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More Homework!

Hello again Chef Fan’s! Once again it is time for me to post homework from class, so much fun to read right? Yeah I know they are really not that much fun to read but hey if you don’t like it then don’t read it….

It’s a “Dog-Eat-Dog World”….Or Is It?

Case Study Parts 1 & 2

Part 1: “Being responsible sometimes means pissing people off.” -General Colin Powell

Good leadership involves responsibility to the welfare of the group, which means that some people will get angry at your actions and decisions. It’s inevitable, if you’re honorable. Trying to get everyone to like you is a sign of mediocrity: You’ll avoid the tough decisions, you’ll avoid confronting the people who need to be confronted, and you’ll avoid offering differential rewards based on differential performance because some people might get upset. Ironically, by procrastinating on the difficult choices, by not trying to get anyone mad, and by treating everyone equally “nicely” regardless of their contributions, you’ll simply ensure that the only people that you’ll wind up angering are the most creative and productive people in the organization.

That said…

Part 2: Application

Suzy parker had been working at the Concord Conference Center for about 2 years. It was a wonderful place to work as the facilities were state-of-the-art and her fellow employees were very competent. Because of the nature of the conference center business, she found that she worked primarily Monday through Friday and seldom at night. She spent the first year of her employment in the front office training rotation and had become familiar with the operations of the front desk, guest relations and reservations. For the last nine months she had been working in the Sales department and had reached a point where she was actively involved in developing and making presentations to potential clients. Her background in statistics and computers had prepared her particularly well for this new position.

Suzy spent the last several weeks doing research and preparing a presentation to the executive board of a medium-sized manufacturing firm. Concord was attempting to get this company to sign a multi-year contract to use the facility for its management development training programs. If Concord was successful, the contract would be worth several hundred thousand dollars. The presentation, however, did not go as Suzy expected. She had two major complaints. She felt her work had not been well represented, first, in that she had not received credit for what she had done and, second, that Evelyn the Sales Manager who had actually made the presentation, had altered a lot of her material and falsified some information.

Several days after the presentation, Suzy approached Evelyn to discuss the situation. When Suzy entered Evelyn’s office she found that Evelyn was excited about getting the account and Evelyn initiated their conversation by congratulating Suzy for her hard work. Although Evelyn was excited and was attempting to make Suzy feel good about the success, this only made Suzy feel more uncomfortable about what she had to say. Evelyn was surprised to learn that Suzy had come to see her about a problem and was even more surprised that the problem was about the new account.

Suzy began by asking why some of the information she had worked so hard on researching had either been changed or left out of the presentation entirely. Evelyn responded by asking, “we wanted to get the account didn’t we?” This made Suzy very uncomfortable, as in a discussion prior to the presentation Evelyn had assured her that everything in Suzy’s report was right on point and that no changes were necessary. Suzy said that she felt it was dishonest to the customer to falsify information, but Evelyn reverted to her previous argument that her actions were in the best interests of the company. Evelyn did not understand Suzy’s disappointment, because they had gotten the account, and replied simply, “it’s a dog-eat-dog world out there.”

As Evelyn continued to praise Suzy for all the hard work she had done, Suzy felt that this was an opportune time to question her about the lack of credit she received at the presentation. Evelyn explained that she did not get the recognition because she was her subordinate and that, “it simply doesn’t work that way.” She informed Suzy that the higher she gets in the company hierarchy, the more credit she will get, no matter who does the work.

Still annoyed by the situation, Suzy requested that any changes or “falsifications” in her work not be made in the future or, at least, if they were, that she would like to be informed. She told Evelyn that she would feel better if she was able to expect any changes, rather than having them surprise her, and asked if they could meet prior to the next presentation to go over the material. Although Evelyn noted that the word “falsification” was much too strong, she agreed to meet and notify Suzy of any changes the day before the next presentation.

  1. 1.       Who was right in this situation? Is it important? Why?

Without question Suzy was in the right in this situation. Suzy bring up some very important points with talking with Evelyn, and she is right that it was a “Falsification.” Evelyn present false date to the client that could be found with independent research and this could cause a breach in contract or cause the client to go with another company who can be honest with them. What Evelyn did also undermines the trust she may have had with Suzy and other employees. Evelyn’s statement about the higher up you get in the corporate ladder the more of the credit you get to claim is sadly true, but this doesn’t make it right. A good leader would still share success and credit Suzy with putting together the figures even if she wasn’t present in the presentation.

  1. 2.       Do you think Evelyn was trying to apply the premise presented in Part 1? Could she have done it better?

I do think that Evelyn was trying to be “friends” with Suzy, but sadly she didn’t really do a very good job at it. First of all she could have tried better to be “friends” and actually give credit to Suzy for the work she did. However on the other hand with the statement she made about the higher up you go in a company, she was very much not trying to be “friendly.” If she wanted to better apply the premise from part 1 what she should have done is not apply it at all. The premise itself points out that this is a very weak and mediocre leadership style that goes to show that when it is applied like in the reading it fails.

  1. 3.       How often do think this type of incident occurs?

Sadly I know from my own personal experience that this type of incident happens all the time.  In the 3 years that I worked for T-mobile I saw situations like this happen at least once or twice a week. I have also experienced being given credit for not really doing anything on a project. Yes I was the team leader but it was my team who did all the work and I only helped them when they needed it.

  1. 4.       What are some of the possible “costs” involved, both tangible and intangible?

I talked about it a bit before but one of the intangible “costs” is the loss of any trust that Suzy may have had in Evelyn as a leader. One of the more tangible costs that could come about is what I also talked about before with a breach in contract from the clients point if they ever find out that they made a deal biased on falsified information. I personally don’t know what Evelyn was thinking when she made the changes and falsified the date, because this is a very sever breach in business ethics and could be grounds for termination depending on what comes about because of it.  If she was my employee and I found out about what happened I would terminate Evelyn for this reason, because I wouldn’t be able to trust her myself to not do this again.

  1. 5.       Discuss or describe a similar situation that you may have encountered or been witness to in YOUR environment. Feel free to draw on work experience, personal interactions or educational incidences. In the interest of privacy, and to protect the innocent, please omit identifying information.

While I worked at T-mobile I was actually in both Suzy and Evelyn position. I worked as both a customer service representative and a new hirer trainer while at T-mobile and as a rep there where many times when I would do something that would make my team look good but the team leader would get the credit. As a new hirer trainer I was the team leader so if one of the new hirers I was training did something that made the team look good I was the one who got the credit because I “trained” them to do that.

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