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Andrew Ryan at VC Brakes Case Analysis

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Pinellas County Schools
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  1. What is the case about? Write at least one paragraph for each item
  2. Analyze the major issues or problems from a leadership perspective
  3. Put yourself in the role of the managerial leadership consultant coaching Andrew Ryan

Andrew Ryan is the Senior Manager of Engineering Services at VC Brakes, a manufacturer of automotive brake parts in Middletown, Ohio. Founded in 1985, VC Brakes operated independently and adhered to its traditional top-down authoritative management culture during its first dozen years of operation and through the next thirteen years while under the ownership of major automotive parts supplier Lantana Industrial, which took a hands-off approach to the management of its subsidiaries.

[...] Moreover, as Ryan is well aware from his own experience with the ES team (as well as from Medved's teachings and Ryan's own readings on quality management and the philosophy of participative management), quality initiatives and quality programs work best under conditions of participative management, not authoritative management. Because it largely operated in isolation from the rest of VC Brakes, and because Ryan had the full support and approval of his boss and mentor Medved, his effort with the CCB product innovation was very successful. [...]


[...] Ryan's enthusiasm was tempered, however, by the fact that he would be working under Medved's rival, VP of Operations James Baynard, who had been named (over Medved) to serve as the head of the corporate TQM advisory group. Baynard's management style was the antithesis of Medved's and Ryan suspected the authoritarian, Theory-X style of management and closed-mindedness towards change would filter down through all the team members drawn from operations (including Ryan's counterpart site instructor from operations, John Kante). Some of Ryan's fears proved unfounded. For example, Ryan discovered he was able to work with John Kante. [...]


[...] It will also further Ryan's career, not only at VC Brakes but within the larger Crossroads company and in manufacturing in general, given the importance of TQM. The option also allows Ryan to be true to his beliefs and to uphold his responsibilities to his family. Ryan can mentally set a deadline, a time for when he needs to reassess his decision, and if at that time he decides that the TQM effort is simply untenable, he can begin actively pursuing employment elsewhere or perhaps employment in another division of Crossroads. The downside of this alternative is that it does not come with any guarantees. [...]


[...] Ask how he (Ryan) can help Baynard meet his goals and objectives. Try to get Baynard to talk about his own goals and objectives, as well as the pressures he might be experiencing. Take some time to get a sense of Baynard's preferred work style With Baynard's approval, meet with some senior TQM leaders from Crossroads, soliciting ideas on TQM implementation and barrier-busting techniques Meet regularly (at least once monthly, preferably once weekly) with John Kante from operations (and the other TQM trainer) to brainstorm and strategize about the TQM process Meet regularly (at least once monthly, preferably once weekly) with Baynard, providing updates on progress, reporting roadblocks, requesting support and feedback and offering to assist Baynard In six months, spend a weekend (away from work) reassessing the situation at VC Brakes, the progress (or lack thereof) with the TQM program, the status of work and accomplishments in the ES division, and the health of work relationships (horizontal, downward, upward). [...]


[...] Tell Baynard his decision on the TQM team is final and return his focus to the ES team and hope for the best, while at the same time taking the precaution of updating his resume. This might be called the ?head in the sand? option. Ryan might be able to coast for a little while but his career prospects at VC Brakes as well within the larger Crossroads organization would be forever curtailed. Tell Baynard he has reconsidered and will continue as Trainer on the TQM Team and then begin working on finding another job, giving notice as soon as he finds one. This option involves considerable deception. [...]

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