguish Kudler as the leader in service, quality, and knowledge to support all culinary skill levels. The expectation is to support the business development by changing the internal work processes. Successful intervention will reveal methodologies that will competitively challenge the competition.
French and Bell (1999) point out the importance of the humanistic involvement within the intervention process. Success of intervention is not only researching all portions of the Kudler website to identify issues but also includes working closely with management and general employees. After performing considerable research, interviews, and discussions three types of interventions emerge. Considering the necessity of large group intervention, Appreciative Inquiry (AI) selection was a natural choice. To solidify the effectiveness of AI however, further interventions that address individuals and smaller groups is also necessary. The skills of an executive coach fully support issues on an individual level while survey feedback tools provide valuable discussion points for small group intervention.
One of the major components of successful implementation of planned change is the culture of the organization. If planned changed is implemented seamlessly, concisely, and clearly, the organization may achieve the desired outcomes. Organizations that embrace a positive dynamic are likely to perform well during change (Cameron, 2009). Organizations need, however, to understand what they are doing well in order to embrace this positive dynamic. For example, organizations that identify their strengths can use that knowledge as a motor for change (Sekerka et al, 2006). AI is a technique organizations use that focuses on what works well, and using those strengths to implement change. According to Jones and Brazzel (2006) "AI is a change process that begins with affirmation, and creates opportunity for growth and change by indentifying what is working in a system," (p. 444). Kudler Fine Foods (KFF) can use the AI approach for their change process.
Currently the organization has a solid system concerning their policies and procedures. The employee handbook illustrates how employees should conduct themselves. The policies and procedures address the pay scales of the employee. Moreover, if employees are hired or promoted to a supervisor position, further training is provided (University of Phoenix, 2011). The strength of the policies and procedures can help drive the changes needed at the operational level.
Currently, employees at the operational level are not provided with any training to improve their skills or motivate higher performance. Employees promoted to management are provided both of these components. KFF needs to implement a similar policy for employees at the operational level. If employees at the operational level are provided with support that gives them the opportunity to increase their skills and motivation, their performance is likely to increase (Rhoades and Eisenberger, 2002). During KFF employee reviews, management can discuss ways that employees can improve their skills and offer workshops designed to stimulate growth.
Team Level Intervention-Survey Feedback
Kudler Fine Foods currently has three locations consisting of several employees including managers, clerks, and specialty employees for each department. Each store functions as a group and is rated by customer surveys throughout the year. Kudler Foods prides itself in having knowledgeable staff throughout the organization. As a group Kudler employees are expected to keep up on new product information weekly. Each store offers regular workshops on products and their uses to familiarize employee with the products in their departments, but there seems to be a disconnect between expectations of learning and knowledge transfer to customers. Based on recent survey results, employee knowledge of products has gone down significantly between surveys (University of Phoenix, 2011). This issue has not been addressed but could be through the group intervention of survey feedback sessions.
Feedback processes serve as a catalyst for collaborative change (Jones & Brazzel, 2006). Survey feedback activities rely on questionnaire data to generate information that can be used to identify problems and opportunities (French & Bell, 1999). Groups then analyze the data regarding their performance and design action plans to correct problems. Kudler Foods is already completing customer surveys but does not appear to be communicating this data with its employees. It is suggested that each store implements feedback sessions weekly, concentrating on one area of improvement until action plans have been developed and implemented. At weekly store meetings the store manager could read some of these surveys and discuss with their employees what they need to improve their knowledge of new products. Whether it be product information weekly updates, a chance to take samples home to taste or learn about the product, or regular hands on short meetings to introduce each product.
A constant feedback of survey data could help improve their customer satisfaction by aligning individual, group, and organizational goals. Leaders within a group can influence members by orienting them around a clear set of goals and delegating responsibility to each member. Individuals within the group will have their own set of goals, but when there is alignment between individual and group goals, high performance and satisfaction levels increase dramatically (Kets de Vries, 2005). Action plan results can then be tracked through future customer survey data. Because Kudler is already collecting survey data, this technique is a cost effective means of implementing a comprehensive program. Survey feedback interventions at the group level will help each store improve their employee knowledge and in turn customer satisfaction, helping Kudler Fine Foods to once again stand out amongst the competition.
Kathy Kudler is the President and CEO of Kudler Fine Foods, having founded the vision to provide gourmet foods and wines to the area for customers interested in fine cuisine with fine products (University of Phoenix, 2011). Initially Kathy was able to be involved in the day to day functions of the organization, which helped her understand her business and customers more. Being involved in these functions kept Kathy well informed of the environment of her business and employees working for her company.
However, being this involved in the organization still is causing the company to become bogged down because Kathy is still ordering supplies for each of the stores and she is not able to be an effective leader for the organization because of the purchasing she is still doing. While it was necessary to be this hands on at the beginning of the business, Kudler Fine Foods has grown where Kathy needs to start turning over responsibilities to different departments, hire leaders to handle various tasks within the organization, and become more the strategic visionary that sets goals and expectations for moving Kudler Fine Foods forward rather than maintaining the status quo. It is for this reason that Kathy's coaching will parallel the idea of second-order change (Watzlawick and Fisch, 1974) which attends to systems and structures involved with the problem to adjust the person to fit the environment.
To become this individual Kathy would need to undergo coaching from a professional devoted to pursuing ways that the client can be more effective as human beings and as professionals (Hudson, 1999). This will not be easy for Kathy to do as she has been so involved with the organization she may have trouble letting go of certain tasks, but the proper coach will help Kathy plan ways to get to her future vision, with a high probability of success, while honoring Kathy's purpose and what she wants for the organization (Hudson, 1999). Once these coaching sessions are complete and the new ideas and visions for Kudler Fine Foods have been established then Kathy can be the leader that is necessary for Kudler Fine Foods to compete with the competition in the area.
The recommendation is to address everyone within the company, small groups, and individuals in preparing a successful intervention. Choosing Ai will solicit input from all employees empowering a level of ownership in changing the presence of the organization to embrace specialty food products. Individual intervention of coaching is necessary to help leaders improve time management and talent utilization towards improving all aspects of the business. Effective use of feedback while working with small groups will build a process that endures long after the official intervention making it a reliable gauge of employee and customer interaction.
The strengths and weaknesses of a proposal for KKF is determined. Intervention recommendation proposals are examined.