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MODULE 10 - MR. STRONG TIRE MANUFACTURING COMPANY INC.

Updated: Apr 29




MR. STRONG TIRE MANUFACTURING COMPANY INC.

 

Mr. Strong Tire Manufacturing company a global company with HQ in India produces off-highway tires for various vehicles such as tractors, loaders, dumpers, etc. The company has a functional structure, with different departments such as technical, commercial, supply chain, logistics, production, manufacturing, safety, quality, environment sustainability, sales, marketing, finance – accounting - costing, technology, IT, human resources, planning, Legal, secretarial.

 

Mr. Strong is a HIGH performing company with high achievers sprinkled across the organization. The company has a healthy participative management culture with an admirable degree of engagement, commitment, values, and vision. But like in any organization there are differences in leadership, managerial styles and behaviours among its functional leaders who have been assigned to various managerial roles across geographies. Sometimes there is a concern that these functions work in silos and have limited cross functional appreciation. If there are differences, it is escalated to their bosses to resolve rather than an attempt to meet and resolve issues among peers. Culture is not conflict prone. All have a collaborative and friendly attitude.

 

The company is known to set ambitious targets and achieve them owing to a high level of commitment of its professionals most of whom have spent a long time in the company. The company encourages high performing lifetime employment and will go the extra mile to make staff feel belonged. It is an all-inclusive, all-encompassing, nonthreatening culture of being together ownership. Each office or shop floor radiates with energy and is evident in the fun and joy in the workplace. On an overall basis all staff believe that this is one big happy family. Staff look forward to coming to work.

 

Perhaps, owing to a individual lack of initiative, self motivation and drive, may be owing to lifetime employment, or may be a feeling that the company has a job security policy, it is possible that some staff have not chosen to keep themselves trained, developed, and upgraded in terms of professional behaviours, skills, competencies, and leadership practices. While technical skills are abundant, strategic, managerial, leadership skills need improvement. Equally critical is the fact that staff members need to be in touch with their inner core to see a common vision to align with the culture to grow.

 

Many staff have been promoted to higher levels of management over time and are now being challenged to build their competencies and skills including a successful department with a continuing line of successors to help the company keep pace with its growth. The leadership of the company is deeply concerned that complacency should not set in amongst its staff and a laid back, lazy style should not become a norm in the company. Its culture of being high performing should be continued but this is surely possible only if staff are continuously developed and challenged.

 

Fortunately, the company is blessed with a young dynamic leadership and a leader who lead from the front, is smart, decisive, warm and humanistic, with a powerful set of stars in each of the departments emotionally connected with the company and its leadership. They are now being challenged to improve themselves and contribute to the growth of the company. While most of them are highly motivated self-starters, able and willing, there are some who are laggards, plodders, lethargic and who need to be cajoled and appeased to learn and contribute. This is causing some level of concern and disappointment at the leadership level.

 

Sales and Marketing department is headed by Krishnaraj Raghu Singh, a senior professional with over 30 years of experience in the company. Krishnaraj Raghu Singh is responsible for developing and implementing the sales, marketing and client strategies, plans, and campaigns for the company, ensuring the customer satisfaction and loyalty, managing the sales and distribution channels, global offices, and supervising the performance and welfare of the marketing staff.

 

The marketing department consists of about 100 employees, who are divided into three teams: A, B, and C. Each team has a team leader, who reports to Krishnaraj Raghu Singh and coordinates the activities of the team members. The team leaders are Ram Madhavan Nair (Team C), Shyam Debu Sarkar (Team A), and Raju Bangaya Kumar, respectively (Team B).

 

The team members are mostly skilled or highly skilled professionals, who perform various tasks such as market research, product development, pricing, promotion, advertising, sales, distribution, etc. The staff are paid competitive remuneration, for achieving business goals, sales targets, market share growth, profitability, and customer feedback. While money is a definite motivator these professionals look for higher order of motivational needs.

 

Let us examine the different styles of motivational needs of the three team leaders, and how they affect their leadership styles, their team dynamics, and their performance outcomes.

 

Factors and Facts regarding Problem Statement

 

The company is on a high growth trajectory. Critical investments have been made to build manufacturing capability plus new products to make this growth happen. The global market is ripe with untapped potential growth opportunities. The sales and marketing team supported ably by other departments need to work cohesively to achieve ambitious targets. It is critical to have all leaders and teams aligned with one vision and a coherent action plan to achieve its goals and targets. Everything is now upto this sales and marketing team.

