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The case here is about an individual named Alex Sander, who is 32 years old and an MBA graduate from MIT, is the new product manager in the Toiletries Division of Landon Care Products Inc. Alex is hard working yet narcissist and strives for perfection in his job not realizing that everybody’s capacity for work is different. Alex is basically a workaholic who trusts people to get the work done they have been asked for in any way possible and is not afraid to push them to find out what they’re thinking. There are instances in the case where Alex loses his cool over people including his superiors and rebukes one of the most experienced people in the company. Alex is also hampered by the fact that he has to go through a 360° review from his boss, Sam Glass, as a part of the company policy as he feels it is a waste of time as he needs to focus on his new product launch Nourish which is the most challenging marketing assignment he’s ever had. Sander is not afraid to switch his work field as he believes it to be fine as long as he has a certain degree of success. The ultimate question of the case is what should Sam Glass do about his star employee? How can he, as a manager, channel Alex’s talent and ensure success for the product group and for Alex as an individual?
BACKGROUND OF THE CASE
This case exhibits various events of a particular working day in Alex Sander’s life and how he faces them. Alex is a 32 year old MBA grad from MIT and is working as the youngest and newest Product Manager in the Toiletries Division of Landon Care Products Inc. Alex is a highly talented individual, a fast learner, has entrepreneurial skills with extensive market and product knowledge, is selfconfident, and self-driven. On the other hand, Alex is immature emotionally and aloof from his colleagues at work. The case begins with Alex’s workout at 5.25 AM with his neighbor. Alex expresses his dislike for the 360° performance review which he would be receiving that day from his boss, Sam Glass. He feels the review is a waste of time as he needs every moment to focus on his new product launch Nourish. At 9 AM he is in office. He rebukes Betsy Garrison, Sr. Sales Analyst in Marketing, for her inability to show results according to Alex’s expectations and takes charge of Garrison’s task in his own hands. He is interviewed for his Alumni Magazine on “High Potential” product managers. He informs the interviewer of his achievements and responsibilities at Landon. He expresses his opinion of an effective Product Manager.
he was working with Barnhill and Cooper Advertising Agency.At 10. Alex is a hard working professional yet has a sort of machiavellist and narcissist personality and also is mercurial. Glass discusses about Alex with his colleague. and is undaunted by any new challenges. He doesn’t care about the work load given to him or the work load given by him to the individuals under him. SAM GLASS Sam Glass is the Product Group Supervisor at LANDON CARE PRODUCTS. In the end. is self-confident and is appreciative. He is aggressive. Sam seems to be the type of person who talks to the point and doesn’t beat around the bush. He is committed to his work. It is left in Glass’ hands to reap Alex’s talent for the betterment and success of Lander. They discuss about the brand‘s market strategy to score over the competitors. Glass tries to convince him the effectiveness and importance of this review while Alex is least concerned about it. Glass backs Alex very well in his job but believes Alex needs . Alex’s boss. He is a workaholic and believes in utilizing every second for work and in the process doesn’t really care about the 360° review that he has to go through. They discuss about the 360° performance review. Alex decides not to read the review. Glass points out some weaknesses of Alex and suggests him to go through the feedback completely. Alex assigned tasks to every team member and expects them to finish the tasks within the given timeline. He is asked about the review. Apart from his poor tolerance levels and narcissism. He explores the career options available to him—either continue working in Landon or start up his own business where he would have the sole authority of all affairs. CHARACTER SKETCH ALEX SANDER Alex is a 32-year old MBA graduate from MIT who happens to be the youngest product manager at LANDON CARE PRODUCTS which is a cosmetic product company located in Connecticut. Sam hired Alex as he could feel that Alex could accelerate the product launches despite knowing that he could create some sort of disturbances in the team. At 2 PM. In the end. At 9 PM Alex is at work-out with his neighbor. He knows that Alex is a star performer and Landon needs him. Alex enters the conference room for a meeting with the Nourish team. Sam Glass. Earlier.30 AM he meets his boss. he has what it takes to be a good team leader. He is not afraid to hurt someone’s feelings in order to get the job done.
Some of the plausible solutions are: 1. He believes money and compensation are the primary aspects on which a person’s work is judged. Machiavellism – Alex is a classic machiavellist. Alex could be told to undergo a self-evaluation test in the direct supervision of a psychoanalyst. . Alex could be told to undergo some leadership training as a part of his job so that he could learn some people skills and develop some key leadership skills that he lacks. 3.to work upon his team skills as he believes Alex is well respected but is not seen as a leader. Lone ranger – Alex is rather self-driven and lacks motivational skills. This can make him see his own faults and limitations and can help him improve upon the same although he may consider this move as a waste of his time. On the down-side he could see this as something that keeps him from doing his work more efficiently. 4. 2. And is willing to switch jobs for the same reason. Alex is also a bit too honest in critical assessments of others and doesn’t take a broader and more mature view of people. Inflexible at work – Alex believes he’s not worried about promotions as long as he has a degree of success in his job. Also he controls every minute detail and doesn’t leave out a chance of belittling others. Although he is intimidated by Alex. He undermines a lot of people whenever he comes up with the right answer without involving them. Narcissism – Alex doesn’t care about the feedback he gets and feels that the 360° performance review is a waste of time. The main issue Sam Glass is facing in this case is that how can he channel the talent of Alex Sander in such a way that is beneficial to both. MAIN ISSUES 1. PLAUSIBLE SOLUTIONS For such situations it is difficult to find a win-win situation and hence all the plausible solutions may be perceived in the negative context by the protagonist. he wants Alex to continue working for him at Landon. Arrogance – Alex believes he’s better than everyone else and is really off-putting. He’s not willing to take others’ advice and believes his way is the right way. 5. the company and Alex himself. 2. He is willing to go any lengths to get things done from his side and from the people he has allotted work to and he doesn’t really care about people’s feelings and comfort levels if it gets the job done.
Some of the critical learnings from this case are: 1. 2. A good manager never measures someone’s work-rate in terms of money or compensation as it is not the only measure. A manager is not only respected but is viewed as a leader. He is a part of a much larger picture and shouldn’t be selfcentered. 4. lead the team and not be a lone ranger. That way he would respect the outcome of the test and can have a sense of realization of his own faults. 6. this move could hurt his ego and he may leave Landon for a company that he thinks suits him better. It is a classic case which can be found in a majority of the organizations. MANAGERIAL LEARNINGS This situation is not one of its kind. Narcissism has no place in a manager’s personality.3. Managers have to tackle such situations on a day-to-day basis. It helps one analyze one’s own behavior and belief system. The best possible solution: There may not be a win-win solution for such case but the best possible solution would be that Alex could undergo a self-evaluation test under a psychoanalyst he thinks is genuine. . He has to respect others’ opinions and feelings and not “steamroll” over them to achieve a particular goal. 5. Another solution that could be considered is to move Alex from the managerial position to a regular team member so as to improve his team skills and make him realize his own disregards towards his fellow teammates. On the negative note. A good manager is a good listener and is always open to feedbacks. A good manager is a good motivator. 3. A good manager has to work in a team.
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