Case Study The total amount of electrical power in a vehicle is determined by the capacity of the alternator. The power must serve over 20 subsystems, such as the stereo, the engine, and the instrument panel. These subsystems are developed and controlled by separate “chimney” organizations, and power allocations must be made for each subsystem. The problem was, in this vehicle program, when the requirements of all the chimneys and teams were added up, they equaled 125 percent of the capacity of the alternator. Keith, who had recently taken over as head of this vehicle program (which had made changes in direction and was behind schedule to begin with), called a meeting of the Program Steering Committee designed to resolve this conflict and reach a compromise. However, many of the chimney representatives who were members of the team came to this meeting with instructions from their bosses [who, incidentally, did their performance appraisals] not to make any compromises, but to make certain that their chimney “got what it needed” and “didn’t lose out.” After Keith presented the group with the problem and the need to reach a compromise solution, their response surprised him: “It’s not our problem,” they replied, “it’s your problem.”
Questions As directed by your instructor, answer the following questions individually or as a group.
1. What advice would you give Keith for dealing with the Program Steering Committee?
2. Which other key stakeholders should Keith deal with? What advice would you give him for dealing with these other key stakeholders?
3. If Keith could “turn back the hands of time,” what advice would you have given him at the beginning of this project? Be as specific as possible in your advice.
Quinn, Robert E., David Bright, Sue Faerman, Michael Thompson, Michael McGrath. Becoming a Master Manager: A Competing Values Approach, 6th Edition. Wiley, 2015-01-05. VitalBook file.