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Leadership: Power and Influence

Annette Innella is just coming into the lunchroom at Concord Machines when Bob Dunn starts screaming at her. After throwing his lunch tray against the wall, he stomps out, leaving Annette stunned. Naturally, Annette, the new senior VP for knowledge management, is beside herself. She knows her proposal to establish a cross-functional knowledge management committee is progressive thinking for this old-line manufacturer, but Bob’s reaction is totally over the line.

If Bob stays, she goes–that’s all there is to it. Bob is contrite, but he’s under a lot of pressure. The general manager of the Services Group, he’s just returned from a two-week trip around the globe to gear up his troops to beat revenue targets again, despite shrinking budgets and hiring freezes. Then an e-mail from Annette requests that two of his best people devote half their time to what he calls her “idiotic” Knowledge Protocols Group. CEO Jay Nguyen is in a bind. Bob is his top manager–he brings in all the money. And even though future revenues are going to have to come from somewhere else, Jay is not totally behind Annette’s initiative in the current business climate. He can’t afford to lose Bob. But if he reins in

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Annette, it will look like he’s condoning Bob’s outburst. What should he do?

Case Analysis

Robert Dunn, Senior Vice president & General Manager, he has been a capable line manager with the Concord Machines Company. A crusty, experienced and efficient business manager he lost his cool and humiliated Annette Innella, Vive President, Knowledge Management in public at the company cafeteria.

Jay Nguyen, President and CEO, needs to respond to his top manager’s tantrum but not before he has himself analyzed the finer nuances of the incident post a hobnob with both managers and a wee bit of introspection on his own account. While Jay needs to immediately deal with the current situation by either taking a stern action or diffusing the brawl he needs to have fast-thinking on Concord Machines future and deliverables he seeks from his executive team on the same.

Jay as a leader for the company must ensure his handling of the situation is such that he wants his managers to emulate in times to come. Like Victor Newman mentions, “Just as important as what he does is how he does.” As Nicole Garder affirms, “As for current situation, healing the wounds is going to take careful listening and straight talk.” Since Jay values both his managers and can’t afford to lose either (Bob for he is his best man for he’s being a learned manager aware of Company’s past and largely responsible for company’s turnaround in past. He is also an asset to company for the dire need for company currently is to ensure no body loses sight of the bottom line. And Annette for he strongly believes company needs a breath of fresh thinking for capturing new ideas and their channeling them into new products, services and strategies), he will need to search for a solution for this unfortunate situation between his two valued executives at an interpersonal level.

Jay would need to sit down individually with both and then later call for joint informal meeting. With Annette he must first clear the miscommunication that arose of his acceptance of proposal of acceptance of her proposal for establishing knowledge management committee – Knowledge Protocols Group and then hear her views. He must empathize with her and share her shock and disappointment at Bob’s behavior and learn her thoughts on possible legal action, if any she intends to take up to put his worries at rest for a lawsuit. Jay must also plan events such that Annette can have a thorough orientation to the business, covering company’s entire value chain and meetings with other VP’s only if he’s sure of Annette as the ideal resource for Knowledge Management VP.

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