An Impossible Dream?
AllenBlock was responsible for the technical implementation of the newcustomer relationship management (CRM) software in Los Angeles andChicago. The software was badly needed to improve follow-up sales forhis company, Exert Systems. Exert sold exercise equipment to highschools and colleges, as well as to small and midsized businesses forrecreation centers, through a national force of 310 salespeople. Thecompany’s low prices won a lot of sales; however, follow-up service wasuneven and the new CRM system promised to resolve those problems withhistorical data, inquiries, reminders, and updates going to sales repsdaily. The CEO of Exert ordered the CRM system installed with allpossible haste. Block currently had four members in the team working onthis project: two in Los Angeles and two in Chicago. On his way toChicago from Los Angeles, Block kept on thinking about what was wrongwith his team. The guys in LA seemed to be focusing tirelessly on work,alternating work with joking around. His team members in Chicagoappeared to be alternating between bickering and avoiding one another.Block kept receiving persistent complaints about his team members’productivity from his boss Zequine Mansell. All through his flight,Block kept on thinking about the reasons for this low productivity andlack of passion among his team members. Block also started fearing thatthis would ruin his dreams of replacing his boss Mansell, after herretirement.
- Howwould you characterize Block’s leadership approach (task versuspeople)? What approach do you think is correct for this situation? Why?
- Whatwould you do now if you were Block? How might you awaken moreenthusiasm in your team for completing this project on time? Specify thesteps you would take.
- How would you suggest that Block modify his leadership style if he wants to succeed Mansell in two years? Be specific.
Environmental Designs International
Carverwas a highly skilled architect responsible for managing a team ofdesigners in Environmental Designs International’s (EDI) Chicago office.Although his abrupt personality had helped him climb the corporateladder, his intimidating communication style was beginning to createproblems and hamper his ability to get results. Carver learned in hisperformance review that his work relationships were suffering and thecomplaints about him were increasing. Even his longtime peers wereavoiding him as much as possible and finding ways to work around him.Sensitive to the growing animosity toward him, Carver began toreconsider how he interacted with his staff and peers. He felt motivatedto begin using some of the tools he learned in the executive educationcourse he recently completed.
- “Atthe senior management level, you get hired for competence. You getfired for personality.” In your opinion, is this statement true orfalse? How does it relate to Barry Carver and his current leadershipstyle?
- Identifythe behaviors described in this case that were damaging to BarryCarver’s work relationships. Why would a manager behave this way? Whatnegative consequences did these behaviors have on his peers andsubordinates?
- How realistic is it that Carver (or anyone) can change his own leadership skills? What kind of help might he need?
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