The case throws light on the day of Ed Worthy who is the General Manager at Techno Greats. Ed is shown to be an extremely dedicated and motivated employee with a brilliant career spanning ten years with Techno Greats. He started his career as a researcher in Vancouver and in the next three years, he was promoted as a lab supervisor. Two years post that, he became assistant to manager and from the last one and a half year he has been serving as an assistant to GM in Calgary.
The case explains how Ed has been unable to work on an investment and stock option idea conceived two years ago. He aspires to provide for a simpler procedure of recording numerous blood tests and finalize a new courier partner for the firm. He put these three things on his agenda for the day. However from the time he entered the office till he left late, his plate was completely full and found himself too busy to focus on either of these tasks. His time was spent in discussing brochures with Jean, communicating with Jill, taking feedback from every supervisor, helping Jon find extra storage space for chemicals, reviewing a researcher, discussing the new marketing plan with the marketing director, approving purchase orders, analyzing regulatory changes with health and safety supervisor, sorting enquiries from hospitals and medical schools, handling few HR concerns, answering Vice president’s questions on the launch of phase 2 trials, attending a number of conference calls and similar planning and organizing activities for different departments of the organization.
On his way back, he has been frustrated for not being able to work according to the agenda and realized that the strategically inclined tasks are taking a back seat owing to other small projects as mentioned above (Azanza, 2013). This makes him feel that he is unable to justify the role of an executive in the firm (Nooraie, 2012). Another thing which has been bothering him is the lack of time that he is devoting to his family.
From the case study, three major problems have been brought to notice:
- Not satisfied: One of the biggest problems expressed in the case is Ed’s dissatisfaction with his own performance. Often enough emphasis is not paid to job satisfaction but it is a very important aspect in an employee’s career (Goodwin, 2017). McClelland provided a motivational theory laying emphasis on three important needs of every employee. Need for power, need for achievement and need for affiliation (McClelland, 2015). In this case we can see that Ed’s need for power and achievement is satisfied but his need for achievement leaves him dissatisfied.
Ed feels that he is not working to his full potential. He strongly believes that the major contribution of an executive level employee is through innovation and he is unable to deliver that. And this is a major source of demotivation (McClelland, 2013).
- Lack of work life balance: Ed is usually the last employee to leave from office and reaches office early. Every day he is putting in extra hours at work which is affecting his time with his family (Isaacs, 2016). He understands his obligations towards them and finds it unfair that he is unable to spend time with them. This shows a lack of work life balance which is a major source of demotivation for employees and can adversely impact employee performance in the longer run (Wiese, 2015).
- Inability to justify the role of an executive: A Manager has to be two efficient and effective. Efficiency refers to doing things right whereas effectiveness refers to doing the right things (Tones, 2013). No doubt Ed is efficient with his work but he is not effective as most of the strategic tasks have taken a backseat in his day. By this logic, he is not doing justice to his role as an executive (Millan, 2013).
It is slightly difficult to put a finger at the root cause for all these problems as usually such major problems are caused by two or three combining factors. However, it can be noticed in the case that Firstly Ed is unable to prioritize his work and focus on more important tasks. He is a top level executive and it is imperative that managers decide which work requires their attention.
A top level manager requires conceptual skills because he is hired to perform strategically important tasks. Second cause behind these problems is excessive dependency of other employees on Ed due to him being the point of contact for everything. The case indicates that Ed is contacted for brochures, to help find temporary storage, to discuss poor performance of a non-managerial employee, to decide work timings of a field placement student and to check stock etc. This is a major issue as every department considers Ed a one stop destination for all their problems. This high level of dependency is making Ed unable to focus and prioritize his work (Nagano, 2014).
- Prioritizing work: Ed must focus on prioritizing his work and making a planner on a daily basis. He must sincerely allocate a certain part of his time to these strategic decisions and plans (Barak, 2013). However, this does not mean that he should spend more time in office but rather plan his day to the best of his abilities.
