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Task : WRITTEN REPORT 1500 2000 WORDS 20%

Assessment Objective : Allow Students to demonstrate the skills of taking a leadership position
to build a team in an organisation.
Assessment Description : Analyse the Case Study Integrating Teams after Downsizing.
Assuming a leadership position prepare a report to establish a new team and design an
induction program for selected staff to function as a team in a new business opportunity for the
organisation.

CASE STUDY: Building and Supporting a Team.


George Branson Foods Ltd are planning an aggressive growth strategy. As a result the company
is very busy hiring new staff across all functions.
Robert Palmer, a project manager, has been assigned to launch a range of organic foods. He will
be working with cross functional teams that include manufacturing, research and development,
sales, finance and purchasing. In the project there are two new team members from the
warehouse who have had no experience in organic foods. He has to merge everybody into one
team working to achieve one goal.
Student will assume the role of Robert Palmer and you need to understand and unify everybody
into one team. What would you do to forge a strong and unified team?
Your report should include:
1. Induction program for new team members
2. Clear roles for all team members, empowerment for the team members and support
offered
3. Resources the team will need to function effectively
4. A description of the work environment, culture, encouragement of innovation and
initiatives,
5. Use of open communication and transparent decision making

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Building the Organic Foods Project


Team at George Branson Foods Ltd

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Executive Summary

The following report is written as a set of recommendations to Robert Palmer, the Organic Foods
Project Manager or, alternatively, in the third person, as Robert Palmers rationale for the steps I
(assuming the role of Robert Palmer) will be taking to build a strong and unified team.
The third person is deliberately chosen to avoid the repetitive use of the pronoun I which gives an
impression of autocratic, non-consultative style of leadership or management that is the opposite of
the leadership style the following recommendations advocate.
Robert Palmer could follow Chaousiss sailboat model of organisations and advice.
Leadership is the rudder that steers the ship. The boat itself is the heart of the sailboatThe heart
of an organisation is its culture and its relationships. The two go hand in hand. If the relationships
are healthy and there is trust, loyalty, support and a sense of genuine consultation, it is usually safe
to assume that a healthy culture exists which supports and enhances organisational goals and
values. (Chaousis, L. , 2000, Organisational Behaviour, , Prentice-Hall Australia, Sydney, p. 207).
Following this advice, Robert Palmer should :

Design an induction program accordingly

Define clear roles for all team members

Empower them while offering appropriate support

Provide adequate resources

Attempt to create a work environment and team culture to engage all team members and
encourage innovation and initiatives.

Use open communication and transparent decision-making.

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Table of Contents

The Sailboat model of organisations

Recommended Induction program for new team members

Recommended Organisation Design

Clear roles for all team members

Recommended Resources

Recommended Decision-making style

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Recommended Communication Approach

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How to create a Work Environment and Team culture that encourage


innovation and initiatives

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References

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The Sailboat model of organisations


Project objective:

to launch a range of organic foods

Project leaders objective: to merge all team members into one strong and unified team working
to achieve the above goal1 as effectively and efficiently as possible.
Chaousis proposes a sailboat model2 of organisations in her book Organisational Behaviour.
Robert Palmer can use it to help him achieve the above objectives.
Chaousis wrote Leadership is the rudder that steers the ship. The boat itself is the heart of the
sailboatThe heart of an organisation is its culture and its relationships. The two go hand in hand. If
the relationships are healthy and there is trust, loyalty, support and a sense of genuine consultation,
it is usually safe to assume that a healthy culture exists which supports and enhances organisational
goals and values. 3
She also wrote The sails organisational design and organisational structure must fit the boat. The
type of organisation design selected is secondary to the quality of relationships and culture that will
be guiding it4
If this sailboat model is adopted, then the induction program, e.g. for the two new team members,
could set the tone.

Recommended Induction program for new team members


1.

introductory talk about the company mission, vision, values, organisation chart, and the
organic food project and how it fits in with company strategy.

