Jamie Turner faces a difficult situation at Modern Lighting Industries Inc. (MLI). The company is struggling financially and has recently been acquired by a larger firm. Turner was hired as Vice President (V. P. ) of marketing and sales by company president Pat Cardullo. Turner was all but guaranteed Cardullo’s position in less than two years when he was hired. However, six months later, the young manager’s future at the company is in serious jeopardy. The root cause(s) can best be summarized as: The denigration of their relationship; which can be traced to two main issues. A) Ineffective communication between Cardullo and Turner.
B) The cultural differences between MLI, Inc. and the management style(s) that Turner was accustomed to with the previous companies for which he worked. Cardullo has embraced an outdated style of management, he’s obdurate and refuses to adapt or be persuaded by his new Vice President –Turner. Not only is there is ineffective communication between Turner and Cardullo there is serious conflict and internal strife among the senior managers. Their interpersonal relationships continue to deteriorate as well.
The malaise Turner is experiencing is very real; he needs to find solutions for the recalcitrant fractious management team at MLI, Inc. nd he needs to do it immediately. Cultural and Leadership Differences Cardullo manages by the old command and control model, he manages from the top down [one-way communication] he fails to recognize that most businesses’ follow models where the company is run by cross functional teams of peers. Cardullo thinks that departments should be independent of each other [micro-managed]. MLI has an undefined leadership situation with Cardullo spending half his time in San Diego and half in Chicago it has created a power vacuum in which Turner is seemingly in charge when Cardullo is not there but, Cardullo holds to power with an iron grip.
When he is present he often undermines decisions made by his managers without collaborating with them. Misalignment Departments not working together: It would behoove Turner to network more effectively with the other members of upper management, for example Julie Chin [Comptroller] is an ardent supporter of Cardullo. She is willing to co-sign any decision Cardullo posits, even though it may not be in the company’s best interest. This in turn has created a very volatile relationship between Turner and Chin.
Turner and Chin Bad Decisions
Turner hired Juanita Swenson, a brilliant manager with an impressive history in product management. However, when Swenson presented Turner with a spreadsheet indicating a serious potential cash flow problem, Turner queried Chin about the issue, Chin lied, [omitting the facts, telling half-truths] assuring Turner and Cardullo that there was no cash flow problem. It is difficult to assess Chin’s motives when faced with the compelling evidence brought on by Swenson in regards to the company’s potential cash flow issue. Whether she is maliciously lying to preserve her own self interest i. e. osition in the company or simply refusing to accept a challenging view point she has committed one of the 7 communication mistakes managers make; lying outlined in the supplemental reading by Robbins. (added this I felt it flowed a little better see what you think not sure how to properly source the article. ) Had Turner made a point to develop a relationship with Chin, to add her to his informal network [Informal Networks: Krackhart and Hanson] of people he could trust, it would have allowed the two to work together potentially bridging the communication gap between Turner and Cardullo.
The situation now, is bitter anathema between the two senior managers. Perhaps Chin is not trustworthy, we can only speculate. Cardullo has not established credibility or trust with his employees, his background is not in MLI’s particular area [commercial lighting sales]. He believes in “Management by Objective” (MBO). He makes contentious decisions with impunity, regardless of the lack of support or torrid discord he creates among his managers. On several occasions he undermined the decisions his mid-level managers made, even reversing them.
With regard to the Cardullo’s pricing scheme: Cardullo may have been received better had he communicated the changes with Turner beforehand. Although Turner strongly objected to the pricing scheme, Turner should have moved quickly on this issue to establish his credibility, demonstrating why these changes were NOT best for the company. Turner could have done this by being more persuasive. “The Necessary Art of Persuasion” (Conger). As for Cardullo, this is another example of “Seven Communication Mistakes Managers make”(Stever Robbins).
Cardullo made a salient decision in changing pricing without doing any groundwork, research or consultation with Turner – his V. P. of Marketing. Adversarial relationships brewing More examples of poor management and conflict would be the break even Halogen light sale that Turner implemented. Chin alerted Cardullo to this sale, Cardullo reproved Turner’s decision. When Turner asked Chin why she had not dealt with him directly on the issue, tensions flared. Chin was petty-mindedly. On another occasion she refused to reimburse one of Turners people [Swenson] for lunch on an expense report because she did not have a receipt.
