September 17, 2011
Implementing Leadership Change
Gene One is a biotechnology company that has had success with engineering foods that are disease free and grow at increased rates. Vegetables such as tomatoes and potatoes have been grown without the use of pesticides and other harmful chemicals. These breakthroughs have changed Gene One from a $2 million start-up company into a $400 million company on the verge of going public. The original members of Gene One are challenged with organizing the company and preparing it for an initial public offering (IPO) on Wall Street.
The IPO requires the company to make several changes to the structure of the company’s executive board, marketing strategy, and product invention. Leadership at Gene One must identify weaknesses in management concerning the IPO, and the stress associated with going public. Management is challenged with accomplishing one of the following: 1. Gene One becomes a public company and the goals suggested by the chief executive officer (CEO) are met by adding new people to the existing staff and retaining the team’s culture. 2. Gene One becomes a public company and the goals suggested by the CEO are met by removing people and changing the company’s culture. Both of these options require management to move forward with the IPO and to make stressful decisions concerning the company’s future. Dealing with the stress of the change will determine the success of the IPO. “In an intelligently managed organization, that leadership isn’t a randomly operating process; it’s ‘a propulsive force given motion by purpose, and by a joint effort to accomplish it.’ That is its natural tendency, its bias. But it is management’s role to ensure that this organizational leadership has a substantive and meaningful core around which to form itself and to give it traction for advancing the organization toward its stated ends” (Stroup, 2011, p. 18). Retaining Existing People in a Matrix Structure – Option One Executives at Gene One found that while individual members of the management team have quality ideas when it came to moving the organization forward, they could not come to a consensus concerning how to move. Board members challenged the CEO to see the weaknesses of key management individuals and teased that the failure of the IPO would hinge on these weak members. To maintain Gene One’s existing culture, education of the management team will prove vital. The Chief Financial Officer (CFO) will need guidance concerning Sarbanes Oxley Act (SOA) and Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) challenges. Board members with these skills will be hired to assist with these areas of concern, and to fill voids in the Executive Board with respect to the SOA. Stress of implementing these changes will challenge the CFO and she will need support from the CEO and other team members to keep her from feeling overwhelmed. Engineering will continue to be the backbone of Gene One and the source of future financial gain. The Chief Technical Officer (CTO) is an award winning individual who does not like the idea of answering to Wall Street investors. With the previous success of the Gene One technical staff, the company will continue to benefit from a science first culture. The CEO must learn how to deal with the pressure of the investors and provide a buffer to keep the technical team out of the limelight. A science first culture can be nurtured by creating an organic structure in the technical department that emphasizes decentralization and a wide span of control. Gene One will become a matrix structured organization, “an organization structure that creates dual lines of authority and combines functional and product departmentalization” (Robbins & Judge, 2011, p. 497). The CTO will be encouraged to produce solutions that the company can profit from, but not pressured to create marketing solutions. Focus of the CTO on research and...