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Quickstop Richard Smith is an extremely rich man, with many businesses to his name. One of the companies he owns, Quickstop, is a variety store and...

This question was answered on Nov 05, 2010. View the Answer
Primary problem
Implication on personnel and organization

Richard Smith is an extremely rich man, with many businesses to his name. One of the
companies he owns, Quickstop, is a variety store and has several locations that operate in malls
across the city of Ottawa. Although Richard owns the business, he is not involved in the day-today operations at all. In fact, other than quarterly progress reports, he leaves the job entirely up
to Quickstop’s general manager, Mikaela West.
Mikaela has managed the small company for over thirty years, and has virtually complete
control over every aspect of operations. Mikaela decides which products to buy, what malls to
open stores in, what the hours of operation will be and who will staff them. In addition, due to
the small size of the company, she sometimes even fills in for one of the staff members when
they are unable to come into work. It would not be an exaggeration to say that she is the
reason Quickstop posts a healthy, albeit not huge, profit every year.
However, two weeks ago, Mikaela informed Richard that she would be retiring at the end of the
year. Richard was shocked by this news. Who could replace Mikaela? She had been such an
asset to the company, and although there were other staff members, most of them only worked
part-time at the organization. Turnover, due to the nature of the retail industry, was relatively
high, and he doubted any of the employees had been with the organization for more than a
couple years. In fact, even if they had, there was no guarantee they would be willing or able to
take over from Mikaela.
Richard was unsure of what to do. This was not the first time this type of problem had arisen in
an organization he owned. One of his other ventures had been highly successful until the
manager who had spearheaded it had decided to move on to a new entrepreneurial effort.
Although Richard had replaced him with one of the best young students to graduate from the
Telfer School of Management in years, the organization collapsed. Thinking perhaps it was a
lack of experience that caused it, when another one of his organizations had its manager go on
maternity leave, Richard went out and recruited a highly experienced manager to replace her.
Within six months, the organization went from being one of his top revenue streams to just
barely in the black.
One thing he did know was that he did not want the problem to occur here as well. When
Mikaela retired in eight months, the knowledge and experience she had acquired could be lost.
He had no idea how to replace Mikaela; and he did not want Quickstop to become the third
company of his to collapse due to staff changes. Desperate for advice, he has turned to you to
offer solutions as to how he can ensure the organization will survive the transition from Mikaela
to her successor.

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This question was asked on Nov 04, 2010 and answered on Nov 05, 2010.

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