David Fletcher Case Study

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Why did Fletcher’s first attempt to build a team fail?

When the environment for portfolio management changed and as Fletcher began being overwhelmed with research, he sought to create a team of analysts that could assist him with his work. Fletcher failed to build this team on his first attempt as a result of several causes.

There were multiple mistakes that Fletcher made that can be seen in his interactions with people. The first was his assistant Whitley which he had a close relationship with. Before Fletcher hired Doyle, he did it hastily without consulting Whitley. The lack of consent and thought for how he would fit into the company’s culture showed when tension grew between Doyle and Whitley. This led to unproductive work as time and effort was spent on trying to resolve the issue instead of focusing on their work. To make matters worse, Fletcher failed to resolve the conflict by taking a passive approach. Fletcher mentioned that he did not actively try to resolve the conflicts which led to the conflict being dragged out all the way until Doyle left the firm. Fletcher only hypothesized about what the problem was when he said that Whitley wanted the attention. He was wrong and didn’t see that it was clearly Doyle and Whitley were not compatible together on a team. Even though they didn’t cross paths often, when they did both of them just got frustrated. This became such a problem for Whitley that she went to Lodge first and it was Lodge that got Fletcher to sit down with Whitley to talk about her issues. Even after that, Whitley was still discouraged so Jenkins had to step in to remediate the situation. This shows that by taking a passive approach to helping his analysts, Fletcher lost trust in even one of his closest friends in the company. This lack of trust was also shown when Whitley told Kindred about resigning. Despite all of Fletcher’s and Jenkins’s efforts, Whitley eventually left the firm. A perfect example of how Fletcher did not properly manage his analyst. If Fletcher had approached the problem between Doyle and Whitley earlier by sitting them down and talking with them individually, as mentioned in Managing Away Bad Habits, he could have identified the problems and taken a proactive approach to resolving them. This could have not only kept Whitley in the firm, but maybe even Doyle as well.

Fletcher took another approach when he hired Kindred. By having Whitley and several others meet with her before hand, he was able to obtain consensus in the office for his decision to hire. However, when Kindred joined, she mentioned there was a lack of a review/feedback process. Since Fletcher never initiated anything like that, it was up to Kindred to do it for him. If Fletcher had a review process, it would have helped in diagnosing the problems with Whitley and Doyle. This brings up another problem, teamwork. Fletcher was overwhelmed by the amount of work he had to do thus he barely conducted team meetings. Instead of formal meetings to share ideas amongst the team, the meetings were often “on the fly” meaning they were barely scheduled. In this system, team members would not have adequate time to prepare and the meetings would not be as efficient as it would be if everyone had an agenda. This worsened the team work because despite a minor crossover, between Whitley and Doyle’s work, there was barely any real communication or sharing of ideas. Instead of sharing, there was just tension and angst which hinders team work.

Fletcher seemed to make mistakes in the beginning as well. When Fletcher consulted others about what type of team he should hire, he chose to go with choosing his analysts based on strong experience. Doyle was chosen based on this criteria but he was the first to leave, showing that experience was not all that mattered. However, with Kindred, Fletcher had an analyst who was new to the field. Kindred expressed that she never really had a boss before and liked how Fletcher provided...
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