Objective: Complete and submit Critical Thinking exercises as defined in the â€¨course Syllabus.
Requirements: Successful Strategic thinking Exercises will be three (3) to five (5) pages in length and incorporate the information and knowledge gained in the course. Use the sections shown in the Evaluation Criteria to guide your analysis.
Success Criteria: Think of yourself as a newly hired executive or consultant to the firm. The owner(s) is/are frustrated by the current situation and want to make changes that will correct the issues affecting business operations. They need an analysis of the situation and recommendations and a plan to improve which insures the viability and profitability of the organization.
Timing: Papers are due and should be submitted via e-mail as defined in the class schedule.
Evaluation: Assignments will be evaluated based on:
Assignments must include a cover sheet with your name, class, and title of the Critical Thinking assignment.
Every Customer Counts
LOSING CUSTOMERS IS ALWAYS HARD
Maintaining good relationships with customers can be stressful for a small business. Fred is a lawyer I know whoâ€™s had a successful practice for more than 25 years. When I ran into him recently, he told me he was making some changes. â€œIâ€™m at a new stage of my life,â€ he said. â€œFrom now on, Iâ€™m working only with people whom I respect and who respect me.â€ â€œThatâ€™s a pretty bold statement,â€ I said. â€œI mean it,â€ he said. â€œI just fired three clients. I sent them their files with a note saying, â€˜My firm will no longer represent you.â€™ Iâ€™d had it with them. They were a constant aggravation. They didnâ€™t treat me right. They abused my office people. They took forever to pay their bills.â€
â€œHow did they respond?â€ I asked. â€œOne of them called me up,â€ Fred said. â€œHe thought it was a joke. When I told him I was serious, he asked me why. I said, â€˜You really donâ€™t want to know.â€™ He insisted that he did. â€˜OK,â€™ I said, â€˜youâ€™re a miserable person. You make everyoneâ€™s life miserable, but youâ€™re not going to ruin my life anymore.â€™ He hung up on me. It felt so good. I wished Iâ€™d done it sooner.â€
There was a time when I would have thought Fred was crazy. I would have said, â€œSo what if your customers are difficult? They pay your salary. They cover your bills. They make it possible for you to remain in business. Itâ€™s too darn bad if you find them aggravating. Life is full of aggravations. Get over it. Besides, keeping an old account is a lot easier than finding a new one. When you fire a difficult customer, youâ€™re just trading one set of aggravations for another.â€
Not that I believed in the old saying about customersâ€™ always being right. Thatâ€™s baloney. But Iâ€™d long felt it was important to accommodate customers even when they were wrongâ€”for the good of the business. Lately, however, Iâ€™ve had a change of heart. The turning point came a few months ago, when I received a notice announcing that a fairly substantial customer was leaving my records-storage company.
Now, we donâ€™t lose many accounts, so I was curious to find out what had happened with this one. My people told me that the customer, a big law firm, had hired a new records manager, and she was impossible to deal with. Whenever she called, she would yell and scream and threaten our customer-service representatives. Theyâ€™d be shaking by the time they got off the phone.
When customers abuse your employees, refuse to pay their bills, and generally take advantage of your business, you should let them go. I wanted to see for myself what was going on, so I told my accounting people to send out the standard box-removal letter, detailing the charges for permanently taking boxes out of our warehouse. I then made sure that when the records manager responded, as she undoubtedly would, her call would come to me. Sure enough, she telephoned a couple of days later, and she was furious. â€œHow dare you send us a letter like this?â€ she demanded. I explained that we were simply following the terms of the contract. â€œI donâ€™t care whatâ€™s in the contract,â€ she said. â€œThis is outrageous, and you canâ€™t get away with it. Who do you think we are?â€
I told her weâ€™d be glad to sit down and discuss the situation. She responded by showering me with insults. There was nothing to discuss, she said. â€œYouâ€™ll be hearing from one of the senior partners,â€ she fumed. â€œFine,â€ I said, â€œbut I donâ€™t want you to call me again. I wonâ€™t take your abuse on the phone, andâ€” starting todayâ€”neither will my people.â€ Afterward, I told my employees that they could hang up on the records manager if she called back and started to get nasty.
