Case Analysis Elmer’s Performance
Kathleen, the CIO of a large financial services company, had recently been charged with studying the institution’s IT systems and redesigning it to reduce costs and to make far more services available to their internal and external customers. Focus groups had revealed that private customers and the business community perceived the organization to be falling behind the rest of the industry in terms of the number of services provided and the convenience of getting those services.
Kathleen was hired because of her reputation for developing IT divisions that are on the leading edge, applying innovative technological solutions to create efficiencies in operations at lower costs while also offering innovative services to the organization’s private and business customers. Kathleen carefully assembled a task force that included all the necessary technical disciplines to develop a comprehensive technological plan. One of the people she selected for the group is Elmer, a specialist in developing enhanced features for the company’s IT systems. She picked Elmer because of his systems and network design skills. He is reputed to be not only the best in the company but is recognized as one of the best in the financial industry. While Elmer is a brilliant professional, he has a reputation for arrogance and leaping to conclusions. In addition, his reputation within the organization was less than stellar. In previous projects, he irritated people in those projects by failing to listen and learn about their unique needs and methods of operations. He can be abrupt, difficult to persuade once he makes up his mind, and overly aggressive in discussions designed for problem identification and action planning. The irony of the situation is that Elmer turns out to be right almost every time. People end up happy with the outcome but extremely irritated by the process.
After selecting Elmer, she called him into her office and told him of her concerns about his relationship skills. This project is going to involve working with every function of the organization both internally and externally. The task force is also going to be making a number of contacts with external customers, especially in segments of the business community that offer the greatest opportunities for increased business. She had already heard from some internal customers that they felt Elmer was brilliant but that they didn’t want to have to waste time dealing with his interpersonal quirks. They also expressed concerns that his behavior might alienate external customers to the extent that the organization might lose them, in spite of dramatically enhanced services. Kathleen knew that she had to start getting Elmer under control from the very beginning of the project.
- How would you coach Kathleen to initially approach Elmer?
Three Months Later
After three months, Kathleen had conducted several corrective coaching sessions with him with little success. To date Elmer laughed in Marie’s face after she expressed concern about the new network features. In a condescending manner he explained the process to Marie in a tone of voice that sounded like he was addressing a 5-year old. He embarrassed Marie in front of the task force team, not knowing Marie’s influence with the CEO and four Sr. Vice Presidents. How would you coach Kathleen on how to move forward with Elmer? In your case analysis include:
- How would you conduct a corrective interview with Elmer.
- What impact does Elmer’s action have on his future career.
- How does Elmer’s attitude and performance affect the task force team?
- How does Elmer’s performance affect the organization?
- How should Kathleen address previous unsuccessful corrective coaching sessions?
- What expectations should Kathleen have at the end of this coaching session?
The question belongs to Human Resources Management and it discusses about the importance of relationship skills of an employee and how it can affect co-workers in an organization. An example case study is given and some questions about the case have been answered.
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