Case Two: Fire Art, Inc. Diagnosis of team ineffectiveness and corrective action plans Fire Art, Inc. has encountered a dilemma where their competitors are now able to profitably make short runs in the production of glass. Because of this competition, Jack Derry, the CEO of Fire Art, Inc. has asked Eric Holt to put “together a team…
one person from each division, and have a comprehensive plan for the company’s strategic realignment up, running, and winning within six months.” Eric, being the newly appointed Director of Strategy, knew his overall goal and creates a formal group in order to fulfill the overall organizational mission of turning the company around. However even though a formal group is created, there is a lack of specific goals and tasks. Eric who only had experience managing working group with professional from similar backgrounds actually created a working group than a team. Moreover, the members did not interact with one another prior to coming together, and did not perceive themselves to be in a group. While the team consists of various division heads of the organization, Randy Louderback the director of sales and marketing does not believe that groups are worthwhile. Eric formed this temporary group, which would ceases to exist once the job is carried out.
This group, although temporary, never really gets off the ground due to lack of leadership-management skills, lack of clear attainable goals, team structure and incompatibilities of the group members. Team Dynamics and Structure: One issue that is faced by the group is the lack of team dynamics as well as the pressure being felt to devise and implement a comprehensive plan in six months. Some managers create groups to aide in team dynamics as groups serve functions such as organizational, psychological, and personal. The group that Eric set up was created to generate ideas in order to beat the competition. However, due to the conflict from the team members, idea creation was never brought about. Additionally, the psychological functions that give an outlet for affiliation needs and the personal functions of increased self-esteem, increased security, and a sense of identity are never achieved.
Strategies There are various strategies available to aid in effective team building. One step is developing a recruiting strategy that supports the organization’s diversity goals. Volunteering time to organizations that serve the needs of underrepresented segments of the population is another way to enhance your company’s reputation as an employer that values diversity. Another step that can be ...
With the creation of his group, Eric was faced with a peer, in particular, that strongly believes “that groups are useless.” There are variables that affect the integration in groups of organizational and personal needs. Randy was the type of employee that would protest having meetings, arrive late to meetings, and even rudely tap his pencil on the table during meetings. The degree to which logically designed groups come to serve psychological needs depend on environmental factors such as the managerial climate. This type of climate is primarily determined by the assumptions in the organization of man, such as the rational-economic man. When a group is set up with the rational-economic man, you develop a belief that groups are at most to be tolerated, or preferably destroyed in the interest of maximizing individual efficiency.
Based on this, by having Randy involved in the group, he is introducing a rational-economic man climate. Randy voiced his opinion regarding his dislike of groups and the worthless ideas it produces. Randy’s individual achievements and experiences lead him to believe that groups never can come with brilliant ideas and only produces mediocre solutions. To resolve this issue, Eric should work to develop a managerial climate of the social man. This would encourage and foster the growth of the group and would encourage Randy to view groups differently. Additionally, by setting up the group with a more social man inclination, this would aide the group in maintaining a philosophy of job design and job allocation, but would also meet the affiliation needs of the social man.
Suggestions to change this to the social man would be to encourage out of the office, social activities. The group would be able to better get along and realize that everyone has something to contribute to the team. Another issue Eric was faced with was that of membership factors. For any effective work to occur there must be a certain amount of consensus on basic values. Eric is faced with the problems of whether or not the group will work effectively on the task and if the group will be psychologically satisfying. As noted in the case study, Eric compiles a list of the senior managers and sets a date for the first meeting.
Current status and issue Yellowfin Restaurant is located in the city centre. Its personnel is well qualified and experienced in providing an excellent service to the travellers who visit the town but also to the business people who work in that area. After carrying out a market analysis, the owners – Carlos and Sophia – identified an opportunity to expand their business by opening a ...
After creating the team members list without input, he proceeds to independently create an agenda for his upcoming meeting. This leaves the team without any input or satisfaction in the creation or initiation of the group process. Eric also faces complex group needs as the group is composed of representatives of various departments. By creating this cross-functional group, Eric was faced with Maureen Turner who was known to complain that Fire Art did not appreciate its six artists. Ray La Pierre, the Director of Manufacturing, feels insecure with himself, as he does not speak management due to his apparent lack of education. The only solution for these issues is to provide the group enough common experiences to permit a communication system and a climate of trust to emerge.
