Henry Tam Case Study

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What is your evaluation of MGI’s team processes? What were the root causes of the team’s process problems?

The root cause of MGI’s process problems are a lack of direction and clear personal responsibilities. When looking at the team meetings it is very clear that there was little organization to their efforts. It also seemed as though there was not sufficient purpose to the team’s efforts. Many members were more interested in validating their ideas on what to do to others rather than exchanging ideas or creating an open environment. Quiet often there would be time spent on one topic, then another, then more and more without resolving the first topic. The arguments between Sasha and Dana, the HBS students and the musicians, and others never seemed to go anywhere as mentioned by Dana: “The brainstorming sessions were great at first but they went on too long, and there was no implementation.” Establishing finite goals at the end of each meeting could have greatly increased meeting effectiveness. If resolved, the arguments could have become more useful in determining the company’s direction. A good example of how the process problems were caused by a lack of clearly defined personal responsibilities was how the role of the HBS students Henry and Dana were perceived differently by Sasha and Igor. Igor understood that Henry and Dana wanted to help with MGI’s business strategy. Sasha on the other hand, thought that Henry and Dana where there primarily to write the business plan for the contest and that he could also utilize their status as HBS students to call HBS school graduates for help. Henry and Dana disagreed with Sasha’s view of their role and it led to some conflict. As team members brought more people on throughout the project they never spelled out what they wanted the new person to bring to the table. Only after it would become an issue would there be a conversation. Further if someone was tasked with heading the meetings, there wouldn’t be opening and closing issues and forcing some sort of decision making procedure. Overall MGI’s team process was very shaky at first and only after several meetings did they begin to develop more effective ways to work together. At the end of the article it is clear that they still have several more issues to address in order to function together properly.

What are the strengths of the MGI team? How would you have evaluated the MGI team “on paper”, that is, before their first meeting?

The MGI team had the potential for great success. Being a multidisciplinary team they had the skill sets needed for making a successful business plan. When putting together a team, one of the first objectives is for everyone to get to know each other. This proves very important so as to create a friendly working environment. Being that the three Russians already knew each other, were great friends, and already produced a product together, they knew exactly what it would take for them to be efficient. They knew what they needed in terms of people to get their business off the ground. Henry and Dana being in the school environment were used to meeting and getting to know other peoples work habits. So being able to interact with different people and cultures would be an advantage. Henry and Dana were both Harvard Business School students but had no previous experience in real life scenarios. Their only experiences came from their course work and discussions on how to help start up companies. Sasha being a HBS MBA graduate had the skills learned in class and also the experiences in both the Musical Nutcracker and starting up his own business. Between the three of them they had very strong management potentials. Igor being exposed to both United States and European markets served as an asset. He had a great reputation in the music business and had previous connections when he worked for different business parties. Roman being a well known and accomplished composer...
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