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Entrepreneurship Maclean Palmer Case Study

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Updated: Jul 3rd, 2020

Team Evaluation

A motivated, visionary, and risk taking business leader, Maclean Palmer jr jointly collaborated with four other business entrepreneurs and set the scene to establish Maclean Palmer, a private equity firm. Maclean Palmer, an entrepreneur at heart identified an available opportunity with private equity investment and endeavored to gather the necessary human resources to initiate the investment process (Barringer, Ireland, & Ireland, 2010).

A critical evaluation of Palmer’s team clearly indicated consistency with team building techniques and entrepreneurial behavior. Evidently, the call to quit their jobs and sell their homes to raise the venture capital, a prerequisite to the investment process doubtlessly illustrated their core competence of entrepreneurship. The team, characterized by general and limited partnership roles distinct at different levels was a historical entrepreneurial move.

Shane (2010) and Drucker (2006) agree that the entrepreneurial outlook included a keen investment strategy with value addition approaches, a critical evaluation of investment opportunities, excellent communication skills, strategic sourcing for technical skills, and an effective organizational vision. Strong teams are characterized by specific roles evident in Maclean Palmer case study such as gatekeeping.

Many of the investors, deficient of evaluation and investment skills in the venture capital industry charged a fee payable at a rate of 1% of the committed capital per annum. Further illustration of risk taking nature of the Maclean Palmer team was evident from the two successive recessions of 1980 to early 1992 and a stock market characterized by panic in the late 1987. This drove companies from venture financing to successful IPOs, an inherent weakness.

The unfolding events called to question Palmer’s overall strategy and the team’s requisite private equity investment capabilities, team cohesion, stability, goals and objectives, and the team’s flow strategy.

To answer these team evaluation questions, various models were called into reference with various advocates. These included GSA’s two to three weeks evaluation process specific for various equity firms. GSA was excellent in searching for venture executives. The team was assessed for talent and ability to evaluate any new venture opportunities regardless of Palmer’s experience and contribution, though Maclean earned the title of manager centric, a term referring to Maclean’s choice of top-level managers.

Selecting the Team

The case study illustrates contentious issues and approaches in team selection and amalgamation process. While Maclean Palmer’s partners viewed Maclean as experienced with the kind of drive to lead the team, GSA contended by proposing a more radical shift to incorporate partners with prior experience, sound judgment, and excellent tack record as viewed by (Cornelius & Associates, n.d ) . Despite Palmer’s contention of a minority view, a consensus on experience as the selection strategy was enforced.

Palmer’s thorough networking led to the scrutiny of Wharton MBA Clark Piece’s resume along with that of Harvard MBA Andrew Simon, 38 and 30 years of age respectively.

Instrumental to the firm’s effectiveness, the quest for performance improvement, operational flexibility, policy implementation capabilities, knowledge sharing and management remained the core questions for the newly selected team. It was a strong team consisting of Harvard MBA Dario Cardenas aged 31 whose combined experience and talent as a Mayor took the position of vice president.

At every stage of the development process of the investment team, unfolding issues were evaluated by GSA based on verification procedures based on past performance, abilities to judge, and an evaluation of the viability of an investment opportunity against proven teams’ performance in value addition strategies, abilities to build strong relationship within the team, and ability to maintain a cohesive team (Bygrave, 2004).

This team could provide effective leadership for venture capital investment. GSA among other firms was strongly linked by their new team to a broad spectrum of business and venture capital industry players through interviews and assessments for viability in venture capital investments (Nash, n.d).

Bonding the Team

A dynamically strong team was identified by the able entrepreneur Maclean Palmer to be a key role player in a successful business. Palmer initiated introduction and strategy sessions focused on building the team in addition to setting goals and gathering support for the firm’s leadership (Kim & Mauborgne, 2005).

In these sessions, a range of issues spanning an introduction of team members and their progress preceded other issues. Heathfield (2010) views these sessions to take place on a well apportioned time frame for discussing different items in the agenda.

Among these are a discussion of fund strategy, the firm’s operating philosophy, reviewing the draft budget, a detailed discussion of fund-raising strategies, the team’s open issues, and the strategic partners. According to Savelsbergh (2004), strong teams are characterized by members who pay a personal price much as Palmer is characterized in the case study as inviting family to a tour of the city.

The meeting was characterized by a focus on the internal process of the firm and an interaction of team members with their immediate environment. Cohesive team saw themselves as winning underdogs, established goals towards which they worked, provided direction, were curious for success, and embed the power of their mission in their hearts (Your success is our business, 2010).


Barringer, Bruce, R., Ireland, Duane & Ireland Duane, R., 2010. Entrepreneurship: successfully launching new ventures. 3rd ed. New Jersey: Pearson.

Bygrave, William D., 2004. The portable MBA in entrepreneurship. 3rd ed. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Your success is our business, 2010. Characteristics of an effective team: Missouri Business. Web.

Cornelius & Associates, Team Member Responsibilities and Skills. Teamwork divides the task and doubles the success. Web.

Drucker, Peter F., 2006. Innovation and entrepreneurship. New York: Harper Paperbacks.

Heathfield, Susan, M., 2010. . Web.

Nash, Susan, S., . Web.

Savelsbergh, C. 2004. Organizations need teams, but teams also need organizations. Web.

Shane, Scott, A., 2010. Illusions of entrepreneurship: the costly myths that entrepreneurs, investors, and policy makers live by. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Chan, Kim, W., & Mauborgne, Renée, 2005. Blue ocean strategy: how to create uncontested market space and make the competition irrelevant. Boston: Harvard Business Press.

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