This experience can be obtained by holding long meetings away from work, by encouraging members to get to know each other in more informal settings, or by sending them through some common training experiences. If Eric incorporated these ideas, he would encourage members to get to know each other in more informal settings thereby facilitating group camaraderie and cohesiveness. In this case, there are many reasons that the team is not effective, most of which center around Randy and the way he interacts with the team. Eric felt frustrated since the first meeting, as Randy questioned his leadership jokingly in front of the group. Eric can be classified as being “Judicious-Competing”, where he craves for respect, recognition and willingness to provide leadership. He believes strongly that Randy is trying to sabotage the team process and undermine his leadership.
Under the Expectancy Theory, everyone in the team, excluding Randy, is motivated by the task at hand. They are operating the way Eric had hoped with regard to putting forth initial effort needed to improve performance, they believe that their performance will impact the results. This evidenced by Ray’s comment “Maybe we can turn this old ship around,” and they are motivated by the rewards being offered, such as personal satisfaction, survival and success of the company. Randy, on the other hand is not motivated at all, as his esteem needs are not fulfilled and he believes that team environment is not the best way to promote creative solutions.
Teams of people can be witnessed everywhere throughout today's society. They are commonplace in schools, and businesses are attempting to implement their use in the work environment. The overwhelming question that many of these people strive to answer pertains to the way in which groups of people form into a team. Take twenty male college students, for example, who are between the ages of 18 and ...
There are two possible approaches to increase his motivation to work as part of a team; first, additional education to point out the value of diversity and a team approach is a possibility. The second option would be to have Jack firmly explain to Randy the importance of having him as an expert and effective team member. Randy has a Type “A” personality; he is aggressive, ambitious, impatient and competitive. Randy sees the feeling out process and listening to the ideas of others as a waste of time.
Additionally Randy has a high n Power. He is not as concerned with improving his performance daily, but instead he focuses on recognition, controlling others, and commanding attention. He needs to feel more “in charge.” If the team could establish a way to satisfy Randy’s need for power, his Type A behavior and his attitude toward the team should improve. If possible, Randy should be assigned leadership tasks in the group as well as additional tasks that benefit the team, but are internal to his own Marketing organization, which will allow him to show his leadership role as a part of the team.
Another out-takes of Randy’s lack of motivation, Type A personality, and need for power is that Randy is an individualist. He believes that “brilliant ideas come from brilliant individuals, who then inspire others in the organization to implement them.” The group dynamic is further challenged because Maureen is a Cosmopolitan. She clearly is high on commitment to her specialized role skills and is likely to use an outer reference group; to a certain extent, one would doubt her loyalty to the company because of her frustration in the lack of recognition that her group receives. There are a handful of concessions that could be made by the group to better satisfy the needs of Maureen and Randy, and by Maureen and Randy in realizing that they have some differences from the other group members. For instance, the group should give Maureen the “general” direction of the team in design goals, and not allow her to be critiqued by “non-artists,” the group should be prepared for Randy’s quick decisions, and Randy should be more patient and not allow himself to interrupt or distract the group. It is apparent from Randy’s behavior that his motivational value system reflects that of an assertive-directive type.
Introduction In order to understand the basic functioning of a system, you must first come to understand what each individual part contributes to the whole. Getting to what makes Learning Team A (LTA) is no different. The question then becomes, "How best to gain insight into the individuals on the team?" This week the creation of the final paper fell to me, we also concluded that we needed to ...
Randy competes with Eric for authority; he does not feel rewarded and withdraws as the team format lacks the opportunity for him to lead. Randy identifies with creativity not team work, and he is less tolerant of his teammates as they lack his foresight. Since Randy does not manage his strengths well, his confidence is seen as arrogance, his persuasiveness is seen as abrasive and the group members see his competitiveness as combative. Randy’s conflict sequence can be classified as “R-B-G”, as he initially tried to take control, then gave in for the moment, later withdrew as a last resort. He goes through the three conflict stages as his self-worth was threatened by the team format. Unwarranted conflicts occurred, as there was huge disagreement between Randy and the group on how to save the company.
If Eric was able identify the conflict stages and type, then he could have recognized the needs of all parties and made more informed choices to manage the conflicts better. Hygiene factors are another problem for Randy. His relationships with the other members of the group are not strong. The formation of the group and his assignment as a member of it is causing him some anguish, and he is just a member of a team now as opposed to being a leader.
All of these items contribute to Randy’s poor attitude, which directly affects the group dynamic. Again, if Randy could be convinced of the value of the team and his importance as a member of it, he would be more motivated to be a contributing member. Additionally, Randy’s style of communication is not suited to best fit the group. Randy is a “Blind spot” communicator; his interpersonal style reflects ego striving and distrust of others’ competence.
