Introduction Smith Systems Consulting provides web and business application services to a variety of clients including small and medium-sized business organizations, large domestic, multinational, and global corporations, and government and not for profit organizations (UOP, 2009). Learning Team A will recommend strategies to create alliances between Smith Systems Consulting and its networked internal and external customers, explain how the differences between leadership and management affect networking, and propose an environment that is supportive of team functioning and learning, and fosters sustainable innovation and creativity. Strategies to Create Alliances Kudler Fine Foods, Huffman Trucking, McBride Financial Services, and Riordan Manufacturing are among the list of clients Smith System Consulting (SSC) currently serves. One strategy for creating alliances between SSC and their clients is to empower the stakeholders by involving them in the decision-making process and the development of strategic goals. Engaging the clients in decision making and goal development will ensure SSC has a clear direction for meeting their clients’ needs in web-site maintenance, process upgrades, continuous training, and assisting with market expansion. Empowering clients will lead to a greater number of decisions made more efficiently and quickly, and an increased likelihood that the decisions will be readily accepted. Teaming with clients in the development of long- range goals will also help build alliances as SSC and its clients work toward common outcomes. Many of SSC’s clients are in need of assistance in keeping pace with the newest technologies. SSC can take the information regarding new programs on the market, review the possibilities to assist clientele, and make the recommendations for upgrading and maintaining the website to assist the client in gaining more business. The employees within the various organizations should also be included in the decision-making process and development of strategic goals. Employees whose input is considered and who are part of the decision-making process will be more inclined to support the company’s goals and make decisions beneficial to the company. Empowering employees will provide them with a sense of self-worth, pride, and ownership in the organization and their dedication to the organization will increase. Turnover will decrease because employees will feel as though their ideas are valued and they are a vital part of the organization. Low turnover will allow business relationships and alliances to form between SSC and client employees which will ultimately lead to increased loyalty and additional business. The unique business requirements of each client should also be periodically reviewed and employees briefed so the products can be adjusted as necessary to meet the client’s expectations. Satisfied clients lead to profits, which is a way to keep stakeholders invested in the company, gain new stakeholders, and allow companies to grow. Another strategy to forming an alliance between SSC and its clients is to create an environment where integrity, honesty, trust, treating others with respect, and open communication are valued and embraced, and conflicts are minimized. This type of environment will enhance productivity and efficiency, increase job satisfaction, strengthen teamwork, and ensure high quality services and products are delivered SSC’s clients. To ensure ethical business practices are employed and client confidentiality is maintained, SSC should also create an organizational culture dedicated to high standards of ethical behavior and superior business performance. SSC must ensure work will be conducted ethically to prevent any liability being transferred to the clients and their products pass scrutiny, and client confidentiality is maintained to avoid proprietary information from falling into the hands of potential competitors. With the new technologies available, SSC will be able to employ the latest technologies to secure information as well as identify areas that may be susceptible to security breaches. SSC should develop performance metrics and provide periodic assessment reports to clients’ regarding how the organization is performing. SSC employees should be given access to the progress reports and provided feedback so they can review their accomplishments and obtain status of progress. SSC can use the information from the performance metrics to improve processes and realign resources as necessary to meet the clients’ needs. SSC management should also develop a set of company business ethics and codes of conduct and train their employees to the requirements so employees know what constitutes acceptable business practices and behaviors in the workplace. SSC can advertise the organization promotes good business ethics and strict adherence to codes of conduct. SSC can encourage their employees to comply with the codes of conduct through feedback and rewards. Compliance to these codes will increase SSC’s clients’ confidence in the organization’s ability to conduct high quality, ethical work while assisting clients in the development of the technology appropriate for their respective businesses. Effects of Leadership and Management on Networking Leadership means thinking beyond the status quo; possessing a clear vision and expanding borders. Without leadership businesses would be stuck with the way processes are currently performed. “Leaders lend more weight to underlying issues, realizing that what happens at home affects what happens at work. They don’t need to know details, but will