 

The problem is caused by the following factors:

 

The different styles of motivational needs of the three team leaders: According to the Need Theory of Motivation by David McClelland, there are three types of motivational needs that drive human behavior at work: the need for achievement, the need for affiliation, and the need for power. The need for achievement is the desire to excel, to accomplish challenging goals, and to receive feedback and recognition. The need for affiliation is the desire to belong, to cooperate, and to maintain harmonious relationships. The need for power is the desire to influence, to lead, and to control others or situations. The theory suggests that different people have different levels and combinations of these needs, and that these needs influence their motivation, behavior, and performance at work.

 

There are three team leaders have different styles of motivational needs, and that these needs affect their leadership styles, their team dynamics, and their performance outcomes.

 

The team leaders are:

 

1.     Ram Madhavan Nair: Ram Madhavan Nair has a high need for achievement, and a low need for affiliation and power. He is motivated by challenging and realistic goals, and by feedback and recognition for his achievements. He adopts a task-oriented and result-oriented leadership style, where he focuses on the quality and quantity of the work and sets high standards and expectations for himself and his team. He is also self-reliant and independent and prefers to work alone or with competent and competitive people. He does not care much about the social or emotional aspects of the work and does not seek or offer much support or assistance to others. He is confident and optimistic and takes calculated risks and initiatives to achieve his goals - Ram Madhavan Nair (Team C)

 

2.     Shyam Debu Sarkar: Shyam Debu Sarkar has a high need for affiliation, and a low need for achievement and power. He is motivated by belonging and cooperating with others, and by maintaining harmonious and friendly relationships. He adopts a people-oriented and relationship-oriented leadership style, where he focuses on the well-being and satisfaction of his team and builds trust and rapport with them. He is also cooperative and collaborative and prefers to work in groups or with like-minded and agreeable people. He cares a lot about the social and emotional aspects of the work and seeks and offers a lot of support and assistance to others. He is cautious and conservative and avoids conflicts and risks that may jeopardize his relationships. Shyam Debu Sarkar (Team A).

 

3.     Raju Bangaya Kumar: Raju Bangaya Kumar has a high need for power, and a low need for achievement and affiliation. He is motivated by influencing and leading others, and by controlling the situations and outcomes. He adopts an authoritarian and directive leadership style, where he makes all the decisions, imposes all the rules and policies, and monitors and evaluates all the activities of his team. He is also dominant and assertive and prefers to work with submissive and obedient people. He does not care much about the quality or quantity of the work and does not provide or receive much feedback or recognition. He is ambitious and aggressive and takes risks and initiatives to gain more power and authority. Raju Bangaya Kumar, respectively (Team B).

 

The teams are:

 

Team A: Shyam Debu Sarkar (Team A) - Team A consists of 40 employees, who are mostly high achievers, who have a high need for achievement, and a low need for affiliation and power. They are motivated by challenging and realistic goals, and by feedback and recognition for their achievements.  They prefer a task-oriented and result-oriented leadership style, where the team leader sets high standards and expectations, and provides regular and constructive feedback and recognition. They are also self-reliant and independent and prefer to work alone or with competent and competitive people. They do not care much about the social or emotional aspects of the work, and do not seek or offer much support or assistance to others. They are confident and optimistic and take calculated risks and initiatives to achieve their goals.

 

Team B: Raju Bangaya Kumar, respectively (Team B). - Team B consists of 30 employees, who are mostly high affiliators, who have a high need for affiliation, and a low need for achievement and power. They are motivated by belonging and cooperating with others, and by maintaining harmonious and friendly relationships. They prefer a people-oriented and relationship-oriented leadership style, where the team leader focuses on the well-being and satisfaction of the team and builds trust and rapport with them. They are also cooperative and collaborative and prefer to work in groups or with like-minded and agreeable people. They care a lot about the social and emotional aspects of the work and seek and offer a lot of support and assistance to others. They are cautious and conservative and avoid conflicts and risks that may jeopardize their relationships.

 

Team C: Ram Madhavan Nair (Team C) - Team C consists of 30 employees, who are mostly high-power seekers, who have a high need for power, and a low need for achievement and affiliation. They are motivated by influencing and leading others, and by controlling the situations and outcomes. They prefer an authoritarian and directive leadership style, where the team leader makes all the decisions, imposes all the rules and policies, and monitors and evaluates all the activities of the team. They are also dominant and assertive and prefer to work with submissive and obedient people. They do not care much about the quality or quantity of the work, and do not provide or receive much feedback or recognition. They are ambitious and aggressive and take risks and initiatives to gain more power and authority.

