Leadership Case Study

More specifically, Charlie must announce that his administration will neither reward nor tolerate the “CYA” approach to collaboration in which the principal focus of each business unit head is to make sure that any blame or responsibility is automatically shifted to other business units practically irrespective of any interest in solving the problems, wherever they originated. Charlie must establish an organizational culture of responsibility, in connection with which he must announce that demonstrating the ability and willingness to recognize and correct problems will be rewarded while defensiveness and deliberate attempts to focus blame elsewhere will no longer be tolerated.

In the immediate period, Charlie should abandon the consensus approach to decision-making and take on the decision-making role of his predecessor. He should schedule private meetings with each business unit head with the instructions that the only topic of discussion will be ways to contribute to the solution of the problem within each respective business unit. During those meetings, no discussion will be permitted that pertains to any other business unit whatsoever. Charlie should announce that what will be rewarded will be business-unit-specific solutions and not arguments that fault lies elsewhere.

What could Charlie do to improve the performance of the team in the future?

Charlie must establish a culture of openness and communication by announcing that any criticism of other business units be voiced only with the heads of those business units present.

Charlie should also abandon any practice of responding passively (such as by feigning a deaf ear to complaints and hoping that the individuals will get the hint and stop complaining. He must use his authority to explicitly prohibit that sort of destructive communications while encouraging productive communications and honest acknowledgement of problems and responsibilities on the part of all parties. Finally, Charlie should announce that business unit leaders who wish to become part of the management decision-making team must do so by demonstrating their ability and willingness to examine their own possible responsibility for problems. Those who can do that may earn their right to participate in management decisions once again; those who persist in merely calling attention to the limits of their units responsibilities and frame all problems as being attributable to the mistakes of others will not be invited to participate in future management decisions and may not have a long future within the new organizational culture of shared responsibility and collaboration at Chattanooga..

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