give ongoing support, maybe by providing coaching, counseling, training, etc” (HRZone. com, 2009). This applies both to guiding employees through the bad times and promoting maximum self-development for the organization. Management is defined as focusing on tasks and taking care of the items that need attention daily. Management allows room for personal needs while maintaining a realistic approach to getting everything done. SSC clients include small and medium-sized business organizations, large domestic, multinational, and global corporations in a varied cross-section of industries. SSC also serves a number of government and not-for-profit organizations. The overall client satisfaction rate has exceeded 98% (UOP, 2009). Creating new technology has provided SSC leadership with the vision to apply new ways of doing business. Leadership does not need to be tied to management because leadership is about inspiring others to perform and providing guidance. SSC management has supplied the tools necessary for their employees to produce quality products and generate high customer satisfaction ratings and implemented systems that enable the company to manage and promote their clients’ websites in a highly professional manner. SSC has become the link to the outside world via the Internet which allows their customers to concentrate on business. An Environment of Teaming, Learning and Innovation Although SSC has been successfully “serving clients since 1994 with high value Web and business application services” (UOP, 2009), integrating an environment that is supportive of team functioning and learning is critical to the continued success of the company. Creating an environment that promotes creativity and innovation begins with respect. The focus of SSC’s business practice has been producing quality products and services as well as keeping high levels of customer satisfaction levels among their clients. However, team building and innovation should also be a focal point. Three key elements should be incorporated into the new proposed plan for SSC which will allow quality team-building and continuous learning to begin: clear expectations, context, and commitment (Healthfield, 2009). The organization must be provided with clear performance expectations to foster and encourage good communication. Through the use of good communication, the organization can become more resourceful, efficient, and productive. The context of organizational goals should be relayed to all employees in such a manner so they understand the reasoning behind the goal as well as the importance of each goal. Additionally, employees should be part of the planning process so they feel as though their input is a vital contributing factor “in the total context of the organization’s goals, principals, vision, and values” (Healthfield, 2009). A certain level of commitment is needed to encourage positive team functioning which can be achieved my ensuring each team member is valued and appreciated for their hard work. Team members should be encouraged to participate in generating creative and innovative ideas. Establishing and fostering an organizational culture that embraces commitment, communication, and team building will also help to promote learning. An environment that encourages continued learning, creativity, and innovation will set precedence for future endeavors. Team members should continue to be encouraged by the organization to develop new ideas which can be accomplished by giving the team a weekly challenge to generate a new idea each week based on current projects. The team with the best idea may receive recognition such as an award or another type of praise-worthy incentive. A reward system can be an effective method for promoting creativity and team functionality, and pioneering inventive ideas to expand the company’s current products to the next level. Conclusion SSC can build alliances with their clients by ensuring they are involved in the decision-making process and development of long-range goals. In addition, fostering an environment where integrity, honesty, trust, treating others with respect, and open communication are valued and embraced will ensure employees follow good, ethical business practices and provide clients with products that meet their specifications. SSC’s leadership and management teams can maintain a high level of employee and customer satisfaction by communicating the company’s vision and progress toward goals, and providing the support and tools necessary for employees to perform work and serve the company’s clients. SSC can create an organizational culture in which employees are encouraged to learn, generate creative ideas and excel, and promote team building by communicating expectations for performance and providing opportunities for employees to participate in all aspects of the business. SSC’s employees and clients will be more productive and satisfied and as a result, the companies will be more effective and efficient in achieving their goals and sustaining business. References Healthfield, S. 2009). About. com: Human Resources: Twelve tips for team building. Retrieved October 31, 2009, from https://humanresources. about. com/od/involvementteams/a/twelve_tip_team_3. htm HRZone. com (2009). Managing People: Leaders. Retrieved October 29, 2009 from https://www. hrzone. co. uk/. University of Phoenix (UOP). (2009). Week five overview. Retrieved October 31, 2009, from University of Phoenix, Week five: Virtual Organizations Web link. PSY 428 – Organizational Psychology Course Web site.
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