Erik Peterson Case - Hbr

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Erik Peterson Case September 13, 2011 1. Top two problems facing Erik Peterson? 1) Lack of communication from frontline workers to Curt Andrews (and thus Erik) in providing tower building status, updates, or needs. Erik seems hampered at quickly knowing exactly where the 21 towers stand. 2) Lack of clear or established boundaries in authority, responsibility and accountability in the role of General Manager from executive management down to Erik. Erik is making decisions, such as salary for new employees and tackling potential zoning problems, that are then questioned (or ignored) by headquarters, calling into question Erik's authority and undermining the success of the operation. 2. What are the underlying causes of these problems? 1) It is apparent from the lack of receiving critical information that frontline construction workers / managers are either not aware of (or buy into) the aggressive timeframe for completing the towers. They also appear to lack a clear method to communicate issues beyond the weekly status meetings. While some of the strongest positive feedback received for Erik has been the organization of these meetings, there appears to be a disconnect in how they are perceived: Construction attendees apparently believe this is where all status, including emergencies, are communicated; Erik and Curt appear to expect it as a routine checkpoint with no surprises. 2) Erik's manager, Jeff Hardy, has not done well at clarifying the General Manager's role, or in helping Erik establishing boundaries for the position. No one has put the brakes on Erik's actions, implying agreement. Some of Erik's ideas, such as working with local public officials, are creative, and presumably if this is out of alignment with HQ's approaches, Jeff should have stepped in to establish earlier a stronger channel of communication. It makes no difference

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