A senior partner did eventually contact me, and we had a pleasant-enough conversation. I asked him if he knew why his firm was dropping us. He said no but heâ€™d investigate. When he got back to me, he indicated that the firm was reconsidering its decision. Would I be willing to meet with the office managerâ€”that is, the boss of the records managerâ€”who was in charge of such matters? I said, â€œOf course.â€
My sales manager, Brad, accompanied me to the meeting. The office manager turned out to be a lovely woman who said sheâ€™d like to work things out but there were a few issues we had to discuss. â€œDo they involve price and service?â€ I asked. She said yes. â€œWe can definitely work those out,â€ I said, â€œbut I also have an issue.â€ I pointed to the records manager, who was sitting next to her. â€œThat woman has been abusive to my people,â€ I said. At that, the records manager exploded. â€œAbusive!â€ she said. â€œYour people are incompetent. Iâ€™ve never seen such poor service.â€
â€œIâ€™m not speaking to you,â€ I said and turned back to the office manager. â€œI value all my customers very highly, but I really donâ€™t want your business unless you can assure me that this person will be civil on the telephone. If weâ€™ve done something wrong, she doesnâ€™t have to be happy about it, but she canâ€™t scream and curse at my people.â€
The records manager started to rant again. I turned to the office manager and threw my hands up. The office manager seemed flustered. â€œAre you saying that youâ€™re going to fire us?â€ she asked. â€œIâ€™m saying that the abuse has to stop immediately,â€ I said. â€œYou can see for yourself what weâ€™re dealing with.â€ â€œObviously, the two of you donâ€™t get along,â€ the office manager said.
â€œIâ€™ve spoken to this person once before today, and I can get along with almost anyone,â€ I said. â€œHer behavior is simply unacceptable. If it was up to me, Iâ€™d have you pay the removal fee and call it quits right now. But I donâ€™t have to deal with you on a regular basis. Brad and our operations people do. If you can persuade him that our people are going to be treated respectfully in the future, Iâ€™ll let him keep the account.â€
I excused myself, went downstairs, and waited. Twenty minutes later Brad came down. â€œI tried,â€ he said. â€œIt was hopeless. I canâ€™t believe theyâ€™re keeping that woman in that job.â€ Dropping the customer cost us about $200,000 a year in sales, but I didnâ€™t regret the decision. On the contrary, I wondered if I should have acted sooner. What if the customer hadnâ€™t sent us the withdrawal notice? How long might the abuse have continued? And how many other customers had abused my people without my knowledge? What price had we paid in terms of bad morale, low productivity, and turnover?
The experience changed the way I viewed the business. Recently, for example, I was looking into a receivables problem and discovered that part of it was due to habitual nonpaying customers. I donâ€™t mean customers who had fallen on hard times; we work with those people. I mean customers who were following a deliberate strategy of ignoring our bills and payment requests for as long as they could get away with it.
As it turned out, they were all marginal accounts (which is typical), and they were driving our accounting people up the wall. We had one collections guy who was spending hours and hours going after eight accounts that owed us $50 a month, our minimum fee, and refused to pay until we sent a warning letter. Even when we collected, the revenues from the eight accounts amounted to a paltry $400 a month, or $4,800 a year. So I announced a new policy. In the future, weâ€™d send out no more than one warning letter to an account. The second letter would be a box-removal notice. My accounting people cheered.
Donâ€™t get me wrong. I havenâ€™t changed my principles. I still believe fervently in the importance of providing great customer service. For the vast majority of our customers, moreover, I feel
nothing but warmth and gratitude, and Iâ€™d do almost anything to keep them. Nor do I have any problem with those who complain, even when their complaints are unjustified. Our goal is to have happy, satisfied customers. If one of them is unhappy or dissatisfied for any reason, we want to hear about it.
But Iâ€™ve learned thereâ€™s a line that canâ€™t be crossed, although it took me more than 20 years to see it. When customers abuse your employees, refuse to pay their bills, and generally take advantage of you and your business, you should let them go. Life is too short, and good people are too hard to find. If you canâ€™t afford to lose the account right now, come up with a plan for replacing the business in the future.
