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Harrison-Keyes Implementation Strategy

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In major corporations where a strategic goal is not being realized, changes within the organization often take place. It is important for the Board of Directors and the leaders in the organization to determine exactly what is halting successful goal achievement, and what needs to be done about it. In the case of Harrison-Keyes, the plan to strategically implement and align an electronic book format has not gone well. The Board of Directors has therefore elected to replace Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Meg McGill with William Guardo in an effort to revitalize the plan.

Situation Background (Step 1)

Harrison-Keyes is a global publisher of print products, specializing in professional-level books. With over a century of literary success, Harrison-Keyes is now experiencing major competition from large retailers in the industry.

In an effort to shift the organizations strategy, the Board of Directors took the advice of former CEO Ms. McGill to shift the strategic focus of the organization to publish e-books. The Board depended on the leadership team to successful implement the shift; however, Ms. McGill failed to execute the necessary leadership. In other words, she failed to lead her leaders, a critical function of the CEO.

According to the Management Library's On-Line Organization Development Program, "the chief executive officer is the singular organizational position that is primarily responsible to carry out the strategic plans and policies as established by the board of directors." (Module #3, ΒΆ1, 1999). She essentially failed to ensure that her leadership team was capable or prepared to carry out the strategic change. Although many critical areas needing consideration prior to plan implementations were ignored, one of the most damaging omissions was the potential impact the change might have on the audience and authors of Harrison-Keyes. (Week 1 scenario, U of P).

Issue Identification

Although many competitors have gained profits through indifference to authors of individual works, Harrison-Keyes has built their success on their good rapport and relationships with the authors who write the material they sell. Despite opposition from some of its key authors, however, Harrison-Keyes has gone forward with their plan to publish e-books. To assist in creating digital media, Harrison-Keyes employed Asia Digital, an offshore company. Unfortunately, Asia Digital is now out of business for the foreseeable future due to catastrophic flooding. This has left Harrison-Keyes with no immediate means of digital design and no contingency plan.

Although Asia Digital was handling only one piece of the electronic formatting for Harrison-Keyes, the fact that an offshore company was hired has only compounded the issues within the organization. The current editorial staff feels that their jobs are at risk and have vocalized intent to pursue employment elsewhere. In fact, two of the editors have already left to take jobs in an organization that has promised no layoffs due to outsourcing; more employees could follow.

The originally planned marketing budget was cut by 20 percent, resulting in limited resources for advertising and promotion of the new format. A large portion of the remaining funds were allocated to a hired marketing consultant for advertising strategies, yet the results were disappointing. Furthermore, the marketing function has no plans for future campaigns because they are unsure of exactly what to market. (Week 4 scenario, U of P).

Even after implementation of the e-book strategy, Harrison-Keyes still faces the original issue of slow sales. Although not stated in Week Four's scenario, it is reasonable to expect that with the evolution of new issues, the sales have not increased.

Opportunity Identification

The identification of issues is an ideal time for Harrison-Keyes to view them as opportunities. They can still realize their strategic goal to become a successful publisher of electronic books by turning their issues into opportunities, then measuring them against their end-state goals.

Harrison-Keyes can take this opportunity to determine exactly what amount of their media should be digitized. For example, for the immediate future, can certain elements of their existing digital conversions be scaled to essentials only? At least until another company can be hired? Harrison-Keyes can also expand their search for a new media company to include onshore companies.

Harrison-Keyes should take this opportunity to address the needs of their employees. What measures need to be taken to retain talented editors? How can they assure employees that their jobs will be preserved even in the midst of strategic change? Or does current staff need additional training to grow with the organization?

The marketing department can benefit from the issues identified in their group because now the opportunity exists to identify which product to market. Will they market an entire e-book library? Or will they be marketing select products to select audiences? Where previously the leaders of Harrison-Keyes failed to identify exactly what product to market, they can now work collaboratively to determine their end product.

Finally, the issue of faltering sales presents the opportunity to evaluate their sales model. Sales deteriorated before the implementation of e-book strategy, so perhaps Harrison-Keyes is working in a model that is no longer effective. Now is the time to assess the effectiveness of their selling model.

Stakeholder Perspectives

The major stakeholders in this scenario are (a) the corporate leaders, (b) the authors, (c) the customers, (d) the employees, and (e) the Board of Directors. Table 1 illustrates each stakeholder's interests, rights, and values in this scenario.

Table 1: Stakeholder Interests, Rights, and Values

Stakeholder Group

Interests, Rights, and Values

Corporate Leaders

Provide leadership of the organization through a new strategic direction.


Provides goods for organization to sell for profit.


Provide the organization with the monetary resources to keep the business profitable.


Carries out the direction of the leaders to help achieve the corporate end-state goals.

Board of Directors




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