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This case study is about teamwork management issues. The main challenge in the study faces Erick Holt who is a new director at FireArts, a company specializing in beer steins, wine goblets, and other glass novelties production. Before getting a job with FireArts as a director, Erick previously worked as a vice president in a consulting firm, where he had been charged with the responsibility of leading three manufacturing specialist teams.
Under his leadership, the teams had worked very well and everybody was enthusiastic and committed to achieving success (Wetlaufer 28). On contrary, upon getting the post of a director at FireArts, he finds a completely different scenario; he is supposed to lead a team of seven top-level managers in initiating change since the company was performing poorly. The department managers show readiness to work hand in hand with the strategy manager but the seventh one seems disinterest in performing as a team. Randy Louderback, sales and marketing director in FireArts is the man behind all the controversies highlighted in this case study.
Despite being very bright and with valuable insights to the company, randy seems determined to undermine all efforts made by the other director towards creating change. The situation in this case study is not clear since Randy does not state exactly what he thinks should be done. He opposes all efforts done by the other company managers without stating the alternative course of action. Although he insists that change is not initiated by a team but a specific individual who comes up with a brilliant idea and inspires others to follow, he fails to aid the strategy director in coming up with the idea.
The key individuals in this case study are Erick Holt, FireArts new director of strategy, charged with the responsibility of putting together a team of top individuals within the organization, and Randy Louderback, the sales, and marketing director in FireArts. Erick Holt has vast experience in leading teams of manufacturing specialists, previously he worked with allnighters where he received a lot of support from the teams he leads.
On the other hand, Randy enjoys a legendary past and close relationship with FireArts CEO. He made his way from being a poor child by working as a short-order cook and security guard and managed to put himself through state college. On his graduation, he received top honors and immediately after started his market research and advertising firm in Indianapolis. He succeeded in building the company to an extent of employing 50 staff members entrusted with the responsibility of servicing the region’s most prestigious accounts (Wetlaufer 30). However, in1980 Randy’s company faced serious challenges and closed down. He then landed the post of a marketing director at FireArts but often bragged of having received dozens of invitations to other jobs.
Erick enjoys a very cordial relationship with all the directors he is in charge of leading apart from one. Although Randy proves to be a challenge in his change initiatives, he does not rebuke him openly. He is constantly looking for the best mechanism of seeking Randy is support although he does not succeed. Randy on the other hand seems to be very proud and a person who does not want to share his success with others.
He does not give the other group members a chance to air their views, something that makes the other directors hate him. In fact, on one occasion, Ray Lapierre confronted him openly and stated that he did not care about anybody else. I believe Erick can achieve much-needed change. All he needs is to give Randy some promotion so that he can feel at a special rank compared to the others, since; the CEO believes he is important to the company.
The main issues in this case study revolve around leadership strategies employed in the daily running of FireArts. The company has been enjoying a high degree of success for nearly the last 80 years as one of the high-price producers. Traditionally, FireArts has been doing great business during every football season by selling to the team fans commemorative knickknacks (Wetlaufer 30). In spring, the company has been enjoying a demand rush for senior prom items such as beer mugs and change goblet. However, over the last18 months, the company has undergone a period of serious challenges. Other companies had started to enter the firearms niche; something that facilitated jack Derry, FireArts CEO to hire a new strategy director.
Randy Louderback could be termed as the main cause of all the problems facing Firearms. He seems to have made up his mind, that he should be the strategic direction in the organization and has been working hard in pulling other director’s efforts back. He does not cooperate and has taken advantage of his acquired trust from the CEO. The problem created by Randy has cost the company many profits and is likely to cost Erick his job as the director of the strategy. Also, the company is facing other subliminal problems such as losing customers’ trust because of a decline in production. If the current situation is not carefully put under control, the six directors might decide to resign because of randy’s intimidation.
Randy Louderback has caused the problems surrounding teamwork management, in FireArts. Although he posses deep knowledge of the best approaches to improve performance in the company, he opts to lie back and frustrate the others. He openly disagrees with the approach taken by the strategic manager to initiate change. At one instance, he interrupts a presentation made by Carl Simmons, director of distribution by mocking him; that his statement meant that the company should change everything starting with the kitchen sink. On another occasion, Ray confronts him when he comes late for a meeting and interrupts everything until everyone left.
In a situation such as the one facing FireArts, the new strategy director should report all unprofessional habits and behavior portrayed by randy in the course of the various meetings. Randy should be summoned, given a stern warning on his actions and if he fails to change, he should be dismissed from the company. It is only such serious decisions that can create a working atmosphere within FireArts since the company is only left to choose between Randy and losses.
FireArts needs very serious change. The CEO should stop appreciating some directors such as Randy on basis of their previous success. He should focus on pushing all the directors to achieve success without favoring any of them. Because the organization is currently undergoing serious leadership issues that need a quick resolution, the CEO should call for a directors meeting to address arising problems. Randy should be given room to express his grievances and opinions; he should also be allowed to air his strategy on how the company should be improved. However, if Randy is provided with an opportunity to change but still insists on sticking on his old tendencies of pushing aside the other directors, he should be given a warning and possibly suspended from his post as the marketing director.
Case review opinion paper
Should the leadership strategies be changed FireArts? How could one implement such changes? The leadership management techniques employed in FireArts demonstrates that the company operates using the traditional, hierarchical management structure, and not one that supports teamwork. Randy seems resistant to change within the organization since he is used to working alone and receiving most of the credit and honor from the CEO.
The different company directors seem to be ready to embrace changes in working as a team brought about by the new strategy director but lack the correct channel to voice their concerns. The only open communication channel involves holding meetings, which are constantly hindered by Randy’s resistance.
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As far as I am concerned, the strategies directors seem to be ignorant of the fact that; real teams do not get along. They have to get things accomplished. He is passionately looking for a mechanism of ensuring that all the seven directors work as a common team. In contrast, he should leave Randy out of the team; let him be responsible in all the matters concerning his department while ensuring that he provides high-quality results.
To link randy to the other group members the strategy manager should come up with a different communication channel that does not involve facial encounters. He could make use of available organization’s internal communication technologies, such as internal memos, faxes, and mails.
In my view, every organization has some members who make their contributions as solo performers. FireArts should understand this clearly and allow randy to go solo. As a solo performer, Randy will be under a pressure to achieve great heights of success to prove his worth. In return, the company will benefit because of the increased production and will have an opportunity to motivate the other directors to work as hard as the marketing director does.
In cases where the marketing director is provided with all the chances and opportunities to change but fails to follow the rules, either the team or he must go. Sometimes organizations are forced to take the hard stand of dismissing individuals who do not perform or disrupt the organization’s goals. Individuals such as randy should be avoided through all possible means for an organization to succeed effectively.
In my own opinion, FireArts has been performing very well and efforts should be put into place to ensure that the company does not lose its customer’s trust. Efforts should be made to ensure that company’s secrets are not exposed to the outside community. Erick, must take up his position as the company’s strategic direction and stop following directions from the CEO on seeking support from Randy. He should understand that he was hired to solve challenges that were facing the company and Randy is one of the challenges.
In conclusion, the CEO of FireArts should give his staff members room to perform their tasks. He should stop showing direct favors to some of his employees at the expense of the others. Lastly, all efforts done by any staff member within the organization should be recognized effectively as recommended by Maureen Turner.
Wetlaufer, Suzy. “The Team that Wasn’t.” Harvard Business Review (1994):22-38. Web.