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Thomas Green Case Q&a

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Management in Organizations

Thomas Green: Power, Office Politics, and a Career in Crisis

Case Analysis Questions:

1. Describe Frank Davis’ strengths and leadership style. What is important to him in a work setting? What motivates him? What does he expect from his colleagues and direct reports? How does he want to be treated? 2. Describe Thomas Green’s strengths and leadership style. What is important to him in a work setting? What motivates him? What does he expect from his colleagues and manager? How does he want to be treated? 3. How is Thomas’ new role different from his previous role as an account executive? What different talents and strengths are required in the new position? Is this new job a good fit for Thomas? Why or why not? 4. What is creating the tension and conflict between Thomas and Frank? How has McDonald contributed to the situation? 5. What is your analysis of Thomas Green’s actions and job performance in his first five months? What has he done well? What mistakes has he made? 6. What actions, if any, would you take if you were Thomas Green? 7. What is necessary to build a productive relationship with your boss? How does an employee effectively “manage up?”

Answer 1] Frank Davis, marketing director, is an excellent strategic player. He sorts through all of the possibilities, though short term, and find the best effective way to move forward. As he had just been promoted from the position of a senior market specialist he for sure was competent and experienced in the way things should be done. He got used to a precise planning of an every detail, schedule and documentation. That depicts him as a highly organized person with perfect managerial skills. David’s strong analytical strength mixed with his 15 years of experience in Dynamic Displays enabled him to visualize 10% growth rate. Davis has authoritarian leadership style who keeps strict, close control over followers by keeping close regulation of policies and procedures given to followers. Davis seems to be direct and to the point, as well as being very well adjusted to the bureaucracy at this level of management. When it comes to work style he is meticulous in details and requires that recommendations and strategies be justified using hard data. He prefers to stay in a positive mindset in order to keep moral up. Davis pays much attention to the office politics, strong efforts and enthusiasm of the employee. Davis is more of the initiating structure, which is proven to increase job performance. Davis expected to be treated like a veteran employee who has gained much knowledge over the years he has worked in the department. He wanted the ability to show his skills in knowing what would be best for the department. As a supervisor, it is Davis’ expectation that Green comply with provided recommendations for changes in attitude, behavior, and communication. Answer 2] Thomas Green is portrayed as visionary. He could see where market is going in the long term and he could think of related ideas that should be implemented. This is illustrated by Green's focus of developing new up-selling software. He commented "the only way for us to capture growth is if we can convince the airlines that our products have revenue generating opportunity and other advantages over web check-in". Green's strong woo talent made him love the challenge of meeting new people and winning them over. McDonald, division VP, also complimented Green that he has a great rapport with his clients. After all he was able to convince McDonald that he is a better fit for the new senior marketing specialist position. Green leads with significance by sharing an ambitious attitude. He wanted to come in and dazzle people at Dynamic Displays. He likes to work independently. Green's self-assurance talent is expressed by his overly self-confidence and bold behavior. Green is more of a face to face guy. He delivers is ideas to the clients and expect them to jump on board just by trusting his ideas. Green’s leadership style is being inventive. Green’s leadership style is more productive when it comes to execute a task. While he is a hard worker and self-motivated he has trouble taking direction from others. He would prefer face to face communication, building rapport with other employees, and cultivating strong relationships. He listens to the comments others are making and responds to them on the spot with little or no preparation or forethought. In essence, he would like to under-promise and over-deliver. Green was interested in the end result of the performance, not in the detailed plan or a structure of the job. Green seemed to expect that he would just be accepted because the McDonald vouched for him personally. He felt he deserved because of his status with the higher ups of the company. Green wants to have authority and then work independently without following certain standards that other require. He would like to be more focused towards producing the results.
Answer 3] Green's previous position of account executive was conservative in the required outlook. Account executives were only concerned with productive and successful client communication and meeting the sales target. On the other side, the position of senior market specialists requires identifying industry trends, evaluating new business opportunities, and establishing sales goals. Specialists are team players who develop general market and specific client strategies to help the account executives obtain a sale. Market specialists needs to be strategic in identifying patterns, anticipate problems and provide relevant solutions. They are relator and work as a team to achieve a goal. Their talent of individualization and positive attitude motivates the team to achieve maximized productivity. They are arranger who has to be organized in preparing and executing little possible details by following a standard approach. Illustrating signs of a visionary, Green’s talent of inventive way of working makes him capable to be a successful senior market specialist. However, Green is struggling with his position due to following reasons that he can work on by changing his perspective and managing up:
(1) Green is overly confident and too much focused on his independent working attitude. He does not conform to the company standard. (2) His lack of experience for the role, aggressive behavior and not being relative to his supervisors makes him stressed to deliver for this new position.
Answer 4] Green has begun in his new position much the same way he would have begun in his previous position as an account executive, by going out and speaking with the customers and employees to begin developing relationships. Davis would much rather him develop an approach that is very sound, solid, and justifiable that he could follow through from beginning to end with little or no variation from the original path intended. When this new position of senior marketing specialist opened up, Davis expected to choose the new person. However, McDonald made decision to hire Green. Davis started to act from power as Green was directly reporting to Davis. In first meeting Davis although appreciated Green’s new and creative ideas, he also said that these would have been more effective if he had been able to provide supporting data which Green did not pay much attention to. Green worked independently as soon as he started with the new position whereas Davis expected him to inform about his schedule and work plans. Problems started when during Budgeting and forecasting meeting Green openly challenged Davis’ forecasted growth of 10 %. He was not able to relate that Davis was doing this forecasting for past several years and Green is the young new guy, challenging Davis Openly would make Davis very upset. David commented that Green's lack of enthusiasm and negative attitude will affect productive team work. Green was more focused and concerned in the problems of selling to current and prospective clients, whereas Davis expected him to invest his time in developing strategic marketing approaches and effective sales tactics. As a supervisor, it is Davis’ expectation that Green comply with provided recommendations for changes in attitude, behavior, and communication. McDonald’s use of legitimate power may have been abused in the promotion of Green without consulting Davis. McDonald assumed that Green will compensate for lack of experience through seeking guidance from veteran managers. He also assumed that Green work style will conform to organization's culture. Green seems to ignore McDonald’s reservation about his lack of experience and suggestion to seek out guidance from other managers. Also, Green assumed that since he had McDonald’s “endorsement”, she would be looking out for him, and would not let him fail.