 

Problem Statement Summarized - The poor fit and alignment between the team leaders and their teams:

 

Due to the different styles of motivational needs of the team leaders, there is a poor fit and alignment between the team leaders (Ram Madhavan Nair (Team C), Shyam Debu Sarkar (Team A), and Raju Bangaya Kumar, respectively (Team B) and their teams. The teams have different characteristics, preferences, and expectations from their team leaders, and the team leaders have different approaches, methods, and behaviors towards their teams. The team is energized by a variety of motivational drivers which needs to be understand and managed.


In addition, Krishnaraj Raghu Singh has his challenges too. The motivational challenges, misunderstanding of what drives each of his team members and alignment leads to mismatch, misunderstanding, and conflict between the team leaders and their teams, and between the teams and Krishnaraj Raghu Singh.


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PART B


TEAM PROBLEM ANALYSIS


Ram Madhavan Nair and Team C: Ram Madhavan Nair, the achiever, and Team C with a need for high power have a POOR fit and and alignment, as they do not have similar styles of motivational needs. They have inconsistent preferences and expectations from each other.  Ram is achievement oriented while his team likes power and control. They rarely work well together, and do not achieve high levels of productivity, quality, and satisfaction owing to the team wanting to dominate their situation, wherever they may be, whereas Ram wants them to focus on targets to achieve. They do not have a high degree of mutual respect, trust, and confidence because each of the team members wants to control the situation and supervise others. Each of them is jostling with one another for leadership roles. Some degree of conflict or dissatisfaction exists. They are not the most successful and effective team in the marketing department, and rarely meet their sales targets and customer feedback.


Shyam Debu Sarkar and Team A: Shyam Debu Sarkar with affiliation orientation, and Team A with a high need for achievement, have an INEFFECTIVE fit and professional alignment, as they do not have like minded leadership styles of motivational needs. They have dissimilar preferences and expectations from each other. They do not work well together as they have not learnt how to work like a team and are unable to achieve high levels of productivity, quality, and satisfaction. They have a challenging degree of mutual support, cooperation, and friendship, often borne by conflicts and a high degree of confrontation or dissatisfaction. Being individual contributors they are the rarely harmonious and cohesive as a team, not that they cannot but need to be managed,  in the marketing department, and often find it a challenge to meet their sales targets and customer feedback. The team is achievement oriented and can achieve their targets but Shyam’s insistence on team working and team collaboration for each and everything pulls the team down as a whole. Relatively this team is the most successful amongst the three teams.


Raju Bangaya Kumar and Team B: Raju Bangaya Kumar, a power driver, and Team B with an affiliation need, have a CHALLENGING – inappropriate fit and misalignment, as they have conflicting - opposing styles of motivational needs, and different preferences and expectations from each other. While Raju enjoys power the team is highly affiliation oriented. As a team they work very well together, and achieve high levels of productivity, quality, and satisfaction but find it a huge challenge to work with Raju, their boss. As a team without the boss, they have a high degree of mutual competition. But with the boss in the middle, they have some degree of hostility, and resentment, lack of mutual trust, loyalty, and commitment. They are the most functional and effective team in the marketing department, and often meet close to they're their sales targets and some positive customer feedback. If it wasn’t for their boss, they would achieve more.


Krishnaraj Raghu Singh and the three teams:


  1. Krishnaraj Raghu Singh has a reasonably balanced need for achievement, affiliation, and power, and he is motivated by a combination of challenging and realistic goals, harmonious and friendly relationships, and influencing and leading others.

  2. He adopts a balanced and flexible leadership style, where he tries to accommodate and integrate the different needs and preferences of the team leaders and their teams, and to provide them with a variety of incentives and environments.

  3. However, his leadership style is often ineffective and inconsistent, as he fails to understand and appreciate the different styles of motivational needs of the team leaders and their teams, and to provide them with the appropriate incentives and environments that suit their needs. He is torn between the styles of his immediate direct reports viz a viz the actual sales team and their motivations.

  4. His challenge now is to gain clarity on the motivational styles of his team members in such a way that he can adapt his style to suit their needs while at the same time provide them goals, targets, tasks and things to do that keep them engaged and energized.

  5. He also faces difficulties and conflicts in managing and coordinating the three teams, as they have different goals, interests, and expectations, and different levels of productivity, quality, and satisfaction.

  6. He is often unable to achieve the desired results and outcomes for the sales and marketing department and the company, although the team is eminently capable of exceeding targets every time.

  7. While his direct reports and their teams have their own preferred style of motivation, he is aware that they are extremely open and willing to learn about other forms of motivations to ensure that they are successful in their tasks. He needs to learn HOW TO!

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