Case study Taran Swan at Nickelodeon Latin America 1. Describe the culture at Nickelodeon Latin America. Be specific How did Swan go about building that culture? Swan formed an entrepreneurial culture that strives for competition, encourages to take risk and values for new ideas. The strong Nickelodeon identity (“orange blood”) and Swan’s business plan assisted building a clear vision and defining a key business strategy. In order to build the strong brand and culture Swan had to find people for the dedicated positions and form a multidimensional team.
Swan took risk and invested in finding the right person that would fit the organisation because a strong and trustful team was critical. (“I focused on getting the best team possible. I wanted bright, ambitious people who would give their all. ”) The Swan’s team involved different departments and the employees were encouraged to contribute ideas and question each other. (“I was a coach and cheerleaders, trying get people to put in the hours. I tried to give people ownership and help them feel part of a team. I just kept pushing, and kept believing. ). Every Tuesday executive team meetings were arranged to communicate and make consensus-based decisions; though after the team admitted that the information did not reach the lower levels and they agreed on Ni-monthly Update Meetings (“show and tell”). At the beginning Swan chaired the meetings, but later they introduce a system of rotating leadership stressing importance of the team work. The office spirit was open and friendly, thus the employees truthfully appreciated teamwork meetings and off-site communication (“lovefests”).
The corporate culture implied challenges since Swan preferred “big bets”/risk taking strategies and required the team to thing broadly about decision implication. Once a year Swan organized an offsite strategic planning session “Synergy Meeting” to affirm and decide on the projects for the upcoming year. After introduction of international subsidiaries control Swan initiated Nickelodeon Latin America Board meetings twice a year to justify expenditures and progress.
Despite of the fact that the staff were split between two office and constantly travelled to Latin America communication flow was effective on account of the established practice/systems and video-conferencing. Another equally important point of Nichelodeon is a kid focused environment that is evident in the office. The “Grow Downs” workshops were held for new advertising executives to better become acquainted to the Nichelodeon philosophy. 2. Describe Swan’s leadership style.
What impact has it had on the culture Swan’s enthusiasm and business savvy had a major influence on the team culture. Swan is a transactional and excellent team leader who motivates and encourages followers to strive for the established goal. Delegating staff Swan took risk and focused on the key business strategy. Although Swan had not experience in leading a large organization and Latin America she was self assured/confident in her ability to learn.
Swan had a business vision that was reflected in her business plan while anticipated the financial and economic crises in Latin America (“Swan was three steps ahead of the game”) 3. What are the challenges that Swan faces at the end of the case? What actions should she take? Should she assign an interim director? The Swan’s complicate pregnancy forced her to leave for New York and she had to make a decision how to work further and manage the projects that would shape the direction and channel’s future.
The projects are as follows: * Argentina Expansion – Nickelodeon entry into the Cablevision/TCI carrier (2nd largest cable provider in Argentina ) * Brazil Entry – critical project to develop Portuguese programming and enter the Brazilian market * US /Hispanic market – negotiation with Telemundo, the Spanish language broadcaster in the US * World Cup Special – Nickelodeon Latin America planned a marketing campaign aimed for the World Cup (kid profiles and interviews with soccer stars) Swan has two alternative action plans following her departure.
First, she can transfer her leadership and appoint an interim director. Selection of the best candidate will require rigorous evaluation and effective communication with the team. The potential candidates can be the current members of staff (Greider, McCarty ) who have unique competence/skills and familiar with the culture . Second, Swan can continue to perform her duties and manage the virtual-team. The author would recommend to Swan to continue leading the team from New York because her enthusiasm and leadership style has created a mature and multifunctional eam. In order to avoid any pregnancy risk, Swan should delegate the majority of tasks to her team. Swan’s administrative assistant can handle intermediate communication between her and the team. Moreover, the August Synergy meeting can be chaired by McCarty who conveyed his potential to Swan by presenting her speech at the Town Hall. Swan should follow updates and virtually take part in the staff meeting, thus performing her key strategic tasks and inspiring with her leadership style.