2. Individually, i.e. one-on-one, the project manager (PM), viz. Robert Palmer, meets the new
people ( X and Y) to find out their backgrounds, work preferences, to start building a
rapport. PM explains how their roles fit in with the NPD (new product development)
process, how they can contribute to the projects success. The PM should also sell the
ideas (if adopted) recommended in this report.
3. PM arranges for X and Y to meet with R & D (Research & Development) for them to gain an
introduction to organic foods, how they are different from ordinary foods.

Assignment brief

Chaousis, L. , 2000, Organisational Behaviour, , Prentice-Hall Australia, Sydney, p. 206

Chaousis, L. , 2000, Organisational Behaviour, , Prentice-Hall Australia, Sydney, p. 206

Chaousis, L. , 2000, Organisational Behaviour, , Prentice-Hall Australia, Sydney, p. 207

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4. X and Y should meet and talk with all members of the cross functional teams i.e. all
departments so that they understand the role of each department and of each team
member in the project

Recommended Organisation Design


What/ who is involved in developing and launching this range of new products?

Idea generation
Screening and
evaluation of
ideas
Business analysis
Product
development
Test marketing
commercialization

Marketing
and sales

Finance

Research and
development

Manufacturing

Purchasing

Logistics/
warehousing

Clear roles for all team members


The above matrix shows the contribution of each member to the project, both collectively (e.g.
in the idea generation and idea screening/evaluation) and individually, depending on the
department he/she belongs to.
Traditionally, the project manager in a new product development project (e.g. a new products
manager) comes from the Marketing department because s/he coordinates the work of all
members of the cross-functional team as well as the work of outside agencies (e.g. packaging
design, advertising agencies).
Robert Palmer would be devoting almost 100% of his time to this project while other team
members may be working on other projects (at different stages of development from the
organic foods project) and existing products marketed by George Branson Foods Ltd.
Robert Palmer needs to bear this in mind in his effort to forge a strong and unified team since
the level of commitment and enthusiasm as well as the amount of time each team member can
devote to the Organic Foods project is not likely to be even or consistently at the level Robert
Palmer expects.
In a new product project, not all members of a cross-functional team are equally knowledgeable
or enthusiastic about new products in general or this particularly new product range (organic
foods). They were not necessarily handpicked by Robert Palmer. Many would have been
assigned to the project by their respective functional managers.

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Robert Palmer must define the roles (both formal and informal) of each team member carefully
but these roles need to be defined in collaboration with the people involved. For example, if
someone needs to be held by the hand and, informally, a mentor or back-up needs to be
arranged, then the person who needs extra help should accept this informal arrangement
without resentment.
The new company employees (X and Y) joining the warehouse would probably need assistance.
Fortunately, their first functional contribution (logistics/warehousing) is not expected until the
test marketing phase, specifically when raw and packaging materials are delivered to produce
the test market product. X and Y have time to settle in and learn about the company, etc.
In order to build a strong and unified team, Robert Palmer should consider empowerment.
According to McShane and Von Glinow, empowerment refers to a feeling of control and selfefficacy that emerges when people are given power in a previously powerless situation.
Empowered employees are given autonomy- freedom, independence and discretion over the
work activities. They are assigned work that has high levels of task significance-importance to
themselves and others5.
Empowering the team members flows from Theory Z which advocates a holistic concern for
workers and their welfare involving empowering staff, providing them with long-term career
security and planning and making decisions based on consensus6
Seijts and Crim recommend ten Cs of employee engagement7. Robert Palmer should consider
following their advice.
1. Connect- leaders must actively show that they value employees.
2. Career- leaders should provide challenging and meaningful work with opportunities for career
advancement.
3. Clarity- leaders must communicate a clear vision.
4. Convey leaders must clarify their expectations about employees and provide feedback on
their functioning.
5. Congratulate exceptional leaders give recognition, and they do so a lot.
6. Contribute people want to know that their input matters and that they are contributing to
the organisations success in a meaningful way.
5

McShane, S.L. and Von Glinow, M.A., 2000, Organizational Behavior, Iriwn McGraw-Hill, Boston, p. 115

Chaousis, L. , 2000, Organisational Behaviour , Prentice-Hall Australia, Sydney, p. 11

