Friday, July 27, 2012

Leo burnett case study analysis - Research paper

Based on all of the information provided in this case, analyze the Leo Burnett team according to the Team Effectiveness Model in the textbook (portrayed in Exhibit 9-3 and discussed on pp. 133-139). That is, discuss each of these components of the model as they apply to the team at Leo Burnett, and indicate whether each one is likely to facilitate or hinder team effectiveness in this case. (3 points)

o   Adequate resources – Budget problems.  Global versus local budget creating tension and ‘administrivia’ to assign dollars where needed.  Staffing costs higher than anticipated.  OBC does not want to pay more for advertising than originally budgeted.
o   Leadership and structure – Leadership vacuum with personnel changes, and the Toronto brand team leader.  New leader does not know team members or clients well, and may have ability issues (repeated explanations necessary of basic project components).
o   Climate of trust- Members of partitioned teams do not trust each other. (“Non-existent connection” between team members in Toronto and London.)  They are unwilling to take risks, are not candid in commits, and in some cases simply do not connect with each other directly.  Surprises do not help; high presentation results expected for brand introduced just days before. 
o   Performance evaluation and reward systems – reward system built to recognize individual efforts of only a few individuals (annual festival in Cannes, France for usually art director and copy writer).  No significant team reward model discussed.

o   Abilities of members – vacuum of leadership, (repeatedly explaining basic project components to senior managers, as an example), and inexperience in key roles; example is web site developer taking over for account supervisor after vacancy. Inexperience with product and client relationship.
o   Personality
o   Allocating roles -
o   Diversity – It may be that diversity is adverse in this situation.  The Toronto Office may have a better feel for the market to which they hope to appeal.  This certainly seems to be the case based upon the experience in the Asian market.
o   Size of teams – Originally at 6, the Forever Young brand team expanded as the London Office was tasked to provide creative input.  Up to 10 on the team, across an ocean and an apparent technology divide making logistics a serious issue.
o   Member flexibility -
o   Member preferences -  

Work Design
o   Autonomy – Organizational changes did not allow Toronto to act without London approval.  Many links in organizational chain.
o   Skill variety – The tasks demand several different skillsets; there would appear to be an issue of individuals with inconsistent viewpoints representing the same set of skills to draw upon.
o   Task identity – There is a serious issue with the ability of the team members to identify and complete a specific task based upon the current organization.  Lack of autonomy, communication, and lack of resources require too many people doing too many things too much of the time.
o   Task significance – It seems clear that all understand the significance of the task before them.

o   Common purpose – There is a lack of a common purpose.  This is directly evidenced by such statements as, ‘London and Toronto supplementary creative teams “working independently of each other.”’
o   Specific goals – no clear division of responsibilities
o   Team efficacy – After the Canadian test launch there would appear to be a lack of confidence in leadership, the combined global teams ability to succeed, and the Toronto team’s ability to put together top level creative.
o   Conflict levels – Relationship conflicts are almost always dysfunctional; (possibly evidenced in email regarding Watson regarding Manning’s on the road schedule.  Reduces groupthink though, so there may have been some benefit from differing views.
o   Social loafing – This was occurring, probably because of lack of accountability.  Toronto told London team to “figure it out and they would follow”..

27. Finally, if you were Janet Carmichael, what would you have done differently, or going forward, to improve the effectiveness of this team?  Support your answer with concepts from the textbook (Chapters 8 and/or 9). (2 points)

In hindsight, it appears that the greatest barrier to success for the Forever Young team was the decision to locate the global team in the UK and to require shared production of deliverables for the launch from two teams that were quite informally organized.  Initially, the positioning of the global team may have seemed like a good idea due to anticipated test market (the UK).  However, when it was later determined that the test market would be Canada, there was no restructuring to allow Toronto to serve as the base for the global team.  By not repositioning the global team to Toronto when the decision was made to move the test market, Carmichael was unable to take advantage of the experience of the global team in developing the creative template which would be passed to the satellite team for the local market.  Likewise, the lack of strong in-house capabilities in the UK which were deemed important to the creative template (direct marketing and Web site materials) required division of duties which eroded trust, added difficult virtual logistics to manage, and allowed for social loafing to occur as accountability was unclear.

With little time for major restructuring, I believe the following steps should be undertaken by Janet Carmichael in order to salvage the Canadian launch.
1.      Decentralize team control.  This would mean that the Toronto team will almost certainly choose its own creative concept for the television ads, (a risk).  However, by decentralizing, Carmichael will be working with a smaller team size which would have more autonomy, and therefore more accountability for the finished product.  She can expect less social loafing, a more defined common plan and purpose, and can set more specific goals.  She can also set the tone of trust for the group by indicating her belief that the finished product will be top caliber.  Carmichael’s fundamental reservation in requiring the centralized approach of producing the creative in the UK is that “she had always liked the creative that the U.K team had initially produced.”  In this case, based upon the test market results, she would not be making an evidence-based decision.

2.      Assure the availability of resources to the launch.  Transfer remaining budget allocations for Web site development to local budget rather than the global budget.

3.      Establish clear leadership in the Toronto Office.  Based upon the emphasis now placed upon the Toronto creative unit, assign the creative director Shirley Watson as communication lead moving into the product launch.  This assures that someone with experience and established credibility will be able to step into the key role of moving the launch forward.  Also, the case study would indicate that Jacobs and Powell may not be able to sort through difficulties expediently as evidenced by the repeated explanations of project components necessary when Davids was in the lead.

4.      Begin laying the groundwork for restructuring the global team in North America.  (This groundwork might include providing incentives for the Canadian team to work/think more effectively from a ‘global’ perspective).  Certainly Carmichael should look towards hiring more individuals who can fulfill their global team roles, in addition to technical competence when seeking to fill open positions moving forward.


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