Peter Olafson

Topics: Leadership Pages: 5 (1469 words) Published: January 13, 2008

Peter Olafson has just taken a position as the general manager for Cable King Television (CKV) of St. Paul Minnesota. CKV has been in existence for the past four years. The company is by UniComm of Beverly Hills California and a local St. Paul businessman, 85%-15% respectively. The first three years of CTV were spent securing state, federal, and local franchises and permission to operate in the St. Paul area. When Olafson arrived, CTV had six employees working on the design, preparation, and initial construction of the cable system.

CTV's parent company, UniComm, was founded by William Jurgens. Jurgens built UniComm up from a small west coast cable system to $25 million company that now ranks within the top 20 firms in the nation. Jurgens is known as tough business man, a self made man who aggressiveness and ability brought him considerable success.

Peter Olafson has just graduated with his MBA; his credentials include BS in electrical engineering from MIT and an MS in communications engineering from the University of Minnesota. He also worked his way up to a captain in the United States Army Signal Corps. Olafson took a job with CTV because he saw cable television as a field with great growth, opportunity, and expansion since it was primarily dominated by private entrepreneurs. When Olafson was given the job offer from Jurgens, Olafson was informed that the general manager assignment at St. Paul would be challenging. The system was having a number of serious start-up problems; however, Jurgens noted the St. Paul-Minneapolis market had the possibility of being a very profitable market. Olafson has no prior cable television experience however since he is assuming he is to work under Jurgens, he can learn from him.

The issues Olafson faces are varied. When he reports to work he is not reporting to Jurgens, he is reporting to Jim Harvey. Harvey is the director of budgets and plans and now is in charge of all pre-operating systems. Much to Olafson's chagrin Harvey has no system operating experience so he is unable to offer any advice or guidance. A second issue facing is that the chief engineer, Kurt Anderson, is having difficulties planning and organizing the for the construction activities. Anderson is not a trained engineer, he worked his way up from line installer to chief engineer and has a reputation as being a first rate technical employee. After working with Anderson for a few months, Olafson realized that Anderson the administrative ability of prior knowledge to start a brand new operation. The last hurdles faced by Olafson were three personnel changes / additions; Olafson added Jeff Wadsworth, a recent college grad who was hired as the director of marketing. Wadsworth is seen as an aggressive ambitious young man. The second addition was Christopher "Tucker" Barnes, the head of the installation department. Tuffer is a 27 year old college grad who has a great deal of hands on knowledge regarding the equipment and procedures. The third addition is Sabrina Hayes, educated by a social worker, to work in the right of way department. She is noted for her ability to organize things and get it done.

The main problem facing Olafson is his inability to influence routinely influencing Harvey and Anderson. There are multiple examples of Olafson having a hard time trying to persuade Harvey listen to his ideas regarding on how the operation should be conducted in St. Paul. From the text: "Olafson was unsuccessful, however, in influencing Harvey to reverse the decision (grid mapping versus power supplies) as it applied to St. Paul. This created further problems with deliveries and the new power supplies did not arrive until the end of February." A second example, regarding local and government public access support:

"Olafson had been approached numerous times by local citizens and representatives of the state cable commission concerning how much...
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