Team B was a small group of people with interchangeable skills who found themselves responsible for a common purpose and goal. Learning Teams can get more complicated projects done at a more rapid pace than an individual assigned project because decision-making is more effective in a team environment. Our team was some what complex. We were a successful group of people who were cooperating, ...
Unless he adjusts his style by asking for feedback from others and not forcing his opinions on the group as frequently as he does, he will continue to face feelings of hostility, insecurity, and resentment on the part of others. The team is also having a hard time because of its reason for existence. Jack obviously rewarded A, while hoping for B. He saw the team as the greatest possible chance of getting the creativity, flexibility, and responsiveness that the goal required. Though Jack wanted a team that exhibited teamwork, he unconsciously supported individual effort, which enabled Randy to not participate as a team member. Jack told Eric “Randy has the best mind…
Randy is the future of this company… if he can’t help you, no one can… I look forward to hearing what a team with his kind of horsepower can come up with to steer us away from the mess we ” re in.” Jack’s opinions cause Eric to not manage Randy, “those words echoed in Eric’s mind as he sat, with increasing anxiety, through the team’s first and second meeting.” Along with this, the rest of the team “idolizes” Randy. Randy has almost an ascribed status.
Everyone in the company is aware of his “almost legendary past” (none of which was recent), his “close relationship with the CEO,” and his brushes with fame. Because of his status, Randy is able to get away with certain things that are harmful to the group’s health. Comments such as “leaders lead, followers… please pipe down!” are grudgingly laughed at. Furthermore, the team is bound to go through some bumpy spots at the beginning. As is the case in most organizations that are attempting new things, there will be a period of low productivity as the team gets to know one another and attempts to figure out the best way to accomplish its goal.
This is the J curve effect. Once the team starts to jell, the productivity should increase. Successfully working through the initial stages of team development will be critical to achieving this productivity, however. As Eric’s cross functional team goes through its stages of group development, it is clear that it was evolving through the classic growth stages with predictable symptoms as mentioned by Bruce Tuck man. During the “Forming” stage, there was lot of uncertainty and confusion among the group members, as they did not have a clear understanding of the group’s structure and goals. Then, conflict and confrontation followed as predicted in the “Storming” theory.
Team Dynamics Todd Lujan Tuesday, October 21, 2003 Introduction to Team Dynamics The purpose of any team depends on the reason it was formed. Each team has different goals and outcomes. However, the dynamics of each team are generally the same. Regardless of the end goal of the team, the process of team development will follow a recognizable pattern. Teams are valuable and are frequently used ...
Unfortunately, the group only survived through the “Forming” and “Storming” stages before it suddenly terminated, as Eric failed to diagnose the classic symptoms of the “Forming” and “Storming” stages. By correctly identifying the symptoms of these stages, Eric could have clarified the team structure, goals, and roles to lead the team to the “Norming” stage without taking things personally. Where, by adjusting the norms and developing cohesion, he could have eventually led the team to the “Performing” stage. There was a glimmer of hope to go through the “Norming” stage, when Randy proclaimed to “behave from now on”, but the assurance was undermined with a smirk and later tapping on the table.
team design and Leadership: Fire Art’s attempt to set strategy and regain the market share needed for its survival by putting this team together is missing two important features, which help to influence a team’s success, Proper Team Design and Effective Coaching/Leadership. Eric is given the responsibility for addressing these issues and he needs Jack’s support. Though this case is late in the process the team can still be saved, thereby maximizing the potential for achieving the assigned objective and saving the company. Successful teams share in common seven critical factors, which when properly employed, encourage proper team design and coaching / leadership roles: 1) Clear, engaging direction should be provided by Jack and internalized by all team members; having the team set team goals and establish methods of team performance leading to their performance norms does this. This should include current and expected problems, weaknesses and interpersonal issues. 2) Real team tasks are needed to pull the team together to get the benefits needed to save the company.
This is very different then the tasks each performed independently (Ray’s plan, Maureen’s plan, etc. ).
This fragmented team must increase cohesion through the solidarity to shared threats from outside. 3) Rewards for team excellence are needed for all, especially Randy, to want to contribute to the team. An incentive system that promotes team work tied to team determined goals, including the breaking down of barriers and reduction in problematic Hygiene issues, including interpersonal problems, is needed. This issue had not arisen in Eric’s past because of the homogeneous nature of the teams he had worked with.
