Knowledge leadership tools for executive leaders

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Michael S. dell, 45,is the CEO and founder of Dell Computer Corporation which is the largest direct computer company. He is also the youngest person ever to head a Fortune 500 firm. And he is the longest-serving CEO in the computer industry. The company he founded in 1984 with $1,000 and a simple question: how could Dell make the process of buying computers more efficient, more profitable? As a new and complicated product, selling computers through the existing retail network weren't all that effective at explaining what all the bells and whistles actually did. Therefore, an unprecedented idea emerged - to sell computer systems directly to customers. Miael has ability to understand and know the customers better, and he makes the process of delivering to the customer exactly what they want. (cited in konwledge of leadership pp.67) Dell grew phenomenally quickly by giving customers exactly what they wanted at a price that no other manufacturer could match, which bring Dell its competitive advantages.

Personality affect leaders effectiveness.

In the year of 2001, Michael Dell and President Kevin B, Rollins met privately, they felt confident about the company which was recovering from the global crash in it PC sales. However, their own personal performance was another matter. According to Dell's internal interviews, subordinates thought the 38 years old Dell was 'impersonal' and 'emotionally detached', while the 50 years old president Kevin was been thought as 'autocratic' and 'antagonistic'. Few of people felt loyalty to the company's leaders. In accordance with another survey which following the conpany's first-ever mass layoffs, about half of Dell Inc's employees would leave if they got the chance, even though Dell was much better than its competitors.

http://psychology.about.com/od/leadership/a/leadstyles.htm Kurt lewin's leadership styles theory.

At this stage, Dell focused on the sales rather than the management in his company. According to Kurt lewin's leadership style theory, His leadership style belongs to autocratic leadership. As Dell did, the authoritarian leaders provide clear expectations for what needs to be done, when it should be done, and how is should be done. Dell was more like a decision maker with little or no input from the rest people in the organization. Advantages of this leadership style can be more efficient due to the leader are primarily concerned with high performance of their subordinate and focused on task accomplishment, and it can be applied if the leader is the most knowledgeable member of the organization. However, researchers found that 'decision-making was less creative and motivated' under such leadership. Dell's controlling, bossy characters and careless about the employees made him autocratic. Therefore, almost half Dell employees expressed that if they got a chance they would leave the company.

Researchers found that it's more difficult to move from an authoritarian style to a democratic style than vice versa. However, Dell becomes the best-managed company in technology because what Dell did was not just shrugged off the criticism or let the issue slide like other CEOs at other industry. Within a week, Dell hold a meeting with his top 20 managers and offered a frank self-critique, saying that he is 'hugely shy and that it sometimes made him see, aloof and unapproachable.' He bowed to forge tifhter bonds with his team. Some in the room were shocked. They knew personality tests given to key execs had repeatedly shown Dell to be an "off-the-charts introvert," and such an admission from him had to have been painful. "It was powerful stuff," says Brian Wood, the head of public-sector sales for the Americas. "You could tell it wasn't easy for him."

Michael Dell didn't stop there. Days later, they began showing a videotape of his talk to every manager in the company -- several thousand people. Then Dell and Rollins adopted desktop props to help them do what didn't come naturally. A plastic bulldozer cautioned Dell not to ram through ideas without including others, and a Curious George doll encouraged Rollins to listen to his team before making up his mind. Dell's courage to own up to his mistakes and be responsible for himself makes Dell Inc the best managed company in the industry.

(knowledge of leadership)

Dell and Rollins excels in both customer-focused(talk about Customerisation), indicate he has a sense of innovation. It is a new way to sell products directly to the customers.

supplier-focused(beacuese its OEM model, which is used to refer to the company that acquires a product or component and reuses or incorporates it into a new product with its own brand name). therefore, managing and choosing the correct supplier is very important to Dell. He is very familiar with all the details of price and production standards, and he send people to inspect the suppliers.

He focused on the talents.

His leadership belongs to transformational leadership, because he unwaberingly focuse on his goal, strong sense of innovation, he has powerful vision for the future and develops unique business philosophy. He wants his company to have a unrivaled speed to market; an unwavering dedication to customer service; a fierce commitment to producing consistently high-quality, low-priced, custom-made machines; and a shrewd exploitation of the Internet. The vision makes Dell computer successful and unique in the world.

Dell says "A lot of businesses get off track because they don't communicate an excitement about being part of a winning team that can achieve big goals" he talks to department managers and employees and get them excited what are they doing.

He developed a new leadership model-one company, two CEOs. There are lots of risk to go with this model.

http://www.director.co.uk/MAGAZINE/2009/4%20April/Michael_Dell_62_9.html improtant …..

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