- More points of contact: Every department must be given a point of contact who would be the sole decision make for that department. All these new leaders could in turn report to Ed about the daily workings of their department. This will help in saving time as now they can meet with Ed and discuss department problems rather than different people meeting him at different times over different issues. Secondly, this will make things more organized and the organization culture would also become more professional.
- Clarity of role: For an executive level employee, the top management should clarify roles. This is how everyone in the organization would know the exact job that needs to be done by every employee (Nancarrow, 2013). Currently, Ed is doing haphazard works of various departments and this leaves him no time to do what he was hired for. This clarity of role and a crisp job description will also help him prioritize his work
Option 1: Prioritize work:
a. Strategic tasks would be completed
b. Increased efficiency
c. Saves time
d. Organized work
a. Small tasks may remain undone
b. Might bring about a cultural change as currently everyone goes to him.
Option 2: More points of contact
a. Organized work
b. Relieves Ed of clerical work
c. Prioritization of work
d. More leadership roles
e. Saves time
f. Increased efficiency
a. Training of new leaders will take time.
b. Cultural change
c. Implementation of this strategy will take time as it is a long term strategy
d. Increased costs in the short term.
Option 3: Clarity of role
a. Priority of work
b. Increased efficiency
c. Saves time – no wastage of time on unimportant work
d. Strategic tasks would gain priority
e. Ed’s performance would be judged based on executive tasks
a. Small tasks will remain undone
b. Will create confusion
c. Ed has a personal connect with employees
d. Who will do the tasks if not Ed.
e. Reduced team work
After in detail scrutinizing the three options presented above, it has been noted that increasing points of contact in the office will help the most and is the best way forward. This will begin by creating more leadership roles in the organization, training them and ensuring that they are the best decision makers of their particular field (Bryman, 2013). This will have three major advantages:
- Ed will be relieved of clerical work and can hence focus on more strategic work.
- Other individuals will be given an opportunity of growth by giving them more responsibilities (Day, 2014).
- Since employees would be selected from within the organization, there will be no additional cost (Hargreaves, 2014).
- The very first things to do will be to decide how many leadership positions should be introduced. This would depend on the department, the strength of each department and how much work goes into managing each department.
Time taken: 3-4 business days.
- The second step would be to review performance of employees of all departments. This would provide with an idea about who would be the best suited candidates for these leadership roles. This step would end with making a shortlist of employees with three candidates from each department who are not only the best performer of their department but also possess accurate managerial and leadership qualities (Khanna, 2014).
Time Taken: one month or 24-26 business days
- Next step would be to conduct interviews of these candidates, know them better, and test their knowledge and ability to work in difficult situations by giving them real life tasks. This would help in selecting the best of the three from each department.
Time Taken: One month
- Lastly final selection of employees would be done who would be offered these leadership positions and will now become the points of contact for their department.
Time taken: one week or 5 business days
- Once the candidates have been selected as leaders, they will be given on the job training which will give them a real picture of what has to be done in the days to come (Rajiani, 2013).
Time taken: Two months
- Lastly when the candidates have been selected and appointed as leaders and given training for the same, their contact details would be spread across the organization and everyone would be made aware of this new organizational change. This would ensure that now anyone who wishes to resolve any query from a particular department, he or she will directly contact the leader of that department.
Once the decision has been implemented, it is imperative that the success of this decision is accurately measured. The following steps will be taken to identify the success or failure of this decision:
- Time devoted to strategic tasks: The very purpose of going through this procedure was to ensure that Ed has more time to accomplish strategic tasks. Hence the success of this plan would be measured by how much time is Ed able to devote to these executive level tasks as compared to before this was implemented.
- Ease of communication: As long as Ed was the center point of communication for everyone, he was managing the communication really well. The biggest worry associated with this decision was if the new leaders will be able to manage as well as Ed. This can be seen in the ease with which communication is taking place in the organization. If there are no barriers to communication and work is going on smoothly then it can be assumed that the new plan was a success.
- Besides this, Ed will be receiving continuous reports from the leaders appointed by him about the functioning of their respective departments. If no problems are there then it is ensured that the plan implemented is a success.
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