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Are You Ready for Leadership? – Part 2

LeadersRead Part 1 of this case study for background information.

The Team’s Next Steps

When we left off with the case study, the team felt they had to take action. The team members agreed that they would talk with Allan’s boss. They felt this project was too important to the company to allow it to fail because of the inability of Allan to lead the team to success.

The team prepared for the meeting, highlighting key points they wanted to share with the VP of Product Development. The points included,

  • Allan was uninterested in collaborating with the team.
  • Solutions to issues that Allan was pushing forward did not align with the goal of the initiative and did not include input from team members.
  • Allan did not rely on the expertise of the team members. The team members wanted to remind Allan’s boss that they were pulled together specifically because of their expertise in a number of areas necessary for innovation.
  • The team distrusted Allan based on his comments about James. They wanted to share with the VP of Product Development the comments Allan made about James and why they felt they comments were inappropriate.
  • The team felt that Allan was immature overall and not seasoned enough to lead such a complex initiative.

Prior to the Meeting with Allan’s Boss

Prior to the meeting, the team let Allan’s boss know that they had concerned with Allan leading the team and wanted to share those concerns. The team’s goal was to develop a solution that would work to ensure success of the team’s initiative. They wanted the VP of Product Development to provide them guidance on how to best move forward. Their goal, frankly, was to replace Allan as the team lead; but they had some other ideas should Allan’s boss not be receptive to that idea.

The Meeting with Allan’s Boss

Ten representatives from the team met with Allan’s boss, the VP of Product Development. They kept their focus on the impact to the initiative so it was focused on the bottom line rather than appearing to be primarily a personality conflict. During the meeting, the team outlined their concerns with how Allan was leading the team. They mentioned the comments he made in his email and shared that with the VP of Product Development. They noted that such comments pointed to a lack of maturity which would not be conducive to Allan leading the team. They noted that they perceived that Allan did not have the experience necessary to lead such a complex, high profile initiative. The team offered three potential solutions to the situation:

  • Have leadership taken over by a member of the leadership team (executive sponsor) and retain Allan in place as a member of the team
  • Replace Allan with another individual who has led complex initiatives in the past and have Allan leave the initiative altogether
  • Provide Allan a co-lead that may help him to grow into the role.

The team commented that they chose not to speak with Allan directly because they did not feel comfortable doing so. They also felt that the importance of the project required immediate action and such action could only be taken by a senior leader in the organization. The team felt strongly that they would have difficult working with Allan given his initial approach with the team. They admitted they lacked respect of Allan because of his approach.
Allan’s boss, the VP of Product Development, thanked the team for their time, their commitment to the initiative and their comments and suggestions. He was going to be meeting with Allan and would then schedule a meeting between the team and Allan.

Stay tuned for Part 3 – The VP’s Meeting with Allan and Next Steps with the Team

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