Team and James
Managing a Global Team-Greg James at Sun Microsystems, Inc | Case Analysis| | Long Cui| Hawaii Pacific UniversityDr - Team and James introduction || Case Analysis| | Long Cui| Hawaii Pacific UniversityDr. Kenneth Gerard RossiApril 30, 2013| | Brief Summary Greg James, a global manager at Sun Microsystems, Inc. , led a customer implementation team of 45 members spread across India, France, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and the United States (US). It was the second time that the team failed to respond to the HS Holding’s customer system outage as quickly as it was said in the service contract.
The system breakdown directly brought a great loss for the company doing online banking business. To investigate this accident clearly and find a resolution to the more commonly happening customer situation, James embarked on a trip to meet his team members in the foreign countries. After the journey, James found deeper, more complex, interpersonal issues in his team. To solve the existing problems with his management of this global team, James had to find a solution to engage every team member and manage different voices much better. Issues Analysis
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Issue with HS Holdings The customer system of HS Holding was down for two hours without any immediate help from Sun Microsystems, Inc. It was the second time for James’ team to fail to respond to the system outage of the HS Holding as quickly as it was required in the service contract. Because of the breakdown, HS Holding suffered a large revenue loss and ruined relationships with clients, so it requested Sun Microsystems to return the contract money and threatened a lawsuit. To trace the source of the breakdown, James visited his teams in four countries personally.
Evaluation of James’ Performance Strengths James was very capable of managing a local team and received rave reviews from customers. Only 5 years after joining Sun Microsystem, James won the Sun Outstanding Management Award. To expand the global market, he was positioned as a high-profile global team manager to implement and maintain system across several countries. The good academic background of James also ensured his strong technical skills. Weaknesses James didn’t have any experience in managing a global team before.
With no idea about how to recruit new hires in the foreign countries, he recruited the whole team by his own criteria veryquickly. The quality of the too efficient recruitment was extremely doubtful. The team composition became a potential danger for the future development. Not considering the cultural needs in different regions was another problem for James to build the global team. It directly led to the tension between teams in different countries and influenced their cooperation in the daily work. The weekly conference calls with the entire team James conducted were very proper and necessary.
However, the meeting time, 20:30 in India, was a hidden dispute. It is understandable that the Indian team felt less attention from James because they had to attend the meeting after a whole-day hard work. As reflected by the foreign teams, James didn’t put the same amount of emphasis on each team and made some members felt their work was neglected. The inequality on the work arrangement and the compensation mismatch were the main reasons to explain why some members didn’t engage themselves very well. James lacked the interaction with his teams in France, the UAE, and India was a problem.
More interpersonal communication with these teams will bring good changes to the whole team performance. Responsibilities of the HS Holding Crisis The issue of HS Holdings was logged in the wrong program queue for resolution, so the US team didn’t receive any pages about the system outage. After getting the call from HS Holding, Praveen in Mumbai used the wrong contact protocol to contact Nick in US. The reason for why he didn’t track down Nick directly was that he’d felt insulted by Nick in the past. The bad relationship made the communication inefficient when the accident happened.
Praveen seek help from the colleagues in India. However, Praveen could not get the access to the information about the client because it was not in their support queue where all the client requests for help were stored. The poorly programmed queue was caused by the miscommunication about the programming instructions between the teams in different countries. As the team leader, James should be completely responsible for the HS holding crisis, because he didn’t find and stop these disputes and miscommunication between teams timely. “Open Work” environment
Working in different time zones is a big challenge for the global team. It may hinder the timely communication and influence the efficiency and effectiveness of the whole team. The open work provided more flexible schedules for the employees to work from anywhere, anytime, using any technology. It directly reduced the operation cost, risen employee satisfaction and remained the productivity in the Sun Microsystem. However, as discussed above, the main problems in the global team were caused by the lack of face-to-face interaction, so the open work would not work well for the global team of James.
It would only work with a consistent communication standard. Diversity in the Global Team The region diversity of the global team was a big problem for James to increase the face-to-face interaction with all the teams, but made it possible that the customer service available for 24 hours. In addition, the skill diversity made the teamwork more efficient and effective. Recommended Course of Action In the short term, James should talk more with the team members in the foreign countries and solve the existing disputes between teams.
To prohibit such kind of things to happen again, James should emphasize the important role a good relationship between team members plays in the working environment. In addition, the poorly programmed queue needs to be fixed immediately. It would directly influence the quality of customer service. The schedule of the entire team meeting should also be reconsidered. As mentioned above, the current time is possible to make the Indian team feel unequal treatment. In the long term, James needs to find a solution to his team’s problems.
He should find a good way to increase the face-to-face interaction with the foreign teams and appropriately arrange the working tasks based on the specialties of each team. Building an open and fair communication platform will be very beneficial for the global team. Lessons Learned & Conclusion With the development of globalized economy, there are more and more global teams established to utilize the low-cost material, advanced technologies and high-quality management skills.
Under these circumstances, good communication between team members in different regions played a very important role in the cooperation process. As a team leader, he also needs to be armed with ability to manage the global talent and establish management terms and compensation systems based on the cultural needs in different regions. Reference Neeley, T. , & Delong J. T. (2009). Managing a global team: greg james at sun microsystems, inc. Havard business school.