Team-Case Study

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mmCase Study: The Team That Wasn’t
Yu Zhang
Date: 12.1.2012
Getting Oriented

1.FireArt Inc.:
The company, a family-owned maker of wine goblets, beer steins, ashtrays, and other glass novelties had succeeded for nearly 80 years as a high-quality, high-price producer, catering to hundreds of Midwestern clients. It traditionally did big business every football season, selling commemorative knickknacks to the fans of teams such as the Fighting Irish, the Wolverines, and the Golden Gophers. In the spring, there was always a rush of demand for senior prom items—champagne goblets emblazoned with a school’s name or beer mugs with a school’s crest, for example. Fraternities and sororities were steady customers. Year after year, FireArt showed respectable increases at the top and bottom lines, posting $86 million in revenues and $3 million in earnings three years before Eric arrived. But In the last 18 months, though, sales and earnings had flattened. 2. Jack Derry:

Jack, a grandnephew of the company’s founder, as the CEO of this company, thought he knew what’s wrong with the company. He told Eric to put together a team and they should make up a comprehensive plan for the company’s strategic realignment up, running, and winning within six months. 3. Eric Holt:

Eric is the director of strategy at FireArt, Inc. He compiled a list of the senior managers from human resources, manufacturing, finance, distribution, design, and marketing and then built a team including these outstanding people. Also he is a leader of this team. However, after holding several meetings, he found that the contradictions between team members become more and more serious. 4. Randy Louderback

Randy is FireArt’s charismatic director of sales and marketing and he has a hardscrabble personal history. Poor as a child, he had worked as a security guard and short-order cook to put himself through the state college, from which he graduated with top honors. Soon after, he started his own advertising and market research firm, but in the late 1980s, Randy’s firm suffered the same fate as many other advertising shops, and he was forced to declare bankruptcy. FireArt considered it a coup when it landed him as director of marketing, since he had let it be known that he was offered at least two dozen other jobs. Jack thought he was the future of this company. 5. Ray LaPierre

Ray was a giant of a man who had run the furnaces for some 35 years, following in his father’s footsteps. Although he was a former high school football star who was known among workers in the factory for his hearty laugh and his love of practical jokes, Ray usually didn’t say much around FireArt’s executives, citing his lack of higher education as the reason. 6. Maureen Turner

Maureen Turner is from design division, who is known to complain that FireArt didn’t appreciate its six artists. She thought the company should need to invest in new artists, pitching its competitive advantage in better design and wider variety. She had made this case to FireArt’s top executives many Times and only to be rebuffed.

7 Carl Simmons
Carl is a distribution director. He is a quiet and meticulous man. He had joined FireArt just six months earlier.
Director of sales and marketing
Randy Louderback
Director of Strategy
Eric Holt
Distribution director
Carl Simmons
Manufacture
Ray LaPierre
Design division
Maureen Turner
CEO
Jack Derry

Identification of Problems

1. Through the team’s meetings, Randy answers most questions put to him with maddening vagueness which makes other people think that he isn’t care about their plans. Also sometimes he disrupts other people’s ideas and don’t pay attention to other people’s statement. At the fourth meeting, Randy is late and he doesn’t give any specific explanation. All in all, he doesn’t show respectful to the other group members. 2. Eric is told by CEO that Randy is helpful. In order to get Randy’s help, he doesn’t try to stop Randy at the...
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