Russell-Walling, E. 2007, 50 Management Ideas you really need to know, Quercus, London, p. 78

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7. Control employees value having control over the flow and the pace of their jobs.
8. Collaborate studies indicate that, when employees work in teams and have the trust and
cooperation of their team members, they outperform individuals and teams that lack good
relationships.
9. Credibility leaders should strive to maintain a companys reputation and to demonstrate
high ethical standards.
10. Confidence good leaders help to create confidence by being exemplars of high ethical and
performance standards
Furthermore, in order to empower his team members, Robert Palmer needs to harness the
power of the informal organisation to complement the formal team. For example, instead of
restricting team members to their formal roles, he may informally acknowledge the fact that
some team members want to contribute in areas outside of their current fields. A food
technologist currently working for R&D may be very interested in moving to marketing. By giving
him/her the opportunity to understand the NPD process and rationale behind marketing
decisions (e.g. consumer research, business analysis, marketing mix), Robert will help boost
his/her job satisfaction and commitment to the organic foods project.
The support mechanisms provided to all team members could include adopting a non-dogmatic
approach to meetings. For example, meeting chairs could be rotated. Within reason, by not
insisting on all project team members being physically present in the meeting room, i.e. allowing
a few members who could save time to attend meetings from their offices (if located in a fairly
distant location) or even their homes (if working from home), Robert Palmer could project the
image of an understanding and reasonably flexible project leader and generate a lot of goodwill.
As the Project Manager, Robert Palmer could set the example by being an approachable,
accessible and open communicator who encourages team members to contact him and discuss
any issues with him at almost any time.
New product project teams are essentially cross-functional, matrix teams with most team
members reporting to a functional superior (e.g. food technologist reporting to a product
development manager, purchasing officer reporting to a purchasing manager). The Project
Manager does not have formal authority over the project team members but shoulders the
responsibility for seeing the project through and the ultimate success or failure of the new
product range.

Recommended Resources
In most project teams/matrix teams, one scare resource is time because, most often, project
managers (e.g. Robert Palmer) and functional heads (product development managers) do not
know how much work pressure the food technologist assigned to the organic foods project is
under. The brand managers in charge of existing products and other project managers (if any)
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want the food technologist to give their products/projects top priority above other
products/projects. Assuming that that none of them is inherently lazy and wants to play one off
against another ( in which case the person would eventually be found out and may have to find
employment elsewhere), each team member almost always faces the perennial questions:
Which product/project should take priority? Which task is more important? Which task is more
urgent?
To function effectively, team members in the organic foods project should be helped in their
constant battle and need to prioritise their work. The Project manager should work closely with
each functional head (e.g. product development manager) and team member (e.g. food
technologist) to set priorities so that the organic foods project receives its fair share of the team
members time. This may prevent Robert Palmers project from informally receiving a greater
amount of time and attention than it really deserves (e.g. thanks to particularly good and warm
relationships between Robert and the food technologist) but, through office gossip, etc,
Roberts transparent and objective project management style will be privately admired by many
people and yield optimal results for the project and the company.
The normal project management techniques of regular (e.g. weekly/fortnightly/monthly)
meetings, instant updates (made so much easier, thanks to technological advances in
communication, including video conferencing) should definitely be used, especially when team
members are geographically dispersed.
Chaousis identifies six characteristics of an effective team8
1. effective leadership;
2. agreed performance and group norm goals;
3. efficient, consultative decision-making;
4. cooperative relationships;
5. linkage with other teams in the organisation;
6. regular review and adjustment of performance goals.
and a checklist9 to help identify the areas that need developing.

Chaousis, L. , 2000, Organisational Behaviour , Prentice-Hall Australia, Sydney, p. 106

Chaousis, L. , 2000, Organisational Behaviour , Prentice-Hall Australia, Sydney, p. 106

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Robert Palmer should use the above table and use the six characteristics as guidelines for his project
team to follow.

