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Old Company, Modern Marketing Strategy: Lessons from Lee Kum Kee Change Management Analysis & Solution
HBR Change Management Solutions
Sales & Marketing Case Study | Bennett Yim, Vincent Mak
Case Study Description
The sauce company Lee Kum Kee, one of the best known Hong Kong brands, had a long history that began in 1888 and was run by the same family for four generations. The company was founded by Lee Kam Sheung as a small oyster sauce manufacturer in Guangdong Province, China. It relocated to Macau in the early 1900s and moved once more to Hong Kong after World War II; it remained based there in the decades afterwards. Lee Kum Kee was already expanding beyond the Guangdong-Macau-Hong Kong distribution network in the 1920s to North America, when it was also making shrimp paste. In the 1970s and 1980s, after the torch passed to third-generation leader Lee Man Tat, there was rapid geographical market and product diversification. Lee Man Tat's sons, who were educated in the West, inherited the leadership from their father in the 1990s, and the pace of modernization and diversification continued while the company's marketing strategy remained vigorous and adaptable. The company overcame a consumer confidence crisis--called the 3-MPCD crisis--in the late 1990s and early 2000s and continued to thrive. By early 2003, Lee Kum Kee had already developed more than 200 sauces. Its distribution network covered 60 countries in five continents, and its products were available in more than 80 countries. What lessons about strategic brand management can we learn from the way Lee Kum Kee developed, maintained, and expanded the reach of its products over a whole century? What lessons about crisis management does the company's handling of the 3-MPCD crisis offer?
Change Management, Corporate governance, Crisis management, Growth strategy, Risk management, Strategic planning , Case Study Solution, Term Papers
What is Change Management Definition & Process? Why transformation efforts fail? What are the Change Management Issues in Old Company, Modern Marketing Strategy: Lessons from Lee Kum Kee case study?
According to John P. Kotter – Change Management efforts are the major initiatives an organization undertakes to either boost productivity, increase product quality, improve the organizational culture, or reverse the present downward spiral that the company is going through.
Sooner or later every organization requires change management efforts because without reinventing itself organization tends to lose out in the competitive market environment. The competitors catch up with it in products and service delivery, disruptors take away the lucrative and niche market positioning, or management ends up sitting on its own laurels thus missing out on the new trends, opportunities and developments in the industry.
What are the John P. Kotter - 8 Steps of Change Management?
Eight Steps of Kotter's Change Management Execution are -
- 1. Establish a Sense of Urgency
- 2. Form a Powerful Guiding Coalition
- 3. Create a Vision
- 4. Communicate the Vision
- 5. Empower Others to Act on the Vision
- 6. Plan for and Create Short Term Wins
- 7. Consolidate Improvements and Produce More Change
- 8. Institutionalize New Approaches
Are Change Management efforts easy to implement? What are the challenges in implementing change management processes?
According to authorlist Change management efforts are absolutely essential for the surviving and thriving of the organization but they are also extremely difficult to implement. Some of the biggest obstacles in implementing change efforts are –
- Change management is often a lengthy, time consuming, and resource consuming process. Managements try to avoid them because they reflect negatively on the short term financial balance sheet of the organization.
- Change management efforts are made when the organization is in dire need and have fewer resources. This creates silos protection mentality within the organization.
- Change efforts create an environment of uncertainty in the organization that impacts not only the productivity in the organization but also the level of trust in the organization.
- Change efforts are often made by new leaders because they are chosen by board to do so. These leaders often have less trust among the workforce compare to the people with whom they were already working with over the years.
- Change efforts are often targeted at making fundamental aspects in the business – operations and culture. Change management disrupts are status quo thus face opposition from both within and outside the organization.
How you can apply Change Management Principles to Old Company, Modern Marketing Strategy: Lessons from Lee Kum Kee case study?
Leaders can implement Change Management efforts in the organization by following the “Eight Steps Method of Change Management” by John P. Kotter.
Step 1 - Establish a sense of urgency
What are areas that require urgent change management efforts in the “ Old Company, Modern Marketing Strategy: Lessons from Lee Kum Kee “ case study. Some of the areas that require urgent changes are – organizing sales force to meet competitive realities, building new organizational structure to enter new markets or explore new opportunities. The leader needs to convince the managers that the status quo is far more dangerous than the change efforts.
Step 2 - Form a powerful guiding coalition
As mentioned earlier in the paper, most change efforts are undertaken by new management which has far less trust in the bank compare to the people with whom the organization staff has worked for long period of time. New leaders need to tap in the talent of the existing managers and integrate them in the change management efforts. This will for a powerful guiding coalition that not only understands the urgency of the situation but also has the trust of the employees in the organization. If the team able to explain at the grass roots level what went wrong, why organization need change, and what will be the outcomes of the change efforts then there will be a far more positive sentiment about change efforts among the rank and file.
Step 3 - Create a vision
The most critical role of the leader who is leading the change efforts is – creating and communicating a vision that can have a broader buy-in among employees throughout the organization. The vision should not only talk about broader objectives but also about how every little change can add up to the improvement in the overall organization.
Step 4 - Communicating the vision
Leaders need to use every vehicle to communicate the desired outcomes of the change efforts and how each employee impacted by it can contribute to achieve the desired change. Secondly the communication efforts need to answer a simple question for employees – “What it is in for the them”. If the vision doesn’t provide answer to this question then the change efforts are bound to fail because it won’t have buy-in from the required stakeholders of the organization.
Step 5 -Empower other to act on the vision
Once the vision is set and communicated, change management leadership should empower people at every level to take decisions regarding the change efforts. The empowerment should follow two key principles – it shouldn’t be too structured that it takes away improvisation capabilities of the managers who are working on the fronts. Secondly it shouldn’t be too loosely defined that people at the execution level can take it away from the desired vision and objectives.
Step 6 - Plan for and create short term wins
Initially the change efforts will bring more disruption then positive change because it is transforming the status quo. For example new training to increase productivity initially will lead to decrease in level of current productivity because workers are learning new skills and way of doing things. It can demotivate the employees regarding change efforts. To overcome such scenarios the change management leadership should focus on short term wins within the long term transformation. They should carefully craft short term goals, reward employees for achieving short term wins, and provide a comprehensive understanding of how these short term wins fit into the overall vision and objectives of the change management efforts.
Step 7 - Consolidate improvements and produce more change
Short term wins lead to renewed enthusiasm among the employees to implement change efforts. Management should go ahead to put a framework where the improvements made so far are consolidated and more change efforts can be built on the top of the present change efforts.
Step 8 - Institutionalize new approaches
Once the improvements are consolidated, leadership needs to take steps to institutionalize the processes and changes that are made. It needs to stress how the change efforts have delivered success in the desired manner. It should highlight the connection between corporate success and new behaviour. Finally organization management needs to create organizational structure, leadership, and performance plans consistent with the new approach.
Is change management a process or event?
What many leaders and managers at the Lee Kum fails to recognize is that – Change Management is a deliberate and detail oriented process rather than an event where the management declares that the changes it needs to make in the organization to thrive. Change management not only impact the operational processes of the organization but also the cultural and integral values of the organization.
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