A month behind its target, Green Mountain Cellular Telephone (GMCT) is facing delays in opening their operations for customers. Erik Peterson, the general manager of GMCT comes across several major problems and looking for appropriate steps to be taken to address the key issues and to improve the organization to improve. Challenges Faced by Erik Peterson There are several challenges and hindrances faced by the general manager as he joins the organization in August. Having past experiences in radio communications and avionics equipment, Eric lacks any relevant experience in the cellular industry.
With the goals and objectives to meet, Peterson is under the pressure of meeting the expectations of Jenkins, the founder of CelluComm who is very demanding and has the history of eliminating people from the board when they failed to meet his expectations. First, much to his surprise, he was assigned to report to Jeff Hardy instead of Jenkins. Hardy lacks any system operating experience and consequently; was unable to provide him with any advice or guidance which was crucial for Peterson being an amateur in the cellular industry himself.
Related to this was the improper communication between CelluComm and GMCT as “what to report, who to report” was never communicated to Peterson in a formal way. Then there were several personal difficulties with many people within the organization. The most prominent in the list was Curt Andrews, the chief engineer with whom Peterson had difficulties to get along with. Technically he was sound, but did not have any administrative ability or relevant knowledge for the domain he was appointed to. This resulted in severe problems include the mismanagement of supplies.
Curt also had behavioral problems with some of the staff, including Peterson himself. Peterson also faced some technical challenges, for instance acquiring dual-mode radios, frequency reuse patterns, zoning problems, tower planning and placements etc. In addition to this there was marketing issues such as how to price and market their services; HR and management issues including hiring construction coordinator, shifting to new subcontractors, salary allocations, legal issues, and most importantly team management and team building. Analyzing Erik Peterson as a Leader
Despite the number of challenges faced by Peterson, there are number of occasions where he has proved his great decision making and problem insight capabilities. Some of these are highlighted below: 1. He identified the performance of their existing subcontractor was lagging and decided to terminate their contract with them. This idea received much resistance by the headquarters but Peterson remained firm on his ground and this was executed and GMCT tied up with new subcontractors. 2. He tried to reassign Curt and be replaced with a rather competitive person but this was denied.
He alternatively took the right approach to conduct one-on-one meetings with Curt to minimize the communication gap. 3. He also conducted weekly construction meeting so as to keep everybody aware of the status of their operations. This meeting would help in increasing the sense of participation and empower people in the organization. 4. In the past there had been crucial problems related to the supplies. Peterson identified this and created an inventory control reporting system. On the contrary, Peterson took some steps which showed lack of team building and managing skills.
Also there were some decision made haphazardly and in urgency without consulting the headquarters which shows Peterson lacks regularity in his decisions to some extent: 1. There are two cases where Peterson had given salary raise to subordinates which created chaos and had to cut off the salary later. It also affected the performance of the employees as it brought disappointment to those whose salary was cut off later and sense of deprivation among the rest. Inference: He should have consulted the headquarters in coordination with the HR department to allocate the right amount of salaries to avoid any chaos in the organization.
1. There were three new appointments in Peterson’s team. In addition to the problem with Melissa and Curt, some more individual problems emerged between Trevor and Curt, and Cantor and Green from LA; with Peterson. Inference: Although he has instigated many weekly meetings with everyone, with the tensions building up, he should have done more to relax the environment, for e. g. leisure activities or informal meet ups. Also there should be more informal meet ups between the headquarters CelluComm and the subsidiary GMCT.
From the previous analysis, we can derive key problems the organization is facing which obstruct its operations to be completed on time. We here analyze Peterson’s course of action and what he should have done in this situation: 1. Communication gap between CelluComm and GMCT, and within GMCT: There is lack of communication between the field workers with Curt and Erik and the information they receive is too delayed. In addition to this, there are no clear boundaries and authorities defined at each level.
“It just seemed to have occurred” (p.4) as it says in the case proves the irregularity of roles and responsibility in the organization. 1. Unhealthy relationships and inadequate team management among GMCT: Resistance of Curt on number of occasions, and seldom from other team members contributes to the fact that GMCT personnel like to work individually without any collaboration. 1. Inconsistent and vague CelluComm and GMCT organization Structures: The organization structure (Fig. A, p. 4) of CelluComm happens to be much unorganized. The Director Budgets & Plans Jeff Hardy reports to VP Operations, whereas GM GMCT reports to Director Budgets & Plans.
Hardy has been appointed to look into pre-operations as well apart from budgeting and planning, which in reality would not have been manageable considering the diversified challenges the subsidiary faces. Moreover Hardy lacks any system operating experience, which makes him even more inappropriate for this extra job. Also from GMCT organization chart (Fig B, p. 6), lays huge problem with Curt Andrews in the middle tier with at least four subdivisions reporting to him. Curt has been resistant to his tasks and some of his supervisors report direct to Peterson. What Should Have Been Done
Following are some suggested key steps which, if taken, would have added credibility to Erik and he would have gained most trust and reliance from the headquarters: 1. Peterson needs to communicate his decisions to CelluComm prior to taking actions accordingly. It would bring trust and reliability and will make the headquarters think they can count of him. Also it would eliminate the consequent problems that arise with Peterson’s urgency to make decisions. 2. Both Peterson and Hardy should involve in more discussions as Hardy lack in operation experience while Peterson does not have enough exposure in cellular industry.
They need to realize that such interaction would be beneficial to both of them. 3. Jenkins formidable personality repulses Peterson and Hardy to communicate with him openly, however they should step forward and escalate the high priority matter directly to Jenkins without any hesitation. 4. Peterson should have focused on the key strengths of his team and allocate their jobs accordingly. For example by teaming up Curt and Stevana he could achieve more of technical and managerial skill set to be more productive. Moreover, Trevor could have been assigned to take care of utility.
5. Peterson should have defined clear roles and responsibilities, especially to Curt in the one-on-one counseling sessions that he needs to report directly to him whereas his subordinates reports to him. He could have developed a cross-functional organization chart to increase coordination between the employees. Action Plan for Meeting Finally, for his meeting with Chip Knight, the following action plan is suggested: 1. Open flow of information and communication should be developed between headquarters and GMCT.
Escalation process should be revised and a system should be developed for optimal communication between the field workers, contractors and GMCT to minimize the delay and to maximize the efficiency of inventory management. 3. A task-force should be developed to address critical issue during these two months until the launch of service operations. This should comprise of Stevana from Construction, James from Marketing, Melissa from Accounting, and Todd from Radio Engineering, and led by Peterson himself. There is a chance of conflicting interests of Todd with Curt, also Curt may question his absence from the task force.