Henry Tam And Mgi Team Paper

1643 words - 7 pages

Case IntroductionWithin a short time frame, seven diverse team members have assembled to write a business plan for a new company (MGI) and are struggling to-Define their roles,-Make decisions together, and-Resolve conflict.Henry Tam, a second-year Harvard MBA student, joins the team along with a fellow classmate to enter the school's business plan contest. The founders of the company are two internationally accomplished musicians and a 1987 Harvard MBA, all Russian, who are trying to create, produce, and sell a unique computer-based music game. Conflict builds as the team generates a range of ideas about how to market their product, but has trouble agreeing on which ideas to pursue. Henry Tam wrestles with how to fix the problems that have hindered the team's progress.Strengths of Team "On paper" as in before their first meeting1. All the team members live in close proximity and are available for face-to-face, intense, frequent conversations to be held over long periods of time, that too in cramped places; the situation can be ideal to come up with creative ideas2. The team has been able to come up with a product that can "stretch" the expectations of the market consumers IF targeted correctly. Their product is likely to redefine the tastes and expectations raise the level of market acceptability.3. Some of the members in the team particularly those that were a team member before going in the first meeting did actually have the expertise regarding the products.Weaknesses of Team1. The main problem of emphasis is that nobody amongst the team understands the fact that the "project" is no more regarding the product itself; it's about marketing the product and the later cant initiate properly before the former is done over with. Inclusion of Alexander and Dav Clark depict the confusion of the team.2. The ultimate composition of team has taken a shape that hints at the fact that members have been selected to "decrease the risk factor" and at "who ever is available" criteria. The only selectivity that the team depicted was in case og "Hanry" and Dana.3. The team formation somehow gives the impression that first the members are selected and then work/role is devised for them. This would infact have been the other way around i.e. defining specific roles and then picking up members on merit. The team attitude is of collecting diverse knowledge and averaging it for the team project i.e. "to play safe"4. The team members especially Hanry and Dana, who have self inducted them selves in the leadership roles, are more concerned with "doing" rather than thinking or learning, i.e. for them shifting the business plan on paper is of greater priority rather than resolving the details and intricacies or learning the real perspective5. The team is inherently asking for group consensus and peace because they are all together for a "need" that others can fulfill, therefore nobody wants to hurt other or disrupt the proceedings; what members actually need to understand is that they need each others "skills" not peace.6. The team severely is in need of a formal "leader" who can give structure to meeting agendas and manage all the diversity of the team members.7. Team members have a deadline to meet. The team came together for individual needs of the members, and perhaps wouldn't be staying together after the Harvard business school business plan competition is over, i.e. the motivation is actually not to get MGI out of troubled times rather to perform good in respective fields of each individual. As a result the "need of efficiency" is killing the possible creativity.8. There isn't a single member on board who know the details of the market/industry or has suitable contacts in industry; all are learners in that particular regard.9. Team members are more interested in reaching the broadest possible customer base and trying to create an appeal for average. Members are also not willing to defy the existing market knowledge and affirm the stereotypes. The product is of course by every means more appropriate to "class room" elements i.e. teachers and students, it doesn't suit the "entertainment" industry needs.Q3. Were the differences between the team members an asset or liability?The differences among team members are mostly "task related" which make them an asset. However the personality and attitude conflict between Sasha and Dana is more of personal nature and both seem to try to have a "personal edge" over the other, denying each other's knowledge base as "general" and not "up to mark". This particular difference has an angle to it that makes it a "liability"Also the differences which could actually turn up to be an asset, in particular the one regarding the "targeted market consumers" are not being dealt with maturity and its actually the dealing/resolution of differences that make it an asset/liability.4. What could have Henry done earlier to avoid the team's problems?The problems in the team were caused to due a number of reasons:- Unclear role definition and division- Lack of proper communication- Feeling of HBS vs. the Russians- Difference in national, ethnical origins and backgrounds- Contrast between creative impulse of the musicians and the pragmatic approach of the HBS students- Everyone had a different vision for the companyHenry could have done a number of things to avoid the team's problems:- On the onset Henry should have asked the founders to define their role in the company, and explicitly define what was expected from them.- Henry should have tired to resolve the rising conflict between Dana and Sasha, by proving to them that they are striving for the same goal. This would not only end their conflict but also eliminate the feeling of HBS vs. the Russians. Also Henry could act as a mediator between the two parties.- Henry should have made sure Sasha'a complete participation because in him lies the ocean of ideas. Also he has one of the most diverse knowledge and experience. Dominating or overshadowing him not only can be a potential cause of conflict but also can deprive team of his ideas.- Build an atmosphere with better communication, where every one is heard- Should have guided the discussions in a broader structure towards the main topic and not let it go astray. And keep the focus on the bigger picture.- Henry should have earlier discussed the kind of skills and the number of persons needed by the team accordingly. Gathering who so ever is available, whether or not the services that the person can provide are needed, was never the right approach.5. At the end of the case, what actions could Henry have taken to increase the team's effectiveness?At the end Henry could take the following steps o increase the teams effectiveness:- After the failure of the second meeting Henry should have played the role of a mediator. He should have intervened and brought about some order, control and sequence in the. He should have properly organized the meetings, instead of letting it flow in every direction.Henry should himself act as the "informal" leader while making Sasha feel important for his ideas and experience, which he actually is. Sasha may be a difficult person to work with but he is the key player. The team cannot work without him, the spirit will die and all in conflict with him must understand that the success of the project is closest to heart of Sasha. However his over fears can be diluted by the intellectual discussions that are carried out. Therefore Henry should "lead Smartly" using his Personal Power and charms and not by coercive power.- Henry should try to build a vision.- Henry should himself understand and make Dana understand also that their success is only a subset of the success of the team. The main commitment hence should be to getting the right marketing plan and not to writing the business plan for Harvard.- Henry should have personally discussed with Sasha, his perception of team members being manipulated to get access to different markets to avoid any misunderstanding and also the need of each member in team.- Openly communicated with the founders that the meetings and discussion style is not at all effective and is not producing the required results- They should have had a set objective for every meeting, and by the end of it they should draw conclusions and lines of action from it.- Give deadlines to the members to perform their allocated tasks.- Build an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect amongst the members.The point of the matter is that the team is a partial virtuoso team, and there are a few limitations that are bound to keep it that way i.e. The expertise of the team members, and the so imposed deadline for business plan submission.Within these limitations the team should try to be creative and discuss as many possibilities as possible


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