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Cce Case

In: Business and Management

Submitted By rcolayco
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I. Case Context Crutchfield Chemical Engineering (CCE) is a large specialist in chemicals and fibers manufacturing. Since 1996, CCE has been replacing its commodity chemicals business with engineered lines for different manufactured products. Many company divisions have their own R&D unit, but CCE houses an elite Corporate Technology Development (CTD) division made up of three research departments dedicated to exploring new technologies and products that are potentially profitable for CCE in new markets over the next five years. In other words, CTD departments carry the heavy responsibility of creating the future of CCE.
CCE is now in the last stage of its companywide downsizing that resulted in 18% workforce reduction in the last 6 months. One of the departments under CTD belongs to Paul Burke, a seasoned director of the Polymers Department who has seen many downsizing cases in his time. He oversees 5 R&D project teams, 2 of which he has noticed a large discrepancy in terms of degree of motivation and performance: Lumen having high motivation and creativity and Absorb being the opposite. To investigate, Burke hired an organizational psych expert for the study of the day-by-day dynamics of the two teams. Using 10 days' worth of electronic daily diaries collected from all members of the two teams, the study reveals rich information about team leader behaviors, team member thoughts and behaviors, team dynamics, and project progress.

II. Problem/Issue Definition
Large a large discrepancy exists between Lumen and Absorb in terms of motivation and creativity, posing a direct threat to CCE as it is highly dependent on R&D and new product development. It is imperative to find out what keeps Lumen at their motivational highs, and how to maintain or increase it, while doing the same for Absorb.

III. Analysis Framework
The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork by John Maxwell provided the framework to better understand Lumen and Absorb by comparing how each law applied to each team, and how each team was performing relative to that law.
GREEN - Positive action / team performs according to the law
RED - Negative action / team does not perform according to the law Law | Lumen | Absorb | 1. Significance | * The team works together. Members give suggestions to Max on how to improve patent ppplications. Melinda and Pierre “joined forces” to cope with extra work when they were left at the office * When a trial was rescheduled resulting in a lot of work for Pierre, Max and Melinda offered to take over some of his tasks | * Chip micromanages each member of the team which makes, giving members no opportunity to be autonomous and creative about how they approach their goals * This is one of the key reasons the team has low motivation and creativity levels because Chip does not recognize each member’s real significance | 2. Big Picture | * Each member performs a task other than his/her own that will help the project. All members give suggestions on how to improve patent applications and achieve goals * All members put their current tasks on hold to address issues affecting the whole team (e.g. the complaint from Cynarea) | * The team is not working towards one goal due to internal problems that distract them from their work * Chip compartmentalizes the team’s objectives and talks to each member in private while giving them different ideas | 3. Niche | * Each member has a specific role in the team * Each member performs their tasks excellently | * Each member performs tasks according to Chip’s dictations, not exactly to their own strengths and interests * Chip is not a good-fit leader for the team | 4. Mount Everest | * The team is motivated by high-level challenge and is actually interested to take on more challenges | * The team is easily discouraged by all the internal conflit. Challenges appear daunting and result in low motivation and morale. | 5. Chain | * No mention of weak or strong members in the team. | * Chip appears to be a weak leader based on the way his members perceive him and how his team is performing overall | 6. Catalyst | * As team leader, Max is vital in the team’s activities. Leading meetings, helping others with their work, being trusted to approach for help, and even standing up to management for the needs of the team | * Chip is an example of “players who want the ball but shouldn’t have it”. He does not seem recognize his weakness as a leader | 7. Compass | * Team has one main goal which they are all working towards | * Team’s goal was not well defined from the beginning. Chip “forced” to choose what to develop too early without communicating this idea clearly | 8. Bad Apple | * There was no bad apple in the team. No significant internal conflict occurred between team members | * Chip appears to be the bad apple based on his performance as team leader, especially at keeping his team’s morale up * Examples of Chip’s poor performance includes asking members to not be transparent about their recommendations to management for “political reasons” and not giving Hector credit to his hard work | 9. Countability | * Melinda and Pierre help each other when they are left alone. Melinda also offers to do some of Pierre’s work when changes in schedule leave Pierre with a lot of work * Max, even while he was in New York, helped Melinda with a problem over the phone. He also offered to help to Pierre | * Chip gives the impression of distrust over his team members because he tends to “nit-pick” too much on their performance | 10. Price Tag | * Max maximizes the resources of his team and even willingly steps it up by attempting to justify to management why he needs access to more talent/resources | * Chip has great talent in the team (aka the resources he needs for the team to succeed is available) but he is not willing to take risks (e.g. not being transparent and open about recommendations and findings to management because of “political reasons”) and is therefore compromising success and creativity | 11. Scoreboard | * Max constantly updated the team regarding progress and what next steps * All roles/jobs were agreed upon * No actual evaluations were mentioned in the study | * Chip does not communicate clearly his team, often leaving them blind and unknowing of what to do next * No actual evaluations were mentioned in the study | 12. Bench | * All team members performed the tasks expected of them. Team members were also readily available to help out in another member’s task such as Melinda offering to help Pierre with his work | * Members amongst each other were supportive, at least. It is just unfortunate that they all agree on being unhappy with their leader | 13. Identity | * Team understands what they are performing for and what goals they are fulfilling as a team and for the company as a whole | * Chip’s team is so focused on their personal woes and complaints (e.g. leaving the team, disliking the leader) about their current status that they can no longer focus on providing customer satisfaction and meeting organizational goals | 14. Communication | * Max openly communicates with his team. He is quick to identify problems and points for development, and accepts input from his members, as seen in one of the patent applications where he allowed everyone to give suggestions. He also immediately implemented the suggestions he found best-fit and realigned with the team over e-mail by the end of the day. When a customer complained, Max was also quick to inform the team to find a solution and formulate a plan of action * Max regularly updated members left at their office while he was in New York | * Chip is not quick to report progress and development which leaves the team not knowing what work needs to be done * Chip was being vague about which member was leaving, nor did he inform said member that he was permitted to leave. * Instead of asking his members who would be willing to have tasks turned over to him/her, Chip assigned tasks and consulted people who were not even concerned with the assignment | 15. Edge | * Max was able to make team members own up to their work and be responsible | * Chip did not seem to trust in nor encourage his members (e.g. During Jim’s presentation, Chip dictated what should be done without first acknowledging Jim’s work, leaving Jim feeling like he was an outsider and “not part of the team”) * Hector was feeling discouraged about his job, according to him because of the way Chip speaks to him | 16. High Morale | * The team performs and achieves under Max’s leadership and exhibits high morale and creativity in their work | * The team is underperforming under Chip’s leadership, affecting the way they perform their tasks | 17. Dividends | * Max understands the strengths and weaknesses of his members and is able to invest time and effort into ensuring the whole team performs optimally | * Chip does not seem invest enough in his team members. He does not maximize their talents, rather reduces them to just “do-ers” of tasks that he assigns without consideration for their abilities |

