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The Team That Wasn't Harvard Case Study Solution

Solution Id Length Case Author Case Publisher
1418 1625 Words (5 Pages) Suzy Wetlaufer Harvard Business School : 94612X
This solution includes: A Word File A Word File

One of the most important aspects of team management is that goals must be defined clearly. There should be interdependence among all members of the team and the objectives must be clear and concise. Once the objectives are set, they must be conveyed to all members of the team so that they can stick to their roles without jumping beyond their specified tasks. In the case, one person i.e. Randy kept intervening into other people’s tasks which led to severe crisis and disintegration. It forced people to walk away from the team. 

Following questions are answered in this case study solution:

  1. What factors have brought about the current crisis in the team – which is that most members are ready to walk away from the team? Who or what is ultimately responsible?

  2. As a team leader, how well has Eric Holt managed his team thus far? In what way(s) has he contributed to the team’s current problems?

  3. What should Eric Holt do to get this team back on track? Provide precise and actionable recommendations that would position the team to perform efficiently. Be sure to explain the rationale (logic) for your recommendations.

Case Study Questions Answers

• Lack of leadership by Eric

One of the important reasons for the fall of the team was that Eric's poor management and leadership gave Randy an advantage and provided him the chance to interfere as an informal leader or manager. Furthermore, Eric himself was not a very good team leader. He failed to keep together the targets, regulations and decisions of the team. The worst thing was that he did not discourage or resolve the issues that arose. Rather, he was a silent spectator and saw the problems growing in front of his eyes. However, being the formal leader of the team, it was Eric's duty to manage the team with all he could. Because the role of a team leader is pivotal when it comes to managing, supporting and implementing the new ways and strategies of work by modifying the old ones.

• Lack of Group Norms

Another problem that led to all of the crisis was the absence of norms or regulations among the group. No special customs were formed among the group by any means which resulted in the poor performance and strange behaviors of the group members. On the other hand, Randy took advantage of all this trouble and used his set of norms and their implementation to take control of the situation.

• Lack of Motivation and Sense of Commitment

The third problem was that Eric did not chalk out any explicit expectations or consequences to Randy or other team members. This poor management turned out to be the base of non-committal and gave rise to the lack of motivation among the group members. All this fuss created further problems for Eric. It was possible that Eric could ask fair questions to his team members, particularly Randy, in order to establish his credibility like Peter Isenberg and Winona Finch did. It is necessary for a leader to motivate and empower the group members if he wants them to perform diligently but Eric failed to do so which led to disintegrations, conflicts, and failure.

• Status

In the end, it was seen that Randy maintained a higher position or status in the group which was based on his past success as well as his position. He was regarded by the president as this behavior and thus, he used to disregard and disrespect the opinions and sentiments of other group members.

2. As a team leader, how well has Eric Holt managed his team thus far? In what way(s) has he contributed to the team’s current problems?

Eric did not prove to be a good team leader thus leading to issues and conflicts. His presence did not solve the current problems. In fact, every meeting brought new difficulties which he was unable to resolve. Leadership can be of two types i.e. supervisory or self-managed. In this case, Eric failed to self-manage himself as a good leader and therefore, supervisory forces spurred up. Good teamwork involves initial planning, defining proper roles, monitoring and other similar tasks which were not properly done by Eric. Another important task of team leader is to create motivation and shared commitment among the team members which could not be set up by Eric. Thus, he contributed to team's problems instead of solving them.

It was a failure on the part of Eric that he could not apply the Four Frame Model for the redesigning of organizations. According to the Four Frame Model, the direction of a business is specified by the ability and influence of its leader to alter moods, evoke images and to clarify and establish targets and desires. Hence, it was possible for Eric to use this model in the light of a proper strategy and approach in order to change things according to the circumstances and the situation.

After a detailed analysis of the case, it was much easier to provide an explanation for the cohesiveness and integrity of Eric and his team. It was observed that Eric and his team members could hardly work together properly, and they were so disintegrated that they did not seem to be a team. It felt like they were a group of individuals with no harmony or leadership. The team had no one to lead them from the front and to tackle their problems and provide solutions to them. The team members worked individually, and they had no sense of collective thinking or teamwork. They did not analyze their success as a team. Hence, they were only a group of people and not a team with no leader at all. This caused them to fail.

For the success of some organization, schedule for deliverables play a significant role. In this case situation, Eric has not fixed any interim deliverables that would have facilitated with appropriate decision making. Similarly, this would have assisted to raise a sense of achievement between the new team participants, something that would have benefited in building confidence, spirit, and team morale.

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