Leadership and Team Building Case Analysis II .

MGMT 433 – Leadership and Team Building Case Analysis II .

Total: 50 points
General Overview
Utilizing course and other relevant materials presented in class as your primary viewpoint, in 3-5 pages respond to the following real work situation. The goal is to look at the case, examining leadership, employee and team perspectives by responding to the questions at the end of the case. Make sure that your analysis is an integrated framework and not a hodge-podge of available concepts.
Your answers should be an integration of reasonable analysis, theoretical understanding, critical thought and synthesis of course readings and other relevant materials (you do not have to restrict yourself to only materials presented in class). Limit your response to no more than 5 pages (excluding cover and reference sections). Remember there is no definitive answer, rather there is a position that you support. Papers are to be in proper MLA or APA format.
Your case analysis is due on or before 11:55 pm on 04/12/2015 and must be submitted through Angel in the appropriate drop box. Analyses submitted after this deadline will be considered late and subject to late penalties – no exceptions. The case is to reflect your thoughts using course materials and activities to analyze the case. As such you are not to discuss your analysis with any class member. Individuals who are found to violate this principle may be subject to automatic failure of the deliverable.
This case is based on an actual story about a small business owner, Paul O. He wanted to make some changes in the way his business operated (to make it more effective and efficient). Of the several initiatives that were implemented, one was the reintroduction of company-wide employee reviews. It was through this measure that a problem emerged that the owner sought advice from his senior personnel and outside consultants. You are one of the consultants the owner sought advice/guidance. Using the questions at the end of the case, what do you tell Paul moving forward? In Our Second Round of Employee Reviews, a Problem Emerges After reviewing my employees in 2013, I thought long and hard about what to do next. Kyle and I wanted to make some changes, both in the way the shop was arranged and how the work was done. Hoping to encourage cooperation, I decided to create a profit-sharing plan. It took a month to work out the details, and I introduced it in April. Kyle and I then proceeded with our plan to try a new way of building tables. We wanted to move away from the traditional workshop model, in which a single worker builds an entire piece and does a significant amount of problem-solving along the way. We had operated like that for many years but had found that it was too inefficient to support a high-wage work force — unless I was willing to forgo profits. And I’m done with that. We wanted to devote more resources to engineering, to try to solve problems before they left the office. That’s why we decided to train the Veteran to program the CNC machine, and we made each of the other bench guys specialize in a shorter list of tasks. Not surprisingly, we found that repeated performance of a narrower set of operations increased speed and quality. My Friday meetings with Kyle continued, but with an additional attendee: my lead salesman, Nathan. During his review, Nathan had expressed interest in learning more about how I do my job. He has worked for me for 15 years, and he has always been eager to do whatever he could to help the company succeed. He had made the move from bench cabinetmaker to salesman even though he had doubts about whether he could succeed in that role. When he asked to learn my job, I realized that it would be a good idea to start preparing someone to step into my shoes and that Nathan would be a great candidate. He joined the Friday committee and started contributing his take on the events of the week and on longer-term strategy. Out on the shop floor, the CNC Whiz was exceeding expectations. He not only learned to do basic operations on the machine, but he also took it upon himself to read the entire manual, to form a good relationship with the machine manufacturer’s support staff, and to scour YouTube to see what other shops were doing with the same machine. To accomplish this while still getting his normal work done, he put in lots of overtime. The Veteran, meanwhile, had moved to the office. This did not go all that well, but it wasn’t his fault. Andy, the engineer, was in charge of training him to program the CNC machine, and Andy had never trained anyone before. It took some time before he found the methods to get the Veteran on track. By the end of last summer, Andy reported that the Veteran was making progress. That progress, however, was not translating into the results I wanted.
