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Leadership Challenge of Jose


1. What are the factors that Jose should keep in mind while taking a
decision on his future relationship with KPM?
Ans. While taking a decision on his future relationship with KPM, certain things
which Jose should keep in mind is the current situation of the company. As the
company is doing well with respect to its past results but when compared to the
other companies in the same industry, it still needs to cope up. The company
needs to change some aspects related to the current market condition, changes
in technology, processes and raw materials all of which create economic value.
Also he needs to think about whether he is willing to travel to and fro now, as he
is quite aged now and his family stays in US but for work he has to travel all the
way to India, so he needs to decide whether he is ready to take that much strain
and travel for this business.
Also there are quite a lot of complexities in running a family business. He needs
to take care of the disputes arising in the family due to the business. So he needs
to decide whether he can handle all the pressure from both the sides or not.
He also needs to think about the competition and how it would impact his
company. Most of the companies are adopting the latest technology and
collaborating with small scale industries to increase production and economies of
scale. Although he has bought new machines, but the labour needs to be trained
for that and it would take them some time to adopt it.
Also he needs to think about Social Sensitivity and social networking, his
relationship with the place and people living there. If he doesnt continue with
this relationship, the people who trusts him and rely on him would be
disappointed. Also this place has given him a lot of experience due to which he
had been successful in his life. All these things need consideration because being
a leader he cannot ignore the values he had grown up with.
2. What are the transformational leadership traits that Jose has
displayed or and fails to display?
Ans. Jose has displayed various traits such as:
Strong Role Model: He has been a role model for the top management
as well as the workers as he focussed business like approach at the macro
level and the hands off approach at the functional level.
Persistent : When Jose decided to work for Kellogg Consulting but was
rejected due to language barrier, he was persistent to get another job and
move out of Kerala and he did so by highlighting his knowledge above the
language barrier for another company called Brown Boveri who tied up
with Voltas
Perpetual desire for learning: While working for Brown Boveri in
Jamshedpur, when the Swiss engineering chief persuaded him to learn
German, Jose took the opportunity willingly n learned German. While
working he wrote GMAT and got admission in an MBA institute to learn
some more things.
Lifelong learners: Even after completing his graduation, Joses desire to
learn did not stopped. All his life he never missed any opportunity to learn
something new. In his job, he learned German. Once on the roll of Brown
Boveri, he was sent to learn some more skills.

Emotionally mature : After his class XII, Jose wanted to do his

engineering somewhere in a metro like Kerala, but as all his siblings were
out of home, his mother persuaded him to stay at home. He was
emotionally mature to take that decision and stay closer to home by
taking admission in Trivandrum Engineering College and working in Trichur.
Risk taking: Jose was a risk taking person. When Brown Boveri and Voltas
ended their relationship, Jose had to decide whom to continue working for.
While all his colleagues continued with Voltas, Jose choose to work with
Brown Boveri although it had risks involved of being shut down anytime.
This risk taking ability made him a transformational leader.
Visionary: Although he had no monetary interest in the business, still he
had to stop it from falling apart due to family disputes. This shows that he
had a vision to look after the business.
Mentoring: Being a leader and under his mentorship, the company
produced good results, was able to buy a fourth machine and was already
scouting for another machine to replace the first one.
Some of the traits Jose failed to display were:

Clear sense of purpose: Although he had no monetary interest in the

business, still he was working for the company so that it doesnt fall
apart. He did not had a clear sense of purpose as to why he was doing
this. It might be because he knew his owners or because it was the
place which had made him a successful person he is today.
High expectation: He did not had high expectations from the workers
of the company. Whatever he told them to do, the results were
produced. Being a leader it is necessary to have expectation from your
workers, as it gives them a chance to prove themselves also.

3. How effective is the direction setting, creating alignment and creating

engagement done by Jose so far?
Ans. Jose Mundassery took over the leadership of Kunnath Paper Mills (KPM)
when there was no one in the family capable or suitable for handling the
business. He effectively brought the company back on track by effective
direction setting and by creating alignment and engagement within the company.
Direction Setting
When requested by his ailing uncle to take responsibility for the company, he
took it up and accordingly increased his visits to India so as to be able to attend
to the company matters well. As the situation demanded he spent time in the
company in India unlike earlier. He realised the need for a fourth machine in
order to increase capacity for the mill, arranged for one and was on the lookout
for one more.
Creating Alignment
Despite family disputes, he was able to successfully convince everyone to accept
him as the Chairman of the company. He was able to successfully keep both the
family and the business from falling apart. He took all important decisions from a
purely business point of view without being swayed by emotions. He was able to
judge who would be fit for which post in the company and appointed Mr. K.T.

Thomas as CEO and the two grandchildren of the promoters were put in charge
of critical functions.
Creating Engagement
To keep the old machines going he inducted an engineer and also an internal
auditor into the top management and was able to get them to produce results.
He was able to engage the team because he knew where to exercise control and
where to give a free hand to the workers. According to the sentiments expressed
by workers in various interviews Jose had succeeded in creating a great amount
of synergy between the workers and management, which is evident from the
following statement, Jose chettan has brought in that new confidence and we
are willing to go to any length now.
4. What role should Jose play in KPM in future?
Jose has in the last six years successfully managed the company as its Chairman
and steered it to its present situation. He had taken up the lead of putting KPM
back on track and making them capable of competing with other firms in the
market. Yet KPM still has far to go. KPM still lags behind when compared to other
paper manufacturers in India who had maximized the twenty years of
liberalisation. However, since the market scenario in India is extremely
encouraging, there are important decisions which Jose must take to ensure a
successful future for the company.
All statistics predict that India is one of the best markets as far as the paper and
paperboard market is concerned. So he must now decide whether he should be
satisfied with KPMs current success or whether he should push for greater
As the Chicago School had taught him, if they did not grow fast enough and
change as their environment was changing they would be wiped out. The
company needed changes in technology, processes and raw materials in order to
be able to create greater value. Hence, he should take positive steps in that
direction, like the other competing firms, who had kept up with technology
changes and adapted themselves to the changing situations.
Jose must set the direction for future growth, so that KPM is able to compete
effectively with other paper manufacturers. He must ensure that the alignment
he has created is not washed away by family disputes. Finally, he must ensure
that his workforce remains as engaged because an unproductive workforce will
only create obstacles, like it had in the past. If the company is on a growth path,
one of the major challenges is how to manage labour, and if Jose is able to do
that effectively and motivate the workers, then half the battle of establishing a
successful company is won.