The purpose of this project is to apply leadership concepts to a crisis leadership situation and to make recommendations for a crisis-ready culture.
The key to doing well in this assignment is to use course materials from all seven weeks. While there is a focus on Week 7 content, students are expected to apply the concepts learned from weeks 1 through 6 as well. Moreover, students are expected to apply examples from the case scenario to concepts learned from the course materials. Students will not need to use course materials outside of those provided in this classroom, so use of any other course materials should be highly discouraged.
A Snapshot of the Case and the Underlying Issues:
This case focuses on a crisis that was created because of poor leadership decisions and behaviors. The decisions made by Higgins created the problem, but at the core of this problem was the poor leadership of Brown. Higgins made a decision to purchase genetically modified Echinacea for short-term gain. She made this decision without consulting with anyone. But the crisis could have been prevented by Brown. Brown demonstrated:
- the wrong leadership style in giving Higgins free rein
- low emotional intelligence by not demonstrating control of his emotions and not managing conflict well
- that he was not an Authentic leader, in that he didn’t clearly communicate the values most important to him and to Biotech (the core values). Knowing that the core values would have possibly allowed Higgins to reframe her decision making (in other words she would have understood sustainability and customer-centricity come before short term profits). Moreover, Brown did not take ownership of the problem – another sign of an unauthentic leader.
Finally, this case demonstrates what can happen when culture, structure, and strategy do not align. After working through these leadership issues, students will provide recommendations to make Biotech crisis-ready.
You are also completing this project to help you develop the skills of analysis, critical thinking, and writing a report. Writing is critical because in business it is important to convey information clearly and concisely and to develop a personal brand. Developing a personal brand is important because it is the ongoing process of establishing an image or impression in the minds of others especially those in positions above you. Having a strong personal brand can lead to opportunities that include promotions.
Skills: Writing, Critical Thinking, Developing a Personal Brand, Situational Analysis, Writing a Report.
Outcomes Met With This Project:
- use leadership theories, assessment tools, and an understanding of the role of ethics, emotional intelligence, cultural intelligence, competencies, values, and attitudes to evaluate and enhance personal leadership skills
- assess the interactions between the external environment and within an organization to foster responsible and effective leadership and organizational practices
- Develop individual awareness, style and communication skills that enhance leadership skills
- Integrate and apply analytical principles and concepts of leadership to make strategic decisions.
Step 1: The Scenario
Read the Case Scenario that follows and answer Mr. Barney’s questions in the form of a report. Address the report to Mr. Barney.
You walk into your office one morning and see an article on your desk. You pick it up and realize that Mr. Barney, the CEO, placed it there! He also has some questions on a post-it note and a request for recommendations.
Max Barney was exhausted. He had just finished a long meeting with his current VP of Headquarter Operations, Michael Brown. Michael, who was himself getting ready for retirement, was giving Barney a rundown of a recent crisis that impacted the company. While the dust seemed to be settling, Barney recognized that this was one of the worst things to ever happen to his company.
Michael recalls the crisis in the following way:
“On the morning of January 19th, I got a call from Joanne Edwards, my contact at our major distributor, Happy and Healthy Foodmart. She told me that three of her customers had complained that Biotech’s echinacea had made them ill. I called our legal department immediately to put them on alert. By noon that day, the number of reported illnesses had risen to seven. By January 22nd, the worst possible news came in – one of those people had actually died.
I called my team together immediately to come up with a plan for an immediate Recall. We needed to manage this crisis with our employees, our distributors, and most of all our customers. Controlling the message to the public and the media was critical. We’d had Recalls before, but never in reaction to a customer death. This was a whole new ball game for us.
Once the Recall had been put in place, we needed to get to the bottom of the echinacea problem. We started looking at the suppliers and ended up in the Purchasing Department. When we discovered that Henrietta Higgins, the Assistant Director of Purchasing, had cut a deal with a new supplier I became furious, Max. I mean, it was not one of my proudest moments.”
“That’s understandable,” replied Max, “go on. Tell me more.”
“Well, Higgins received an offer from a new supplier to buy genetically modified echinacea. She explained that she thought it was a good move because it would save the company over 20% on the wholesale price. She made the decision unilaterally, Max, without every going to her supervisor or to me to discuss it.”
“What did you do when you found this out?” asked Max.
“I fired her, of course. We had no other choice, Max. It’s because of her we have this crisis. And on top of that, we’ve decided to halt all sales of all echinacea in the foreseeable future.”
“Who’s we?” Max asked, with concern in his voice now.
“My team, of course. I told my managers about my decision and they’re all behind me 100%. We all know how important it is to act quickly in this situation, Max. You can trust me to turn this situation around.”