We continued to experience nagging problems with the machine code coming from the engineering office, little mistakes that the CNC Whiz would have to ask to have corrected. Sometimes he didn’t catch the mistake until a part was run and ruined. I had hoped that the extra engineering capacity provided by the Veteran would fix this, but the mistakes did not disappear. In November, I asked the CNC Whiz to start logging every mistake in a spreadsheet so that we could look for patterns. But there were no patterns, just a cavalcade of errors. Throughout the winter this problem did not go away. I took a look at the error log while writing this piece, and there have been a couple of mistakes per week since the fall. Last November, I also marked the Veteran’s 20th anniversary with the company by giving a short speech to all of the workers thanking him for his long years of reliable service, his work ethic, and his extraordinary craftsmanship — compliments that I gave without reservation. I also gave him a substantial bonus. As far as I could tell, though, this did not cheer him up. Toward the end of the year, we sold a bunch of jobs that were more complicated than our bread-and-butter products. As our most skilled cabinetmaker, the Veteran was asked to do this work. That kept him out of the office for much of December and part of January. After that, our slow sales meant that two engineers were not needed, and he spent more time out on the shop floor. In March, sales picked up, but we still didn’t have enough engineering work to keep him busy. Instead, he went back and forth from office to shop. When he was working at his bench, his mood darkened. When he returned to the office, it improved. Through all of this, the programming errors persisted. It got to the point that we installed another engineering workstation out at the machine, so that the CNC Whiz could fix the problems right there, rather than taking the long walk to the office, describing the problem, and waiting for a fix. The new station required the purchase of another computer and software license, which cost almost $5,000. So now I was paying one person to send out faulty code and another to fix it. But at least I didn’t have to distract Andy by adding another student to his duties. The CNC Whiz went right to work with manuals and online tutorials, and he taught himself the program. And once he learned how to program the machine, he started to experiment with different ways of running it. Before long, he knew the machine cold. Spring arrived, and Kyle asked when we were going to conduct reviews again. I had been working hard on revising our pricing spreadsheets all winter and wasn’t looking forward to the distraction. But reviews had been very useful the previous year, so I agreed that we should get started as soon as possible. Kyle and Nathan and I discussed how the 2014 round of reviews would go on the last Friday in March. To save time, we decided to use the 2013 format without changes: same set of questions and answers, same individual sessions, same willingness to spend a couple of hours with each worker. We spent most of the time discussing a precise definition of the three self-assessment choices: needs improvement, solid, and outstanding. We settled on the following definitions. Needs Improvement was self-explanatory. Solid would be the equivalent of an A grade in school: excellent performance and what we expect from our workers. Outstanding was reserved for the few workers who stood out, by dint of extraordinary effort or extraordinary competency, even among my very accomplished group of workers.
In the second week of April, at our all-hands Monday meeting, I announced that we would be reviewing again, and I went over the self-assessment definitions. The sign-up sheets filled quickly. Because I had hired one more worker in the fall to help develop our new website, we now had 16 full-time workers and a part-time bookkeeper. We would be able to complete the reviews in three weeks, with one last review on the third Monday. As it happened, that slot went to the Veteran. I don’t know whether he chose it deliberately or was slow to sign up and all of the other times were taken. One of the first reviews was the CNC Whiz — and what a pleasure that was. Not only could we congratulate him on doing a fantastic job, he told us that he had signed up for a community college course in Solidworks, a computer-aided manufacturing program that we had been considering to replace our current software. After he left the room, I started thinking about whether he should still be working at the CNC machine — or whether his knowledge, initiative, and imagination wouldn’t be put to better use in the office. I could promote him to engineer in charge of writing code for the machine. The only problem? We already had someone filling that role: the Veteran. During the second week of reviews, we started to hear some comments about the Veteran from other workers. One of the questions we asked was, “Do you have any suggestions regarding performance of any other employee(s)?” Several people commented on the Veteran’s attitude. I don’t spend my days on the shop floor, so the fact that other workers saw his behavior as a problem was news to me. Sure, we all knew he was unhappy at work, but I hadn’t seen it affect morale. Kyle, however, wasn’t surprised at all. He told me the Veteran had been difficult to manage. He then started telling me exactly what was happening, and I grew alarmed. Some of the things the Veteran had done, particularly refusing to follow direction regarding how a job should be built and making disrespectful comments to Kyle, were clearly listed in our employee handbook as reasons for immediate termination.
Paul, the owner is seeking your professional advice regarding his business. Specifically, he wants your input on the following:
– Provide a case summary (do not devote more than three-quarter page length to the case summary; one-half to three-quarters is sufficient).
– What should Andy say to the veteran regarding his work performance? Provide specifics.
– How would a team structure among the key players (the veteran, the CC Whiz Kid and Andy) impact work productivity?
– What recommendations do you make to Paul regarding the veteran? CC Whiz Kid?
You must support your positon through relevant theories and case materials.

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