Addressing Challenges of Groups and Teams
The WorldCom organization is a perfect example of how poor leadership can misguide a once successful organization down to the ground. Much like the captain of a ship, a preeminent leader sets the course, directs the crew, and ensures everyone emerges through the storm. (Saunders, 2008) Great leaders understand that no matter how well organized; the team they lead will experience challenges and difficlties. After all each team is, comprised of people who are not perfect and who have emotions and needs. In addition to all of the usual issues of teamwork, today’s leaders have to deal with globalization, flatter organizations, outsourcing, and contractors just to name a few things. The leadership team for this organization has recognized the need for an effective training plan in order to accomplish the goals set for the team and the projects they are currently working on.
A part of creating a successful training plan is recognizing the ineffective processes and practices that brought the company to the point of near demise. Some ineffective processes that have been identified by the leadership team are the management team of WorldCom did not take time transition these merged organizations into a smooth functioning business. They leadership team also did not ensure that all GAAP principles were met concerning assets, debts, good will, and other financial factors. Poor integration of the acquired companies resulted in numerous organizational problems such as senior management made little effort to develop a cooperative mindset among the various units of WorldCom and inter-unit struggles were allowed to undermine the development of a unified service delivery network. (Moberg, 2003)
There were major accounting misrepresentations to account for the increasing stock performance. The fraudulent practices were mostly performed by members of the leadership team who would reclassify large amounts as capital expenditures as opposes to classifying them in the correct expense accounts. The organization also made practice of offering loans to senior executives for outrageous percentage rates that were considerably lower than the average consumer was and definitely below the company’s marginal rate of return. The CEO of the organization was extended a loan for $341 million dollars which is one of the largest ever lent to a senior executive. Had these specific behaviors been closely observed, they would prove to be warning signs to the demise of WorldCom as it was once uncovered. The organization was able to recover from it bankruptcy filings but is no longer the powerhouse it once was.
The training program developed by the leadership team focuses on structure and responsibility of the group, team building, conflict resolution, and ethical decision-making. First, the team leader clearly defined the properties of the groups within the organization to add structure and responsibility. The organization will start with the leaders of the team by identifying their roles and clarifying introductions and objectives. The next step in the training program will be the diversity training for the team members. Diversity training is important for understanding strategies for dealing with differences due to culture, generations, and personality types. The next step in the training process is motivating each member of the team. The motivation factor is established based on the team’s diversity and personal characteristics. The next step in the training plan incorporates planning and managing resources and delegating tasks amongst the team members. The team leader after performing the initial assessments for each team member has determined the strengths and weaknesses of each team member. Equipped with this knowledge, the team leader will delegate responsibilities that are deemed the best fit for each team member. This will encourage each team member is focused on performing at their highest level and are likely to succeed.
All of these steps in the training process will allow WorldCom to reorganize the company and to keep each team motivated to keep each other in check. One of the major challenges of coordinating groups and teams is to ensure that the team members know exactly what the overall goal or objective of the task is and how they want to accomplish it by working through the team. The best method of accomplishing this is to provide proper training to ensure that each associate knows what the goal is and what is expected of him or her in the confines of the team. Training programs are revolved around information, which is intended to develop skills, provide a good understanding of the structure of the team and their assignment, and policies that can be easily explained. Nothing is more important to the training and development of a team than to express the importance of good communication. The structure of the team cannot collaborate unless they have a good line of communication.
Poor leadership can lead to chaos within an organization causing employees to lower productivity and feel demoralized. A good leader will have a clearly stated vision plan along with a path that leads to the execution of the proposed plan. Helen Keller was quoted as saying: “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision”. A good vision plan is essentially the roadmap for an organization; the vision ultimately provides comfort to the employees as well as outside stakeholders for any organization. A good leader will not be tossed back and forth with every whim they see, they will proactively seek solutions instead of reacting to situations. Change is going to happen, and it is important to the long-term survival if organizations to adapt. (Saunders, 2008) Excellence in leadership is the key to any organizations success and excellence only comes through, integrity, honesty, and through humility.
Beltran, L. (2002, 22 July). WorldCom files largest bankruptcy ever. Retrieved January 2, 2011, from CNN Money: http://money.cnn.com/2002/07/19/news/worldcom_bankruptcy/
Moberg, D. (2003). Santa Clara University Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. Retrieved January 2, 2011, from WorldCom: http://www.scu.edu/ethics/dialogue/candc/cases/worldcom.html
Saunders, E. G. (2008, August). People Management: Leadership Challenges. Retrieved Jan 2, 2011, from SmartBusiness: Insight. Advice. Strategy: http://www.sbnonline.com/Local/Article/15214/81/139/Leadership_challenges.aspx