Max left the meeting sure about two things. First, he was secretly relieved that Michael was nearing retirement. The new VP of Headquarter Operations could start fresh. Second, he had just finished reading an article about a “Crisis Ready Culture”. He knew that it was time for Biotech to start developing a crisis-ready culture.
Max drops by your office with a copy of that article. He has a post-it note on the article, with the following questions and a request for recommendations:
- What Leadership Styles were used in the recent echinacea crisis? Discuss the leadership style of every person involved.
- What Leadership Styles would be most beneficial in a crisis-ready culture?
- What leadership competencies were evident in the recent echinacea crisis? Discuss the leadership competencies of every person involved.
- What leadership competencies would be most needed in a crisis-ready culture?
- What role did Emotional Intelligence (or lack of Emotional Intelligence) play in the echinacea crisis?
- What role would Emotional Intelligence play in a crisis-ready culture?
- What role did Authentic Leadership (or lack of it) play in the Echinacea crisis?
- What role would Authentic Leadership play in a crisis-ready culture?
- What role (if any) did Biotech’s current culture play in the Echinacea crisis?
- How can Biotech align its current strategy, culture and organizational structure to develop a crisis-ready culture?
- Give three specific and actionable recommendations that could be implemented to develop acrisis-ready culture for Biotech. (Each recommendation should be supported by course materials).
Step 2. The Questions to Answer
You will answer the 11 questions above provided in Step 1.
Step 3. Write the Report.
Create a Word or Rich Text Format (RTF) report should be no more than seven (7) pages double-spaced, Times New Roman-12 points font. Those five pages do not include therequired Title Page, Reference Page and Appendix. You will use the following format.
The report should use Roman Numeral numbering for each section and answer each of Mr. Barney’s questions, as follows:
- The Leadership Styles demonstrated in the recent echinacea crisis. Provide evidence for your claims from the case scenario and support your claim with course material.
- The Leadership Styles that would be most beneficial in a crisis-ready culture. Support your reasoning with course materials.
- The leadership competencies that were evident in the recent echinacea crisis. Provide evidence for your claims from the case scenario and support your claim with course materials.
- The leadership competencies that would be most needed in a crisis-ready culture. Support your reasoning and conclusions with course materials.
- The role that Emotional Intelligence (or lack of Emotional Intelligence) played in the echinacea crisis. Provide evidence for your claims from the case scenario and support your claim with course materials.
- The role that E.Q. would play in a crisis-ready culture. Support your reasoning and conclusions with course materials.
- The role that Authentic Leadership (or lack of it ) played in the Echinacea crisis. Provide evidence for your claims from the case scenario and support your claim with course materials.
- The role that Authentic Leadership would play in a crisis-ready culture. Support your reasoning and conclusions with course materials.
- The role (if any) that Biotech’s current culture played in the Echinacea crisis. Provide evidence for your claims from the case scenario and Biotech Company Profile and support your claim with course materials.
- How Biotech can align its current strategy, culture and organizational structure to develop this crisis-ready culture. Support your analysis with course materials.
- Three specific and actionable recommendations that Biotech leadership could implement to develop this crisis-ready culture. (Each recommendation should be supported by course materials). Make sure these three recommendations are actionable (in other words, leadership can take your advice and put it into practice immediately) and specific (in other words, not too general that it cannot be easily understood). For example, “change leadership style” is not actionable today, and too general to be clearly understood. However, “train leaders on different leadership styles” can be put into practice today and is specific enough to be understood. (Do not use this example in your answer!).
- Reference Page – provide references to match your in-text citations, written in APA format.
Step 4. Submit the Completed Report in the Assignment Folder.
Submitting the project to the Assignment Folder is considered the student’s final product and therefore ready for grading by the instructor. It is incumbent upon the student to verify the assignment is the correct submission. No exceptions will be considered by the instructor.
Other Required Elements:
- Read the grading rubric for the project. Use the grading rubric while completing the project to ensure all requirements are met that will lead to the highest possible grade.
- Contractions are not used in business writing, so do not use them.
- Paraphrasing is allowed. Direct quotes are not allowed. You do not need to cite or reference this leader for the purposes of this report.
- Direct quotes are NOT allowed if they are quotation from course materials. This means you do not use more than four consecutive words from a source document, but put a passage from a source document into your own words and attribute the passage to the source document, using in-text citations in APA format. Changing words from a passage does not exclude the passage from having quotation marks. If more than four consecutive words are used from source documents, this material will not be included in the grade and could lead to allegations of academic dishonesty.
- In-text citations should be included in ALL SECTIONS of the report, and should demonstrate application of the course material. Note that a reference within a reference list cannot exist without an associated in-text citation and vice versa.
- You may only use the course material from the classroom. You may not use books or any resource from the Internet.
- Provide the page or paragraph number, where applicable.