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Case study The Team That Wasn’t

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MBA 521 - Group Memo 1
Analysis: The Team That Wasn’t
Date: October 4, 2011
Submitted by Seal Team Six:
Gwynne Almeida
Lena Czarnecka
Carole Graves
Neil Harrington
Peter Holden
Karl D’Souza

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The case we read this week, “The Team That Wasn’t,” presented a multitude of issues
that Eric Holt’s team faced when working together on strategic repositioning of Fire Art
Inc. These issues, while specific to the case, are often faced by leaders in organizations.
As a team, we believe there are certain aspects of Eric’s actions that directly affected the
progress of the team. In addition, we recommend a series of steps that Eric should take to
improve their progress.
To give a little background information, Fire Art Inc. is in trouble and the CEO, Jack
Derry, has hired Eric Holt with the solitary task of “strategic repositioning”. Eric Holt
goes full speed ahead with this directive and forms a team. This, as the reader can
identify, is where the first issue arises. To begin with, as the team began working, there
was no clear goal set for them. Instead of clearly defining the actions that the team must
take to reach success, a vague task of “strategic repositioning” is identified as the plan.
Furthermore, no timeline for intermediate deliverables seems to have been set. Setting a
clear schedule of what the team must accomplish would have helped with timely decision
making.
The first problem we identified is the lack of clear group identity and accountability. A
team that doesn’t live by a sense of collective accountability in actively solving problems
is only a group of individuals, not a team. One can draw an analogy to a football team or
an ox-drawn plow when defining the characteristics of a team. A team is like the ox or
football players. They are equally yoked toward one goal and must perform their function
correctly in order to make progress.
An important criteria that distinguishes strong teams from their inferiors is the ability for
the team members to hold itself accountable as a team rather than as a group of
individuals. A Katzenbach notes, “No group ever becomes a team until it can hold itself
accountable as a team. Like common purpose and approach, mutual accountability is a
stiff test” (Katzenbach, 168). Thus, a key recommendation would be the adoption of
measures to ensure such common purpose is clearly understood by all members. Eric
Holt can achieve this by making several measures including creating a team charter,
mandatory team building seminar enrollment, and holding all members of the team
accountable for the final product.
The case analysis of Eric Peterson also can provide other clues into why this team is not
working. This is because there are many similarities between Eric Holt and Eric Peterson.
These include the fact that:
- Priorities have not been set
- Conflicts have not been confronted
- The agenda has not been clearly established
- Trust has not been built
- Eric’s credibility has not been established with the team.
Erik also did not individually identify any strengths one particular member of his team

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MBA 521 - Group Memo 1 Analysis: The Team That Wasn't Date: October 4, 2011 Submitted by Seal Team Six: Gwynne Almeida Lena Czarnecka Carole Graves Neil Harrington Peter Holden Karl D'Souza The case we read this week, "The Team That Wasn't," presented a multitude of issues that Eric Holt's team faced when working together on strategic repositioning of Fire Art Inc. These issues, while specific to the case, are often faced by leaders in organizations. As a team, we believe there are certain aspects of Eric's actions that directly affected the progress of the team. In addition, we recommend a series of steps that Eric should take to improve their progress. To give a little background information, Fire Art Inc. is in trouble and the CEO, Jack Derry, has hired Eric Holt with the solitary task of "strategic repositioning". Eric Holt goes full speed ahead with this directive and forms a team. This, as the reader can identify, is where the first issue arises. To begin with, as the team began working, there was no clear goal set for them. Instead of clearly defining the actions that the team must take to reach success, a v ...
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