Type: Process Essays
Sample donated: Krista Bailey
Last updated: August 12, 2019
Terracog Global Positioning Systems Analysis An initial outlook into Terracogs operation shows a simple issue surrounding an Executive VP, Emma Richardson, working with her team to decide on the price of a new Global Positioning System. However, upon closer examination, the situation reveals substantial problems surrounding the decision-making process far beyond Emma Richardson. Problems From the very beginning, it is evident that there lacks a common goal among the management at Terracog.Each division within the company has differing opinions regarding the completion of the Project Aerial and is working towards a different genda and goal. Whereas the sales team wants to set the price of Aerial at $400 in an effort to compete with the largely successful Posthaste Birds’ product offering, the production team’s goal is to produce a high quality product, an objective that openly conflicts with the sales team’s goal of offering a competitively priced product.To continue, on the development side, the team is unenthusiastic about the idea of creating redesigned products altogether. The introduction of Project Aerial would mean the end for many creative projects the team is currently working on, and it ould mean the start of a project that the team knows should be built from scratch, but due to time constraints, is, instead, Just an inferior redesign.
Going a step further, it is not Just team goals that do not align with each other; individual goals at Terracog also seem to be clashing against organizational goals.Tony Barren, Terracogs Director of Production, has had a history of failing to meet objectives, and, this time around, he is unwilling to, “make that mistake again,” (p. 45). Reluctant to take any risks that could endanger his role at Terracog, Barren produces unsatisfactory esults, namely a Terracog product that is $100 more expensive but still inferior than its competitor and prevents the management from engaging in any form of decision- making. This conflict of interest also exists with other members of management.
Allen Roth, for example, is eager to prove his readiness and replace company co-founder Harold Whistler as VP of Design and Development. With members of management concerned about their performance and the consequential repercussions that could arise from a bad implementation, members of management stifle their creativity and consequently produce average and stagnant ideas. This inherent problem of effective decision-making is further intensified due to a huge lapse in leadership.The management at Terracog repeatedly fails to identify shifts in consumer demands and in doing so Jeopardizes the very quality that the company prides in its products. Despite the constant feedback management receives from sales regarding the impressive Birds’ nationwide sales and unmet customer demands, the management, too complacent with their historical product successes, simply attributes failure to unrelated and arbitrary factors (also a classic attribution error).
Furthermore, Emma Richardson, although Terracogs Executive VP, is unsure on how to promote effective discussion within her team and is also unable to bring her team to any decision standpoint. Looking into Exhibit 2, it can be assumed that Richardson has not had much experience leading teams. Although she was instrumental in shifting seem to have been completely transferrable to her current role in the organization.In addition, Richardson’s tenure as Executive VP has only lasted two months and, in a critical time such as the release of Project Aerial, her lack of leadership experience is contributing to the overall dampening of the situation. Last but not least, effective communication is also lacking at all levels of management. Many factors contribute towards this issue including, but not limited to, a larger than normal group size and miscommunication.
Assuming from Richardson’s task of moving “Terracog towards greater operation alignment and increasing cross-departmental cooperation,” (p. 4), Terracog already has a problem operating as a fluid team and lacks intradepartmental communication. To make matters worse, one notable difference between the Aerial project and other projects that have been previously executed at Terracog is the notable change in the group size, which, as pointed out by Richardson, could, “threaten the focus and thwart decision making,” (p.
44). Due to the larger than normal group size, necessary information may not be being properly delivered across departments and amount to further confusion among members.This is especially evident during meetings when attendees ask various questions many of which can be addressed before hand so that at meetings members can concentrate on driving solutions rather than complaining about problems. To continue, there are many instances where information is improperly communicated etween team members such as when Ed Pryor initially consents on a lower quality product as a tradeoff for a more feature-intensive product but at a later meeting complains about poor update speeds.Not only does this affect trust between team members, but also, it largely works to preclude any sort of decision-making.
Recommended Solution Although there is much to focus on, one step Terracog and Emma Richardson can take to greatly increase its effective communication and achieve greater organizational wellbeing is to work towards developing a more holistic cross- functional team.With a cross-functional team in place, different individuals with different skillsets will be able to effectively work together towards a common goal. Currently, Terracog’s leadership has been divided in a way that demotes the practice of information sharing between departments. On the other hand, implementing a cross-functional team would force information to be channeled to everyone, as one primary characteristic for cross-functional team decision-making is the requirement of information from all levels of management.The initial email from Roth to Richardson regarding the unlikelihood of meeting margins should be communication hared with all decision makers not Just Richardson, and doing so would initiate the decision-making process before the meetings even takes place. Further, having a cross-functional team would promote clarity at all levels of organization and encourage participation from all levels of management.In the case of Richardson, her previous experience in production would be key in resolving cost increases related to production issues and other grey areas such as hardware and software costs would be more clear and understandable to other team members.
To continue, cross-functional teams work well with bigger group sizes as well, so implementing an peration such as Project Aerial would greatly increase the likelihood of project could cause greater harm than good as cross functional teams are more disorganized than traditional teams and could result in major inefficiencies due to a lack of coordination among projects.Lastly, in an effort to promote improved decision- making and work towards a more conscientious leadership, Terracog can also look into establishing a 360-degree feedback program. With such a program in place, the management at Terracog will be able to effectively guage where they are lacking and what are their strengths. Just as in cross-functional teams, this feedback program will also promote the sharing of information and ideas among people at various levels in the organization.Because this technique calls people to make and receive systematic feedback, it would be instrumental in further providing clarity in situations such as Project Aerial where many are confused on plausible solutions. If the Terracog sales force would have have been able to provide Terracog President Rich Fiero with feedback regarding the potential consequences of his inaction to move forward with satellite-image supported maps, Fiero could have possibly moved Project Aerial into xistence much earlier.Regardless of it’s benefits, Terracog should to keep in mind that a 360-degree feedback system can be dangerous if people are too transparent to the things they want to say and can lead to frayed relationships.
Further, poorly implemented 360-degree feedback systems can cause conflicts if information is miscommunicated due to individuals not understanding how to properly provide feedback. Still, with the current state of operations at Terracog combined with management that is quite complement and in need of a sound wakeup call, such a system would far outweigh the costs.