The Team That Wasn't.
Harvard Business Review; Nov/Dec94, Vol. 72 Issue 6, p22-26, 5p, 9 Color Photographs Document Type:
*TEAMS in the workplace
NAICS/Industry Codes 327212 Other Pressed and Blown Glass and Glassware Manufacturing
"You have one responsibility as FireArt's director of strategy," the CEO had said to Eric on his first day. "That's to put together a team of our top people, one from each division, and have a comprehensive plan for our strategic realignment up, running, and winning within six months." It seemed like an exciting, rewarding challenge. The team approach to problem solving was Eric's specialty; in his old job, he had managed three teams of manufacturing specialists. Clearly, this project would be difficult: FireArt was trying to combat an 18-month slump in sales and earnings. But Eric was sure that together, the glassmaker's top managers could find a way to reverse the trend. Unfortunately, the team got off on the wrong foot from its first meeting. Randy Louderback, FireArt's charismatic and extremely talented director of sales and marketing, seemed intent on sabotaging the group's efforts. In fact, at the first three team meetings, Randy either dominated the discussion or withdrew entirely, tapping his pen on the table to indicate his boredom. Sometimes, he withheld information vital to the group's debate, or he denigrated people's comments. Anxiously awaiting the start of the team's fourth meeting, Eric was determined to address Randy's behavior openly in the group. But before he could, Randy again provoked a confrontation, and the meeting ended abruptly. What should Eric do now? Is Randy the team's only problem? Seven experts discuss the characters in this fictitious case study and examine what it takes to create a successful team. [ABSTRACT FROM PUBLISHER]
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The team that wasn't
With a group of talented, hardworking people, why isn't this team working? The last thing Eric Holt had expected to miss about New York City was its sunrises. Seeing one usually meant he had pulled another all-nighter at the consulting firm where, as a vice president, he had managed three teams of manufacturing specialists. But as he stood on the balcony of his new apartment in the small Indiana city that was now his home, Eric suddenly felt a pang of nostalgia for the way the dawn plays off the skyscrapers of Manhattan. In the next moment, though, he let out a sardonic laugh. The dawn light was not what he missed about New York, he realized. What he missed was the feeling of accomplishment that usually accompanied those sunrises.
An all-nighter in New York had meant hours of intense work with a cadre of committed, enthusiastic colleagues. Give and take. Humor. Progress. Here, so far anyway, that was unthinkable. As the director of strategy at FireArt, Inc., a regional glass manufacturer, Eric spent all his time trying to get his new team to make it through a meeting without the tension level becoming unbearable. Six of the top-level managers involved seemed determined to turn the company around, but the seventh seemed equally determined to sabotage the process. Forget camaraderie. There had been three meetings so far, and Eric hadn't even been able to get everyone on the same side of an issue.
Eric stepped inside his apartment and checked the clock: only three more hours before he had to watch as Randy Louderback, FireArt's charismatic director of sales and marketing, either dominated the group's discussion or withdrew entirely, tapping his pen on the table to indicate his boredom....
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