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Wolfgang Keller at Konigsbrau TAK (A) Case Solution
Wolfgang Keller, a 34-year-old Harvard graduate has managed to gain the reputation of a skilled manager. He is currently posted as the manager of Ukraine subsidiary of a German beer company, where he is facing serious managerial challenges because of his subordinate Brodsky, who despite being talented and qualified is failing to meet his goals. Moreover, his style of managing things is very different from that of Keller. While Keller prefers being friends with clients and staff, Brodsky maintains a distance and hence remains professional with them. Now, given this scenario, Keller must decide what effective strategy of dealing with Brodsky is. Also, he should consider his own role in affecting Brodsky’s performance.
Following questions are answered in this case study solution
What is your analysis of the situation facing Keller as he returns to Athens?
What is your assessment of Petrou's performance? Please be specific.
How effective has Keller been as a coach to Petrou? Why? Could you have done better? Why? How?
What are the underlying causes of his performance problems? What actions should Keller take upon returning to Athens? Be specific.
What are the implications for Keller's development as a leader?
Case Analysis for Wolfgang Keller at Konigsbrau TAK (A)
1. What is your analysis of the situation facing Keller as he returns to Athens?
On his way back, there are numerous decisions that Keller must make. He had been successful in turning around two companies, but this time the challenges require his leadership skills rather than managerial skills. He is facing a tough time with one of his subordinates because of the difference in the managerial abilities of both of them. As per the case study, Keller must deal with Brodsky and prepare his appraisal in such a way that would neither make Brodsky lose his interest in the company nor give him a false signal of his better performance. However, a deeper analysis shows that the major issue here is not of the appraisal of Brodsky but of the different leadership styles of both the managers. Keller being young and energetic prefers leading people by building personal connections with them. Brodsky, being ten years older than Keller, has a more classical way of dealing with people and keeps personal and professional connections separate. While Keller likes taking immediate action and being flexible to the changing environment, Brodsky takes action slowly and is less prone to changes. Because of the difference in managerial abilities, both the managers are facing a tough time coordinating with each other.
2. What is your assessment of Brodsky's performance? Please be specific.
The excellent reputation of Brodsky as a manager was one of the major reasons Keller hired him for the company. However, with the passage of time did Keller realize that Brodsky’s skills, while being excellent in the field, are more suited for established multinational rather than a company like Konigsbrau. The assessment of Brodsky’s performance shows his inability to act quickly. When Brodsky was given the task of reorganizing sales force, he did it in an excellent way. Initially, Keller too was impressed, but his strategy, seeing the amount of time he was taking to implement it, Keller had to intervene to speed it up. Another major issue that Keller had with Brodsky was his inability to meet deadlines. As pointed out in the case, there were numerous incidents where Keller had to step in because Brodsky believed meeting deadlines was not possible. Lastly, Keller believed that Brodsky’s ability was largely affected by his inability to adapt to the latest techniques of leadership. He preferred sticking to classic ways of leadership where personal and professional connections were kept separate. Moreover, he maintained a distance from his colleagues as well as distributors. His inability to interact freely with people was creating a problem for the company as he was heading the commercial department of the company. Because of all these reasons, Keller believed Brodsky as, not the best fit for the company like Konigsbrau were interacting with people was an essential part and parcel of the job description.
3. How effective has Keller been as a coach to Brodsky? Why? Could you have done better? Why? How?
Brodsky’s inability to manage the team effectively can be directly related to Keller’s incapability to coach him effectively as a leader and to help him adapt to the new ways of leadership. Keller had the experience of turning two companies, and this has established him as an excellent leader. His failure to deal with Brodsky is because of his lack of ability to delegate responsibilities. Both the companies, he had turned around were small ventures, and he was directly responsible for them. Brodsky, on the other hand, has the experience of working in multinationals where delegation is required for the smooth performance of the company as a whole. Because of this difference, both the leaders are finding difficult to get along with each other. Furthermore, Keller being young and energetic is more prone to changes and immediate responses to them as compared to Brodsky who being old takes time to adjust. Keller has failed to understand these two differences and hence it has resulted in his failure to coach Brodsky effectively.
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