IV. Analysis & Discussion
LUMEN
Lumen exhibits a dynamic of two-way, very close communication. Members reinforce each other, recognize strengths and weaknesses, acknowledge success, give insight during disagreements, and provide support for weak points. At the same time, the team leader, Max, permits autonomy of members, but steps in only when he feels absolutely necessary, as opposed to simply delegating tasks. This allows members to own up and be responsible for their work, and gives them room to be creative. Max maintains regular and transparent communication with his members, and acknowledges their value when reporting to management. He also exhibits care when they encounter challenges, more tasks than usual, and even steps up to management to justify their need for more talent and resources.
Lumen’s performance is attributable to Max’s leadership skills and his members’ openness to being team players. Members clearly show high levels of motivation, have competencies to perform and the commitment for tasks complemented by Max’s knack for accurately delegating work. Members are able to attest to each other’s performance and strengths, as seen in their entries. While no major problem seems present in Lumen, it is important to maintain their winning streak, or even better, increasing their motivation to perform.

ABSORB On the other hand, Absorb members are in total disconnect with their team leader, Chip. Chip’s entries are not specific and are made up mostly of assumptions of how his members feel about their work vague, referring to generalities, and usually assuming how his team members feel about their work, as if he had never consulted them for more accurate accounts. Chip’s style is to delegate work without considering abilities and skills, and criticizing more than building. Chip also appears overly conscious with how he presents himself and his team’s work to management, specifically asking to not divulge particular recommendations and risks for political reasons–something that might provide valuable business insight to the organization.
While members appear to agree that they all have beef with Chip, it is not clear whether any of them attempted to approach Chip about his unfavorable style of leadership. Ultimately, Absorb’s problems seem to boil down to poor communication and relationships among members, and between members and Chip. Absorb’s low performance might be attributable to Chip’s managerial incompetency, but the 17 laws provide action steps that can provide suggestions as to how members can improve as members, and Chip as team leader, and how this can all translate to a better performing Absorb.

V. Recommendations
It could be that Absorb is simply not best-fit for each other and that they may work better in a different internal environment. One recommendation is reassign the team leader, perhaps even replace Chip to another team and add or remove members. It is important however to note that this may interfere with current project progress.
Another recommendation would be to implement communication protocol to easy Absorb into the habit of being transparent with one another. This could come in the form of an open-door policy or open-speech meeting held at least once a week. A suggestion dropbox might also work for the team to help address more internal than output-related concerns.
The first long term recommendation is to establish an incentives system for high performing members upon project completion. Incentives can be as simple as department-wide or company-wide recognition, a token of gratitude or similar. If management permits, they might even consider giving promotions, bonuses or increases in salary.
As a final long term suggestion, both Lumen and Absorb might consider an evaluation system to build on each other’s strengths and weaknesses and figure out optimal working style and achieve high motivation and creative levels.

Criteria for Formal Evaluation System 1. Must include evaluations of team leaders and team members, an assessment of team dynamics, team performance, and self-evaluation 2. Must allow the team leader to evaluate team members 3. Must allow team members to evaluate each other, and their leader 4. Must include suggestions for improvements coming from team members and Dir. Burke 5. Must provide consolidation and aggregate reports for Burke’s evaluation
This evaluation must be completed after every project milestone, or at least every quarter for longer projects, and is mandatory after every completed project. It should be designed to help each team member appreciate each other’s functions better, reveal sources of conflict, and opportunities to improve performance. The evaluation should also help a team member perceive his/her own work and come up with insight on how he/she can improve on his/her own weaknesses. The recommendations section should reflect internal perceptions on how to improve performance, aside from what is presented by the fixed evaluation criteria.…...

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