Question

Use the reading: Building an Effective Global Business Team and answer the following questions:

1. What is your evaluation of the MGI team's process? What were the causes of the team's process problems?
2. What are the strengths of the MGI team? How would you have evaluated the MGI team "on paper," that is before their first meeting?
3. Were the differences among the team members a liability or an asset?
4. What could Henry have done earlier to avoid the team's problems?
5. At the end of the case, what actions could Henry have taken to increase the team's effectiveness?

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1. What is your evaluation of the MGI team's process? What were the causes of the team's process problems?

The MGI Team’s process was largely ineffective as evidenced by their lack of progress over time. Relatively little was accomplished just weeks before the business plan contest deadline. Although the team met regularly, decisions were not made regarding important aspects of the project. Which market(s) they should focus on needed to be established early on so that the business plan could be built on this critical assumption. MGI cofounder’s had originally indicated that they might want to focus on the education market, and Henry’s (and Dana’s) research supported this goal, but later the founders shifted their sights to the entertainment market and this led to disagreement among the team members.

A major reason for the lack of decision making (poor process) was the inability to share a common goal. The HBS students’ primary goal was to win the business plan contest whereas the MGI founders’ goal was to look at the longer-term prospects of the company. This in turn led to conflict and a lack of trust which then led to difficulties in making decisions.

Whereas oftentimes a true team will share leadership roles, sometimes a project is better served by one clear leader. In this case, it was difficult for the project members to share a leadership roles because one clear goal was not shared among the members. In particular, there was a clear divide between Henry’s vision (and Dana, the other HBS student) and Sasha’s vision (the business person of the three co-founding MGI partners). Sasha dismissed Dana’s ideas and both Dana and Henry came into the project with preconceived notions that were dismissive of Sasha. (They believed his background to be “unconventional” and not what is expected of a HBS grad.) The tension was most evident between Sasha and Dana, but the leadership role was a struggle between Sasha and Henry....

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