Organizational Behavior – Follow chapter 8 for supporting the answers.
Case format uploaded.
Please write down your own analysis, solution, and justification. You should follow the case study (attached on files). Your role is to analyze the situation described in the case and then explain why Doug Rauch’s changing attitudes are right. You should focus on the quality of analysis, not on quantity.
“You’re driving us crazy. You’ve got to back off.”
by Doug Rauch, Trader Joe’s
I’m a recovering controlaholic, as I suspect a lot of C-suite people are. My failure to recognize this problem nearly prevented Trader Joe’s from successfully expanding.
Bringing Trader Joe’s from the West Coast to the East meant we had to hire an entirely new staff. We had to teach everyone the Trader Joe’s buying philosophy, the organizational culture, the details that made us successful. In my mind, no one could do that better than I could, because no one else had the knowledge I did. I happily micromanaged the expansion.
A year or so in, they’d gotten my message just fine. The culture was instilled, the philosophy bought into. Only I didn’t see it. In my zeal to control everything, I failed to notice that it was time to take off the training wheels and let the new staff members grow into their roles. I kept micromanaging. The effect was stifling, especially on our buyers, the heart of our organization. I had always said that a buying team that doesn’t make mistakes isn’t worth a damn, yet I wasn’t letting them make their own mistakes. They started to be afraid to take chances. It was beginning to affect the business.
In my zeal to control everything, I kept micromanaging. The effect was stifling.
Luckily for me, one intrepid senior buyer helped put a stop to all this. She approached me and said, “You’re driving us crazy. You’ve got to back off. We’ll make mistakes, but you’ve got to let us go.”
It was a turning point. I went back to the buying team and admitted my problem. I told them I was “on the wagon” and that I needed them to give me regular feedback or I might fall off. We laughed about it—and the company flourished.
As I worked on letting go, I came to see micromanaging as a failure to let others shine or grow. So instead of fixing problems, I focused on nurturing problem solvers. I turned “Try this” into “What do you think we should try?” I replaced the satisfaction of doing something myself, the way I wanted it done, with the joy of watching others do something their way and succeed.
And that turns out to be far more rewarding.
Source: Harvard Business Review (April 2011)
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