The following â€˜areas of concernâ€™ are provided to help stimulate your thinking for this case. They are not intended to provide a list of questions to answer:
How would you evaluate the customer service health of the firm? What factors have lead to the current situation?
What are the strengths and weaknesses of customer service of the firm?
Do you agree or disagree that some customers should be let go?
What are the underlying issues that are being manifested?
What suggestions would you make to improve the handling of situations now and in the future?
- What changes would you recommend to increase the likelihood of success? Include the â€¨ areas of concern and your recommended plan of action and controls to monitor the plans â€¨ success.
- Hint: the decision to drop the customer has already been made and does not need to be â€¨ discussed unless it relates to your analysis of the problem or alternatives for what should be â€¨ done in the future.
- Chapters 6, 7 and 12 may provide insight into the issues.
Topic: A Study on the Impact of Community Based Weight Management Programs in Relation to Family Based Initiatives Towards Reducing Childhood Obesity.
Childhood obesity levels continue to increase across the globe amidst the growing initiatives to reduce the number of obese children leading to better future health for children. According to Moglia and Dill (2016), child obesity refers to the accumulation of ingested body fats due to limited breakdown through body activities and is widely noted when a child begins to exceed the “85th, 90th, 95th, 97th percentiles for body mass index (BMI)” (Paragraph 3). The US government, along with local communities have been able to work together and independently in some cases to initiate weight reduction programs for children across the US. One notable initiative is the “Let’s Move!” campaign by the First Lady Mitchell Obama which was launched in 2010 (Star, 2013). Individuals families on the other hand have also been able to initiate their own programs that combine physical activities and dieting (Myoungock & Whittemore, 2015). Nonetheless, heading into the future, there is need to clearly advocate for an approach that guarantees maximum outcomes since the community based programs are proving to have minimal effects whereas the family programs are proving tedious and expensive yet have relatively higher impacts.
Background of the Study
Childhood obesity as a condition has existed as long as adult obesity and the perceptions regarding the condition have continued to change over time from the popular belief that it was only a condition for the wealthy to the fact that everyone is at risk of obesity (Miqueleiz et al, 2016). In fact, studies by Hughes et al (2016) and Poskitt (2014) indicate that the middle to low income families are most likely to be obese as they are not interested on their body sizes and appearances unlike the wealthy who would prefer to maintain a slim body in order to fit in their social groupings. Evidently, weight management is mainly a factor of food intake and most important, the nature of activities by the body. Raistenskis et al (2016) pointed out that the inability to expend the energy ingested through foods contributes to the accumulation of fats leading to obesity. Additionally, genes have also been argued to be another cause of childhood obesity but Moglia and Dill (2016) believe that this cannot be used as justification for childhood or even adult obesity since once the child is conceived, they are entirely dependent on the foods and drinks offered by parents until teenage hood. The nature of foods provided will therefore determine the weight of the child throughout the early stages into teenage hood.
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act that directs the food provided to students in US schools is also an initiative that can protect children as they grow against diets that are likely to influence obesity (Cornish, Askelson & Golembiewski, 2016). Obesity is known to cause conditions like hypertension, artherosclerosis and diabetes leading to death and thus it is not only the obligation of health practitioners but also the entire community to assist children manage their health (Wright et al, 2016). Accordingly, despite the government backed initiatives like the enactment of protective laws, communities also lead health promotion activities, in which families are trained to manage and handle obese children, but most important to protect their children through physical activities (Wang et al, 2015). It is unfortunate that these programs, although popular in the US, are contributing to limited success in the reduction of obesity levels. Wang et al (2015) state that only the school-based initiatives have been able to implement and effectively contribute to successful childhood obesity programs. Moglia and Dill (2016) noted that the “Let’s Move” campaign by the First Lady Mitchell Obama has had limited impact on the US population and more children are still struggling with obesity. Myoungock and Whittemore, (2015) points out that family initiatives could be the best for children since unlike community programs that depend on specific interventions like physical activities alone, family initiatives provide physical, dietary and psychological interventions that the child will most likely be able to manage effectively.
- Community interventions on childhood obesity focus on specific interventions as opposed to wholesome approaches and thus have limited impact on childhood obesity.
- School based interventions can offer an effective guide for future initiative programs
- Family interventions are most critical as the family sets the foundation for children as they grow.