Answer 5] Green doesn’t have much to show for after his first five months on the job. I feel Green was most effective during the first few weeks after his promotion. He was able to accomplish a lot before the Budget Plan Meeting on October 8, 2008. Just in the second week of his promotion, Green was able to impress Davis when it came to selling his ideas to the clients. In the first 3 months, Green spent most of his time working independently on his special software project and travelling to meet with his market specialist and clients. According to one of the market specialist who accompanied Green to several meetings, "Thomas is great when it comes to selling the client on his ideas. He is very charismatic and can think quickly on his feet. I can tell he has put a lot of thought into his strategies and I really like working for him." However he also commented that "clients ask for hard data to back up Green's claims of cost savings. They require memos, presentations but Green does not really work that way. One of Green’s biggest mistakes was publicly disagreeing with Davis’ sales growth projections. Green’s performance decreased drastically after this meeting. During Green’s second month performance evaluation, Green and Davis spoke about several things Green had been doing wrong. Some of these problems were: not keeping an updated schedule, not following up when information is requested, and a lack of enthusiasm. Because Green felt like he was being micromanaged he was very reluctant to do what Davis had suggested. Green did not heed his boss’s advice about using hard data and presentations. Green later received feedback from several of his sales associates that this hard data was going to be essential in closing the sales with many of the prospective clients. Green has not been able to adapt himself well to the new role. He has not cultivated well with his superiors and did not pay much attention needed when the situation with Davis started going wrong.
Answer 6] Mr. Green’s first plan of action should be to complete the self-evaluation of his performance that Davis and McDonald asked him to complete. Green should manage up by understanding Davis’ expectations, strengths and weaknesses, priorities, and work style. Green should evaluate and alter his attitude about authority. Green needs to talk with Davis and be clear about the goals he needs to achieve and expectations he needs to fulfill for the growth of the company. Green needs to understand that he should conform to company standards in order be relative and involve in his team. He knows he is excellent in executing the tasks but struggle in initial structured preparation. He needs to change his perspective toward this weakness and manage it up to conform to Davis’ suggestions. He should consider Davis’ point of view that he should change his approach to his current position, be strategic, and look at a bigger picture. Following what Davis want will only provide him more insight towards his role and will help his overall development. If he follows this attitude, Davis may not have any legitimate concerns towards his performance and may end up liking his performance. If Davis has negative intentions, he may use his power to downgrade Green but then Green can include McDonald into the conversation and McDonald will inclined towards him as he is the one who promoted Green to his current role. He needs to understand McDonald placed him in a delicate spot hence he cannot ignore Davis’ concerns towards him. Since Green has no experience with forecasting, Davis should allow him to get more exposure and training. Once Green has more experience with forecasting, his ideas would actually have more basis, and he could even end up agreeing with Davis' original forecasts. Taking responsibility for his actions and being mature about the situation will help best solve this so he can have good rapport with the colleagues and continue to develop in the company. Lastly, Davis, McDonald, and Green should all meet to finally put the situation to rest in order to resolve the conflict between Green and Davis for effective work in future. Answer 7] Bosses need cooperation, reliability, and honesty from their direct reports. Managers, for their part, rely on bosses for making connections with the rest of the company, for setting priorities, and for obtaining critical resources. When you take the time to cultivate a productive working relationship—by understanding your boss’s strengths and weaknesses, priorities, and work style—everyone wins. Ask your boss for feedback. Let the boss play the role of coach and mentor. You need to enhance developing and managing healthy working relationship. You should put yourself in boss’ shoes and continuously recognize and understand your boss’ priorities and concerns. Besides understanding your boss, you should know yourself. You should know your own needs, strengths and weaknesses, and personal style as well. By understanding more about yourself, you will know your predisposition toward dependence on authority figures. To get ahead within an organization, you need help from a boss who likes, trusts, values and respects you. In your relationship with your boss you will sometimes disagree and occasionally experience an emotional reaction. Don't hold grudges. Don't make threats about leaving. Disagreement is fine; discord is not. Get over it.
Effectively managing up:
Do the right thing with the right intent: You do sometimes need to help the boss develop a sense of urgency but not manipulate for your own selfish needs. The goal of managing up is not currying favor, it’s becoming more effective.
Altering your attitude towards authority:The way in which a manager handles frustrations largely depends on his or her predisposition toward dependence on authority figures. Whether its counter dependence or complete dependence, an awareness of these extremes and the range between them can be very useful in understanding where your own predispositions fall and what the implications are for how you tend to behave in relation to your boss.
Begin with a discussion of goals & expectations: The more thoroughly you understand the goals, constraints, and pressures, under which your boss operates, the better you’ll be able to help her succeed. In return, she’ll be more likely to link you to the wider organization, ensure that your priorities are aligned with strategic company goals, and secure the resources you need to excel.
Accommodating your boss’s work style: Use the following questions as a starting point for determining how best to adjust to your boss’s preferences. 1. Does he prefer a more formal and organized approach? 2. Does she become impatient or inattentive when you veer off the topic at hand? 3. How does he process information best? 4. What is her decision making style? 5. How does he handle conflict?…...

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