The submissions for this assignment are posts in the assignment’s discussion. Below are the discussion posts for Richard Bocchinfuso, or you can view the full discussion.
What is the critical issue with the Clark Faucet Company case?
- Clark Faucet had a consumer product line which placed manufacturing focus on artful design which drove a higher price while their marketing efforts and customer based was commercial focused where cost was the key driver. (Kerzner, 2017, p. 7)
- Clark Faucet had a noncooperative culture. Engineering and marketing did not work collaboratively and their relationship was adversarial. Any attempt to create project or program teams failed which led to a fractured organization, unilateral decision making and fiefdom building. (Kerzner, 2017, p. 7)
- Ultimately this boils down to a lack of communication, strategy, focus, and prioritization.
What can be done about it?
- Regroup, reset, and recognize that the adversarial relationship which had developed between engineering and marketing is the direct result of Clark Faucet not knowing who they are as a company. Clark Faucet needs to find their true north, focus, set priorities and execute. Designing, engineering, and manufacturing artful faucets in 25 different colors while marketing at tradeshows to commercial consumers which creates 375 projects with poor execution was not a result of marketing failing engineering or engineering failing marketing, but rather a poor corporate strategy due to an identity crisis. Solve the identity crisis and a lot can be accomplished. (Kerzner, 2017, p. 7)
Can excellence in project management still be achieved, and, if so, how?
- Yes! Excellence in project management can be achieved it merely requires focus, realistic expectations, and execution. I have not seen Clark Faucet’s SKUs, I don’t know Clark Faucet’s customer base, and I have not seen Clark Faucent’s financials, but I have seen Clark Faucet and I would be willing to bet that the “Pareto principle” (Links to an external site.) is alive and well in their business. Recalibrating and focusing is probably easier than it seems.
What steps would you recommend?
- Change the culture through executive leadership. Mandates will not work, the culture is way past authoritative management, true leadership is needed.
- Executive leadership needs to focus the organization on the 20% of the business that drives 80% of the revenue.
- Is Clark Faucet a consumer or a commercial company?
- How many SKUs should Clark Faucet design and manufacture?
- Executive leadership needs to take ownership of the cultural problems which are largely the result of executive leaderships lack of a true north and breeding a culture of trying to do too much and doing none of it well.
- Follow Jack Welch’s advice: “Great cultures deliver great numbers. Great numbers don’t deliver great cultures.” – Jack Welch
- “Soft culture matters as much as hard numbers. And if your company’s culture is to mean anything, you have to hang — publicly — those in your midst who would destroy it. It’s a grim image, we know. But the fact is, creating a healthy, high-integrity organizational culture is not puppies and rainbows… An organization’s culture is not about words at all. It’s about behavior — and consequences. It’s about every single individual who manages people knowing that his or her key role is that of chief values officer…” – Jack and Suzy Welch, Fortune Magazine Op-Ed
- “Zone to Win” meaning realize that innovation and execution are different aspects of the business and you have to zone organizational resource and align objectives to win.
What obstacles exist in getting marketing and engineering to agree to a single methodology?
- The biggest obstacle is the existing culture and adversarial relationship which has developed between marketing and engineering. Executive leadership needs to own this, clearly define the mission and values of the organization and empower chief value officers throughout the organization. If the vice presidents of marketing and engineering can’t get onboard they probably need to be publicly hung. IMO none of the higher-level cultural changes required to transform Clark Faucet can occur without a clear focus and the proper organizational structure.
Lastly, did anyone else find the juice the “procurement manager” had in the case study a bit overreaching and was anyone else as aggravated by the executive management approach here?
Denning, S. (2012, May 16). Jack Welch, GE, and the Corporate Practice of Public Hangings. Retrieved October 24, 2018, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevedenning/2012/04/26/jack-welch-ge-the-corporate-practice-of-public-hangings/#6996b49e5ccb
Irvine, D. (2015, July 23). Another Lesson From Jack Welch: Culture Is as Critical as Results. Retrieved October 24, 2018, from https://www.tlnt.com/another-lesson-from-jack-welch-culture-is-as-critical-as-results/
Kerzner, H. (2017). Project Management Case Studies (5th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated.
Moore, G. A. (2015). Zone to win: Organizing to compete in an age of disruption. New York: DiversionBooks.