There are numerous research methods that have been considered in explaining different childhood obesity issues. This study will therefore apply the systematic review of literature. As an applied research, the purpose is to use existing data and findings to develop guidance for future solutions to implementing effective interventions that can clearly contribute to reduction in childhood obesity. According to Snelson (2016), the literature review or systematic review approach refers to the utilization of previously gathered research towards developing conclusions regarding a specific subject. In this research, data regarding the community and family interventions towards reducing child obesity will be gathered for the period between 2006 and 2016. This period is specifically important as it covers two government regimes and thus will be able to allow the research to also factor the government supported initiatives even in different states in the country.
This research widely utilizes secondary sources from online libraries and reliable cites like ELSEVIER and EBSCOHost. These sources are clearly limited to the past 10 years as this represents the periods within which the changes in government regimes have occurred in the US and thus able to reflect the influential initiatives and their contributions as guided by governments and communities through government influences. Since the family initiatives have also been widely covered throughout this period, the study will be able to generate comparative results leading to comparative analyses of the respective studies. The chosen data collection approach will allow faster analyses and also enhance the generation of adequate data for the research leading to in depth analyses based on comparisons. Basically, since the study seeks to gather in depth data towards affirming specific conclusions, the study will apply a qualitative approach where large amounts of theoretical or non-numerical data will be gathered and analyzed in depth. Although the research materials will include numerical data in some cases, the focus will be in the interpretation of the numerical information.
(2013). Manteo Mitchell teams with first lady’s ‘Let’s Move!’ initiative. Star (Shelby, NC).
Cornish, D., Askelson, N., & Golembiewski, E. (2016). ‘Reforms looked really good on paper’: rural food service responses to the healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Journal Of School Health, (2), 113.
Hughes, S. O., Power, T. G., Beck, A., Betz, D., Calodich, S., Goodell, L. S., & … Ullrich-French, S. (2016). Research Methods: Strategies for Effective Eating Development—SEEDS: Design of an Obesity Prevention Program to Promote Healthy Food Preferences and Eating Self-Regulation in Children From Low-Income Families. Journal Of Nutrition Education And Behavior, 48405-418.e1. doi:10.1016/j.jneb.2016.04.388
Moglia, P. P., & Dill, K. M. (2016). Childhood obesity. Magill’S Medical Guide (Online Edition).
Miqueleiz, E., Lostao, L., Ortega, P., Santos, J. M., Astasio, P., & Regidor, E. (2014). Trends in the prevalence of childhood overweight and obesity according to socioeconomic status: Spain, 1987-2007. European Journal Of Clinical Nutrition, 68(2), 209-214. doi:10.1038/ejcn.2013.255
Myoungock, J., & Whittemore, R. (2015). The Family Management Style Framework for Families of Children with Obesity. Journal Of Theory Construction & Testing, 19(1), 5-14.
Poskitt, E. E. (2014). Childhood obesity in low- and middle-income countries. Paediatrics & International Child Health, 34(4), 239-249. doi:10.1179/2046905514Y.0000000147
RAISTENSKIS, J., SIDLAUSKIENE, A., STRUKCINSKIENE, B., UĞUR BAYSAL, S., & BUCKUS, R. (2016). Physical activity and physical fitness in obese, overweight, and normal-weight children. Turkish Journal Of Medical Sciences, 46(2), 443-450. doi:10.3906/sag-1411-119
Snelson, C. L. (2016). Qualitative and Mixed Methods Social Media Research: A Review of the Literature. International Journal Of Qualitative Methods, 1-15. doi:10.1177/1609406915624574
Wang, Y., Cai, L., Wu, Y., Wilson, R. F., Weston, C., Fawole, O., & … Segal, J. (2015). What childhood obesity prevention programmes work? A systematic review and meta‐analysis. Obesity Reviews, (7),
Wright, D. R., Lozano, P., Dawson-Hahn, E., Christakis, D. A., Haaland, W. L., & Basu, A. (2016). Child Weight and Obesity: Parental Predictions and Perceptions Regarding Long-Term Childhood Obesity-Related Health Risks. Academic Pediatrics, 16475-481. doi:10.1016/j.acap.2016.02.007