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Throughout the history of North American Business there have
been many leaders who successfully and unsuccessfully navigated an organization
through a period of change. Ecclesiates 3:1 tells us “For everything
there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:”. Biblically, change is a part
of life and something we must do with a purpose if we are to lead effectively.
Through wisdom and prayer it is important to seek the wisdom of the Lord for
proper discernment  Two notable leaders
are Charles Conway the CEO of Kmart and Danny Wegman a previous CEO of Wegman’s
supermarkets. Both have had to attempt to change their organization to keep it
relevant and appealing to its customers.


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Kmart was
founded in Michigan in 1916 as a 50-10 cent store. The first Kmart as we know
it was opened in 1962 and at its height in the 1980’s there were around 200o
stores. To compete with its biggest competitor Wal-mart Kmart diversified
extravagently causing large amounts of debt. In the 1990’s poor supply
logistics and a lack of modern technology caused them to be plaugued with
challenges. In 2000 the corporation hired Charles Conway who attempted to
implement a “big 5” strategy. The “big 5” stood for: “(1)fix the flow of goods
and streamline supply chain management, (2) increase marketing effectiveness
with less advertising costs, (3) fix the food department and grow the
SuperKmart concept, (4) reduce SG&A expenses through process engineering,
and (5) give assistance to develop andincrease profitability of the bottom 250
stores.” (Lehavy & Udpa, 2011) During his tenure as CEO Conway attempted to
revive Kmart. However Kmart ended up losing its focus and filing for
bankruptcy. Conway ended up being charged for misleading investors. (Runk,
2009) The mistakes he made were in the implementation of change, how he handled
money, and the disclosing of information. (Runk, 2009) He attempted to change
too much too fast and spent way too much money which caused the bankruptcy.

            God calls us to change keeping his principles in mind.
Romans 12:1-2 says “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God,
to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which
is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be
transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what
is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” It does not seem
like Charles Conway was looking towards God when he made decisions as CEO of
Kmart. If he had been he would not have attempted to mislead investors or delay
payment to those that deserved to be paid. Philippeans 1:9-10 says “And
it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all
discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and
blameless for the day of Christ,” If Charles Conway had been able to have
proper discernment then it is possible that Kmart would have been able to
bounce back.


Founded in 1916 the Wegmans supermarket chain was created by Walter and
John Wegman in Rochester, NY.  Still
family owned, The organization began with a push cart full of fruits and
vegetables going by the name of the Rochester Fruit & Vegetable Company.
The business has since expanded greatly and, currently, Wegmans has locations
in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, and Massachusetts (Wegmans, n.d.). During his time as CEO Danny Wegman
introduced and implemented several new departments such as a pharmacy, home
center, and seafood counter.  He
implemented employee plans that included perks and making them feel like they
are part of a family. Another major focus was on creating an excellent customer
experience including unique inventory, large and airy buildings, and customer
service that doesn’t apper to be offered anywhere else. One of his best
leadership decisions was focusing on expanding the stores he already owned
before he expanded to new locations. Due to his decisions growth was allowed to
happen naturally within the proper timing. Wegmans’s has found themselves
ranked number 30 on the Forbes best supermarkets list by sales volume, ranked
number 2 on the Forbes America’s best employer’s list, and number 1 by their
customers in 2017. (Taylor, 2017)

Only God knows the heart of a man but it seems as though Danny Wegman
acted with great wisdom. He was able to keep patient and do what he was
convicted in doing and not what others in his industry of have done. Luke 21:15
says “For I
will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able
to withstand or contradict.” Acts 20:35 says “In all things I have shown you
that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words
of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to
receive.'”  Whether a change is
professional or personal it is important that everything is lifted up in
prayer. I John 5:14-15 “And this is the confidence that we have toward
him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know
that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we
have asked of him.”



Both CEO’s made conscious decisions to implement
change in their respective organizations. As facilitators of that change it was
their responsibility to act wisely taking all factors into account and creating
sustainability. Anderson says “What is required are methods for sustaining and
stabilizing the gains that have been achieved, for working through the barriers
to maintaining change, and for pushing through the difficult initial stages of
change so that it lasts.” (Anderson, 2017, p. 373). Danny Wegman was able to
successfully implement several changes while Charles Conway seemed to only find
massive failure. In both cases the results were a response to their actions.
When actions made in wisdom and prayer the results will reflect those steps.

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