You are on page 1of 4

Super Valu- Case Analysis

Assignment: Learning & Development

1. Evaluate SUPERVALUs new Professional Development Program. What do you like/dislike about it? Will it appeal to college recruits? Why or why not? Strengths They recognized they needed a program to develop leaders was one positive. It did provide rotational experience for the new hires, as they would spend one year in their work area of choice and then next year would spend six months in the two other areas before returning to their home bases for career assignments. This provided the employee with the opportunity to broaden their knowledge of the SUPERVALU, Inc. business. Both of these items indicated that SUPERVALU, Inc. was at least thinking about what it took to train a leader to do the basics of leadership. The last positive outcome of the PDP effort was that SUPERVALU recognized it as just the beginning of training and development programs within the company. This indicated they recognized they needed to do more in the area of training their leadership. Weakness The fundamental problem with their PDP effort was it was focused at creating leaders, not a leadership brand. In fact, the PDP was not even covering all the basics of developing a leader. It was really just providing training to develop employees into lower level line managers.. The second fairly large flaw with the PDP initiative was that they did not tie it to their strategy. The article indicates that the companys philosophy was total commitment to servicing customers more effectively than anyone else could serve them. But they did not tie the leadership qualities they had included in their training program to this philosophy. In fact, the criteria they used to select candidates were generic: college graduate, minimum 3.0 GPA, emphasis on diversity, strong analytical and leadership skills, and high degree of initiative and flexibility. They had two years of food industry experience with a strong customer service focus is desired by not required as part of the job description, but this should have been required instead of desired. In the Building a Leadership Brand article, it indicates that one of the five practices a company needs to perform in building their leadership brand is to connect their executives abilities to their desired reputation. They should have spent the time in linking their companies brand attributes to specific leadership traits and used those as part of their selection criteria. In addition to the above fundamental weaknesses with the PDP, SUPERVALU also had issues with the design and execution of the program. Other issues mentioned in the article were: existing training material could not be used as they thought it could, the consultants lack of knowledge about the company and its operations limited her effectiveness, and lastly, some people were beginning to complain that PDP was too much a corporate staff product and should have more line involvement.

Despite the drawbacks of the program, college recruits would likely view it as an attractive option for employment. It would indicate the company is interested in developing them to be future leaders within the company, which would indicate career growth opportunities. It also provides the rotation experience, which could include different geographic experiences as well. Lastly, there was a significant amount of training provided. Compared to other companies hiring college graduates, these benefits would help attract potential hires.

2. What do you think about the way in which PDP was created? What might you have done differently? Why? My recommendation would be to essentially that they first need to create a training program to build the core of the necessary leadership skills; strategy, execution, talent management, talent development, personal proficiency. Their current PDP scratches the surface of training in the execution, talent management, and personal proficiency areas, but needs to go further. To assist with educating their leaders on the business, they need to provide focused rotations into the areas they envision being key to the company growing, like the mergers and acquisition department, or a rotation in Business and Marketing Planning Department in the Retail Food Division or in the Customer Service area in Wholesale Foods. Once they have a training package created to develop the basic leadership skills necessary, they need to take it farther in order to truly build their leadership brand. SUPERVALUs mission statement is to be the world class distributor and retailer of food, pharmaceuticals and general merchandise via grocery driven business. They need to create a list of criteria their leaders should be skilled in that links back to this mission and their philosophy statement. Given this, they should ensure they have criteria that include things similar to: customer knowledge, marketing specific to their industry, ability to manage logistics, and cost management. Also, based on the companys strategy to seek growth through acquisitions and internal growth, they should also include something with regards to these areas. With this list of criteria, they need to develop a method to assess the potential incoming leaders, as well as, measuring their current leadership against this list. Instead of the generic requirements they have listed in the job description, they should replace them with the list of criteria. This needs to be tempered since they are hiring college graduates and they will not be proficient in these skills yet. So the method needs to be able to assess if the individual has the potential to develop these skills will be key.

Lastly, SUPERVALU, Inc needs to create metrics to measure the successfulness of all these steps and the leadership brand they are trying to create in their organization. This should include financial, as well as, other metrics to measure the leaders they are developing. If SUPERVALU, Inc follows these principles, they should end up with a solid methodology to identify, develop, and retain the leadership brand necessary to make the company successful

3. What should Paul Cimmerer do as of August 1999? Paul Cimmerer should take into consideration the views of the organization (top management) and the employees as well. From this he can come up to a better way to design the program.The program could have been kept for a shorter duration (6-6-6 months).

4. What are some of the future challenges that he needs to anticipate with respect to professional development? Cimmerers futures challenges will be around how to truly develop a leadership brand and leaders that meet that leadership brand.