Recommended Decision-making Style


Many academics advocate transparent decision-making. This means that, after a decision is made,
each team member is left in no doubt as to how and why the decision is made. Not everyone has to
agree with the final decision but there must be no doubt in everyones mind as to how the decision
was reached.
One way to ensure transparent decision-making is to practise evidence-based management10 which
requires a commitment to fact-based decision-making. Although no company has all the time and
resources to research every single issue, key decisions should only be made, following a thorough
and rational process of analysis and deliberation.
The decision-making climate is particularly important to ensure that, ideally, each team member
feels part of the decision-making process and owns the decisions made by the team. It is therefore
crucial that inputs and feedback are encouraged. We will elaborate further on this issue when we
discuss the work environment and the culture that should prevail for the project team to be
effective.

10

Pfeffer, J.& Sutton, R,, 2006, Hard facts, Dangerous Half-Truths and Total Nonsense, Harvard Business School
Press, Boston, MA, p. 12

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Recommended Communication Approach


One key element of a good work climate is open communication. This means that open, honest
communication is the norm. Therefore, constructive criticism is genuinely encouraged. Ideally, there
should be no hidden agenda, no office politics, no preconceived ideas about peoples opinions or
ideas based on who puts forward the ideas or opinions. Although this ideal is almost never achieved,
If Robert Palmer is keen to maximise his objectives, he should pay attention to what Chaousis wrote.
Effective relationships with others involve ongoing communication, understanding and appreciation
for the ways in which they are different from us, being honest and constructively resolving the
inevitable conflict that arises. A team is first and foremost a group of people relating to each other.
The quality of the relationship within the team has a significant impact on the productivity of the
team. As with all other relationships in our lives, team relationships need continual building and
developing. It is important to remember that teams are not just in existence for happy relationships.
Teams exist to achieve performance and productivity targets.11

How to create a Work Environment and Team culture that


encourage innovation and initiatives
An organisations work environment is influenced by the physical environment and the human,
interpersonal relationships each employee is exposed to.
If the physical environment of George Branson Foods Ltd is not conducive to meetings, e.g. noisy,
dirty, cramped meeting rooms, Robert Palmer could decide to have offsite meetings with catered
food which all team members look forward to attending.
If the physical environment is acceptable or if there are budget constraints, good, forward planning
ensures that the best meeting rooms are booked well in advance.
Chaousis mentions four characteristics of good relationships in an organisation: trust, honesty,
support and genuine recognition12. She highlights trust as one of the most important aspects of
relationshipsTrust frees people to unleash their full potential and take risks. Trust frees people to
admit errors. One indicator of trust in an organisation is when people feel free to ask for help,
confident that they will be supported rather than judged. 13
This is the kind of work environment and corporate culture that encourages innovation and
initiatives.

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Chaousis, L. , 2000, Organisational Behaviour , Prentice-Hall Australia, Sydney, p. 105

12

Chaousis, L. , 2000, Organisational Behaviour , Prentice-Hall Australia, Sydney, p. 206

13

Chaousis, L. , 2000, Organisational Behaviour , Prentice-Hall Australia, Sydney, p. 207

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Since Australia is a very diverse society in terms of culture, race, religion, gender, sexual preferences,
Robert Palmer and all team members should keep the following in mind. The penalty for not
managing diversity successfully can be serious. As organisations increasingly use matrix structures,
project teams and other organisational networks in their day to day business, the potential for
increased friction between people of differing value systems and backgrounds also increases. This is
because these structures are less formal and rely more on relationships than formal position
authority. 14

References
Chaousis, L. , 2000, Organisational Behaviour , Prentice-Hall Australia, Sydney
Coller, R. 2011, Lecture 4 Introduction to Management, Learning materials on APM Learning
Portal, APM College of Business and Communication, viewed 9 March 2011.
McShane, S.L. and Von Glinow, M.A., 2000, Organizational Behavior, Iriwn McGraw-Hill, Boston
Pfeffer, J.& Sutton, R,, 2006, Hard facts, Dangerous Half-Truths and Total Nonsense, Harvard Business School
Press, Boston, MA.

Russell-Walling, E. 2007, 50 Management Ideas you really need to know, Quercus, London

14

Chaousis, L. , 2000, Organisational Behaviour , Prentice-Hall Australia, Sydney, p. 111

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