Free Essay

Team Collapse

In: Business and Management

Submitted By MelN817
Words 891
Pages 4
Role: James Michaels – senior associate/manager
* Audit team for Spector falling apart * Team members had difficulty completing work * Arvind Patel (co-op student) complained consistently; always needed Ellis’ help – rumored to shirk work previously * Adrian Noth (co-op student) – rumored to shirk work previously * Caleb Oldman (co-op student) – publicly wished to join Alpha LLP (competitor firm) * Jody Ellis & Kira Dee (both senior associates) – escorted out by security; appeared to have been fired despite their outstanding past performances– both recently failed CA qualification exams * Scott Ireland & Heather Goodman (junior associates) – both writing CA exams soon worried about being fired if they didn’t pass – performance reviews assessed by ability to complete work efficiently and help senior associates * Requested adding new team members to help with work – request was denied by Adam Nguyen and Feldman (both senior managers) * Animosity between people who took work home vs. people who stayed at work * Received information late by Spector; later received different/new information * Senior managers/associates ignored Michaels doubts – didn’t address issues * Wood – partner of the firm and in charge of the Spector audit

1. Was the team destined for failure? Who or what is to blame for the failure?
No, based off the team’s past performance, it seemed as though the job would be similar to other cases they’ve done except for a bigger client during an important time. Also, RWH’s bonus incentive for excellent client service, proper procedures/process, and teamwork, at first glance, seems like it would harbor a good collaborative and efficient working culture.

However, it seems as though at the start of the Spector audit, things weren’t as normal and this case would end up disastrous. I think it started with the whole “passing of leadership” from Ellis (when she took her leave) to Watson (Emma Watson) because the planning process seemed as though ONLY Watson worked on it – which meant that NONE of the associates actually knew enough about the Spector audit plan. However, I don’t think you can put the blame on one person – I think it was the perfect combination of systemic risk, individual and team & leadership actions (or lack of, in this case).

2. Was Michael too passive during the audit? How could he have prevented the team from collapsing? Could his leadership alone have prevented the team from collapsing?

I think he was a bit too passive because if he had doubts about being able to complete the audit in time with the financial crisis or if he expected some additional testing needs – he should have communicated this to the managers – Ellis, Nguyen, Feldman because they’re all pretty busy people but, they might not have realized how cumbersome this audit might have turned out. I also think Ellis’ busy schedule also contributed to her not being as focused to the audit – which also meant it was a messier leadership – as many things seemed to be miscommunicated between groups and individuals.

I don’t think that Michaels, alone, could have prevented the team from collapsing. There is no “I” in team – also, a lot of the systemic risks and individual actions would still have impacted the “team failure.”
3. Ellis is the lead senior associate and is accountable to senior members of the team for completing the audit. Should some of this responsibility be shared with Michaels and Dee? What about peer-to-peer responsibility?
I think as the lead senior associate – her amount of responsibility was reasonable; however, taking into consideration that she was trying to pass her CA exam and she didn’t exactly ace the last one, some of her responsibilities should have been shifted to her other senior associates. It may have been better for Ellis, Michaels and Dee to have split the responsibilities (one person be the point of contact with the client, one addressing questions by the junior associates and co-op students, one reporting to Nguyen and Feldman, etc.)
4. To what extent did personal goals derail the team? How can personal goals be aligned with the team’s goals? If they cannot be aligned, what can Michael do to lead the team?

Goodman & Ireland: studying for exams vs. working hours – the anxiousness about being fired for not passing probably over-took their sense of responsibility towards the job.

Nguyen & Feldman: the two other projects vs. Spector – splitting the time between all three probably made it hard to focus. Also with them being all over the place, it is difficult to reach out to them and get the help needed if they don’t have all the context in place.

Ellis & Dee: exams vs. working times and responsibilities – due to work-life balance, both seemed to be unable to “see” or address team issues

I think if Michael really pushed for new team members to help lift the load, I think the personal goals would have been able to be balanced with the team goal – getting the job done in time and efficiently.

5. What kind of conversations should have taken place between the team members? Why did these conversations not take place?
Michaels should have been more proactive in his beliefs; Ellis should have listened and not dismissed him (same with Nguyen). Issues with the auditing work should have been brought up immediately – meetings should have been taken place to re-assign responsibilities/duties.…...

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