4) Basic material resources needed include an investment in a team building experience, it takes money and time to take this group away from the office and isolate them to help build cohesion. Other resources needed as the team develops plans to turn the company around must be made available to enable the team to get the feedback and intrinsic rewards for their efforts. 5) Authority to manage the work by the team and not an individual or by a superior is key for this group. Eric does not have the power and Randy is not supportive, the authority needs to be clearly given to the team. 6) Team goals have not been set and accepted as a team; Eric’s goals are just that, Eric’s. The team that must be measurable, achievable, real and galvanizing to all team members must set new goals.
7) Team norms that encourage strategic thinking will require first that they discard Eric’s ineffective norms and adopt norms as a team that they all can commit to. These include promptness, courtesy, and discourage individualistic behavior at the expense of the team. As Eric’s team does not have many of these components, he should take action to put the missing ingredients in place. The new norms should encourage proactive team stances that increase its responsiveness to changing conditions and demands. Randy statement that he is against teams and the mediocrity they produce comes from his always working alone before and after coming to Fire Art.
His value to this cross-functional team is in sales, marketing and knowledge of both the customer and the competition. He can contribute if the directive was very clear from Jack and he felt he was being listened to in the design and development of the team. Eric should also try to CO-OP Randy in the leadership of the team helping both their relationship and Randy’s position as a team member. This team has low norms and very low cohesion. Randy’s opinion of others may not be without merit if this company has been able to tolerate low performance throughout its 80 year life while it enjoyed little competition within its niche. While we could expect some performance to come out of this team, the objective and goal is to have the very high performance needed to turn the company around quickly.
Cohesion needs to be improved through a concerted effort endorsed by Jack. Following the establishment of these high norms we should expect the norms to continue to move to ever-higher levels following improved cohesion. This team is a cross functional team that could become permanent and survive beyond this first strategy setting project. In their efforts to meet goals they can work from the expertise within the team and use a Shamrock approach to gain outside skills and knowledge. Eric must encourage fluidity in the team structure. A core team comprising of three to five members with skills such as technical, problem-solving, and interpersonal skills must be set up.
The goal of this core group will be to address issues and to both generate and consider new ideas. They will also provide continuity and some measure of stability to the team. The second component of the team will be to assign people with specialized skills and expertise to the team with the understanding that they will enter and exit the team as needed. For example, the team and company management respect the knowledge of Randy Louderback, however, in a team setting he seams to tear the cohesiveness apart. The goal here will be to use Randy Louderback as a spring of new ideas and to provide differing perspectives to problems, which will come from his experience. The cultural diversity and individualistic behavior of the employees of Fire Art, Inc.
calls for a restructure of the current team model into a “Shamrock Team.” Also, the individualistic approach most notable with Randy Louderback, which seams to tear the team apart, demonstrates that this team cannot work within the norms of collectivism, conformity and respect of hierarchy. Eric could have brought fluidity to the group by bringing Randy in and out of the team as a special consultant when needed. In order to provide a balanced and functional Shamrock team three key elements must be the used to restructure the team: 1) Value and endorse dissent; 2) Encourage fluidity in team structure; and 3) Enable and encourage teams to make decisions. The members of the team must learn to capitalize on U. S.
cultural values and diversity so that they may lead each other to higher levels of performance. A cross-functional team has more permanence; with a diverse group such as this the need for tension is important. In order to constructively endorse dissent the team must learn the use of “productive controversy” and “constructive thinking.” If all members become complacent with their ideas and suggestions this may spell disaster since the goal of the team is to save Fire Art Inc. , not go to Abilene. Productive controversy involves learning how to “fight” over issues. For example, Randy provides insight into the industry that a lot of members do not possess.
It is this insight possessed by Randy that can be used to ignite controversy. His concern for the final product is clear and will help the team not accept mediocrity. It is important for all members to become creative thinkers. The members of the team must be trained in skills of lateral thinking and should be encouraged to challenge assumptions and practices in the organization. Teaching constructive thinking will help members think better to solve problems and contribute innovative ideas.
The lack of ideas is demonstrated on how the first couple of times the members met they had difficulty coming up with innovative / creative ideas on how to solve the company’s troubles. Also, when Ray, Maureen, and Carl presented their ideas they did not challenge Randy’s comment, “Let’s do everything, why don’t we, including redesign the kitchen sink!” If they had, the team could have had an open discussion on the merits of each and possibly evolved into a more cohesive problem solving group. Lastly, Fire Art Inc. is family owned business and probably Jack Derry ultimately authorizes a lot of decisions. However, for the team to be fully effective it will be important for the team to be granted decision-making authority.
This will prevent the team from forming easily acceptable and non-controversial solutions to the problem. Once the team is functioning properly any ideas on how save the company must be accepted. It is also important for the team to be aware that they are anchored in organizational realities that are outside of their control and affect the success of their efforts.