This incident would have been easily resolved if Turner and Chin had a better professional relationship. Building informal networks are vital to successfully managing internal problems in a more efficient manner. Another example would be Turner printing off Chin’s email storming into her office and making a scene of crumpling it up and throwing it away in front of her, again poor conflict resolution skills on the part of Turner. Cardullo’s unprofessional vulgar tirades he imposes on employees in board meetings are inexcusable.
In the supplemental reading “The Necessary Art of Persuasion” it is noted that gone are the days where you could yell and scream at your employees to illicit production, this further demonstrates Cardullo’s communication failings. Turner does not communicate effectively with Cardullo while on the job. Since Cardullo splits time between offices, when he is present at MLI, Turner should show initiative and engage Cardullo in discussion about how they can approach tasks and still achieve company goals. Many times, decisions that Turner made regarding inventory and price issues were not consistent with Cardullo’s approach.
Since there is an existing gap in communication at MLI, having a suitable communication model would help to pre-empt any potential problems that may occur. He should be more persuasive by showing how his ideas and plans would achieve the goals that Cardullo has set and still adhere to Cardullo’s strategies. Cultural differences Turner is not used to the lack of unyielding structure at MLI. In his previous employment, there was a hierarchy or structure that enabled his work. There was a system of accountability between departments and employees.
However, at MLI, Turner now encounters a situation where his autonomy and decisions are frequently challenged by Cardullo or Chin. This is a complicated scenario; there are no easy solutions readily apparent to Turner. Turner should recommend to Cardullo a management survey for the purposes of implementing the following types of intercompany networks in an effort to improve communications; an advice network, a trust network and a communication network “Informal Networks- Krackhardt and Hanson”. The ultimate goal is to achieve Cardullo’s objectives, improve efficiency, and turn around the struggling financial situation.
Action Plan Improve Communication between Cardullo and Turner. Cardullo and Turner should meet to address Turners concerns about the business and re-define each other’s goals and expectations moving forward. Cardullo should hold a meeting with all department heads to define roles, responsibilities and goals moving forward as group. Turner should integrate his ideas and show how they could benefit Cardullo’s goals. He can do this by using simple, colorful, metaphors, illustrations, and examples to strengthen his case/action plan for better communication among all senior and middle managers.
This will persuade Cardullo that Turner’s ideas can aid in meeting company objectives. Action Steps Short term Cardullo and Turner should meet so Cardullo can give his full expectations to Turner with regards to his job description this would define their respective roles and responsibilities in the company. Turner should express his concerns about any perceived leadership deficiencies. Turner can express a willingness to work with Cardullo regarding his leadership style in an effort to meet Cardullo’s management objectives. Turner and Cardullo should onsider meeting together each week to ensure that goals and expectations are being achieved. In the short term, these meetings can avert potential problems that may arise with regard to responsibility and expectation. Turner should recognize his limits within his job and delegate responsibility as needed. With an understanding of his job description, Turner should delegate responsibility as needed to improve efficiency in the office. Turner should speak with Cardullo regarding outbursts in front employees. Turner should suggest the importance of the “Praise in public, censure in private” model Long term.
Cardullo should stay in Chicago full time that is what his boss suggested. With Cardullo staying in Chicago full time, he then can scheduled regular meetings more often with senior managers to resolve problems with regards to long term goals of company. Long term goals affect the long term profitability of a business. Turner should take a management survey to establish the company informal networks by mapping employee relationships between departments (see article p. 106 “Informal Networks: The Company) Team building exercises to establish trust between departments. Risks and Responses
Cardullo’s non-compliance: Persuade Cardullo that suggested changes to the work plan would help achieve company goals and improve morale. Lack of “buy-in” by subordinate employees: Communicate goals clearly, get buy-in early from subordinates, and listen to their feedback. Collective support is crucial to the success of any organization “The Necessary Art of Persuasion – Conger”. Turner should make a very persuasive argument for the changes needed to meet Cardullo’s objectives. Turner should use vivid illustrations and examples in their simplest terms, backed up by factual data from business models that are a proven formula for success.