Thanks, Scott. This one was an interesting one for a couple of reasons. I am big on culture above all else and this discussion made me think back to our organizational behavior class. Interestingly enough I read an article the other day on Gizmodo entitled “Working at Netflix Sounds Like Hell”. (Jone, 2018) It’s funny how a few years ago the Internet and Silicon Valley was celebrating the Netflix culture and today the articles have shifted to likening the Netflix culture to hell. I am sure the 50/50 opinion rule is in effect here, the rule I try to live by as a leader is to always eat last. Like Simon Sinek says “Leadership is about taking responsibility for lives and not numbers.” As someone who served our country, I am sure you can appreciate this sentiment. I think this gets lost in business. Another great Simon Sinek quote that you’ll probably appreciate is from his Ted Talk “Why good leaders make you feel safe” and it reads like this “You know, in the military, they give medals to people who are willing to sacrifice themselves so that others may gain. In business, we give bonuses to people who are willing to sacrifice others so that we may gain.” (Sinek, 2014) In our rapidly changing purpose-driven culture I expect that the Netflix-esque cultures which are void of empathy will continue to come under fire.
- As for who should be publically hung, in order of priority:
Executive leadership. The case study oozes authoritative executive management rather than leadership. This is apparent in the approach of mandating that the PMO solves what are obviously cultural issues. What we don’t know about Clark Faucet is if there is a board of directors or if it is a sole proprietorship with no one who can conduct the public hanging.
- The procurement manager, just because this person annoyed me in the case study and I think they need their wings clipped. No procurement manager should have this much juice. 🙂
Jones, R. (2018, October 26). Working at Netflix Sounds Like Hell. Retrieved October 28, 2018, from https://gizmodo.com/working-at-netflix-sounds-like-hell-1830020977
Sinek, S. (2014). Transcript of “Why good leaders make you feel safe”. Retrieved October 28, 2018, from https://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_why_good_leaders_make_you_feel_safe/transcript
Professor Knight, I think the sort of personal bonding you describe is an absolute requirement to develop high performing teams. For the last twelve year’s I have made Presidents Club at my company, this is a boondoggle where “high performers” are taken to exotic destinations. The first couple of years I turned down the event and in year three (2010), I was asked why I decline the invite, this prompted a Jerry Maguire style memo explaining that no one person holds this much value, that my job as a leader is to mentor others and I find the message that Presidents Club sends to be a negative one. I went on to explain that the team is more important than rewarding any one individual, especially the leader who should be eating last. This ended with my company taking the thousands of dollars they would spend on this trip for me and my spouse and allowing me to do a trip for my entire team, this has become something we have done for the past nine years and it’s part of our culture of inclusion, setting the expectation that we are in this together and that everyone is expected to work hard, of course, there are varying skill levels, but this has no bearing on value to the team because the expectation is that everyone is a rockstar in their give swimlane.
This year we held our annual two-day event in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Two days of team bonding built around the idea of loving what we do. Each attendee was required to build something using a Raspberry Pi (Links to an external site.) and present why they chose the project, the development process and demo their creation to the team. Here is a time-lapse video from the event:
Scott, I enjoyed reading your analysis. Couldn’t agree more that there is a glaring lack of leadership at Clark Faucet. I liked your commentary on scorched earth and the bat persuasion approach. I was reminded of this scene from “The Untouchables”.
Maybe a company screening of “The Untouchables” is in order at Clark Faucet.
I am also reminded of one of my favorite documentary series, “The Men Who Built America” (Links to an external site.) and a question I often ask myself “What would Henry Clay Frick (Links to an external site.) do?”
Denise, I enjoyed reading your analysis, well done. Do you think that communication is the root cause or is the lack of communication and the adversarial relationship that exists between marketing and engineering really just a symptom of lack of an organizational true north, a lack of a corporate identity and subsequently the lack of a corporate culture? Is the critical issue not a lack of leadership and nonexistent corporate culture? The case study shows a clear inability by executive management to focus the company, wanting to serve both the consumer and commercial markets, but lacking scale to do so has created a culture vacuum where engineering is trying to figure out how to develop and sustain dozens of SKUs catering to a consumer market, while marketing is saying the commercial market and trade shows is where the revenue resides and engineering should be focused here. Not even sure what the procurement manager is doing, other than annoying me and probably everyone at Clark Faucet who are also wondering why this person has so much authority.
The root cause of the fracture in my mind is easy to solve, focus the company, jettison the focus on the consumer market and go all in on the commercial market. This is the fulcrum upon which executive management can pivot and establish a true north, reset the corporate identity and begin to build a culture of teamwork focused on a clear and common goal, to dominate the commercial faucet market. IMO without this level of executive focus and cultural leadership, a PMO will be totally ineffective.
Mary Jo Hatch, Majken Schultz, (1997) “Relations between organizational culture, identity and image”, European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 31 Issue: 5/6, pp.356-365, https://doi.org/10.1108/eb060636