This case is talking about an executive retreat. It was introduced by John Matthews who was a executive had been selected to attend the two-and-a-half-week retreat. The retreat was more like a competition about academic and athletic. The team members should not only get know each other and cooperate with teammates but also need to compete with others. The whole participants were broken into five groups and their aim was to win the competition. There are several sessions about academic and athletic that the participants should complete. After the introduction part the case showed the experience of John.
Before the group meeting John was wondering and worried about this retreat. When he was taking the first group meeting, he tried to learn the backgrounds of other team members. And the he paid more attention to learn about his team leader. Besides introducing the team leader the case also showed the retreat’s theme was Think-Communicate-Cooperate. It meaned people who attend this retreat should think less about themselves and try to communicate and assistant to others. And then John showed his recollections of the members in his group individually. There are twelve members in his group.
Everyone in his group had different characteristics. After group meeting they set up four basic goals about this retreat. In the second part of this case was a chart of first day’s seating arrangement and their performance of the first few days. Even though the first days’ results were not very good, the whole group still worked on their original goals. In the last part of the case was another chart that showed the last few days seating arrangement and the group performance about this whole retreat. Their goals made before the retreat almost all defeated. Even though John thought he improved, the whole group failed.
Question 1 Wally was the first leader. He had no formal training, so it made him reluctant. Then he treated everyone carefully. His behavior showed that he may be a kind mind man. Dave had a good writing ability even though he had no formal training either. He had experience as a corporate president which few of the members had had. Jim can analyse finance. He was not much interested in the retreat. Bob managed production and operations for a producer. He claimed to be an authority on most subjects even though these appeared to be conceited. Larry had a liberal arts background and high educate degree.
His speaking ability was good. Rich had both good speaking and writing abilities. He could assume the leader’s role. Wayne was an average student and the most naive member. Ollie had the ability that performed many odd jobs and leaded the victories. Gary was thought could be the emergency leader of the group. He had the ability that encourage people even though he failed himself. Burrell was reliable and he coached basketball well. He could handled that if something goes wrong. Paul was an average student. He complained a lot, however he tried to promote the function of the whole group.
It showed that he was very serious about this retreat. For convenience, the group leader set up 4 goals for the whole retreat. And he arranged the seat by person’s age and experience. Maybe this is the way the leader thought they can cooperate with each other. They tried to maintain an harmonious relationship between the members. They made a lot efforts to make the one who left the group at the beginning feel comfortable. And they tried not to make a big deal out of some serious personality problems. However the after a few days working, most of time they clashed each other.
They all very strong in their own area, however they had no organization and the system that can lead the whole group to achieve the goals. And their leadership was weak. The first leader can not make the justified action because he was afraid of hurting someone. Athletic leaders’ courage was a short time thing, it’s not very not useful. Someone even was suspected cheating in the retreat.
Question 2 At the beginning of the retreat, the team leader already told the key to ‘the camp’ is cooperate and function as a group. So the tasks needed that the participants should have the basic ability of working together.
The point of this retreat is that men should no longer think of themselves as individuals. This program also needed the participants have strong stamina because the retreat had several athletic parts. One of the parts was running 25 miles, the other was some ball games. For passing the academic part every one should have good abilities of writing and speaking. In this group almost everyone had at least normal speaking and writing skills. So at last even they were lacking strong leadership in education, they still had third of the members achieved good scores in the class. In the group, Rich and Larry had outstanding academic skills.
After the retreat everyone went separate ways in reaching the goals. Question 3 Some members’ personalities hurt the group performance. If I can choose who to leave the group and to keep in the group. Firstly I will let Jim go, because he did not care what the group achieved. His negative attitude did not help the team on the contrary it hurt the group members. Keeping him in the group can not help. The other one who I will let go is Bob. Coincidently these two guys are both bachelor. Maybe this is the reason why they acted like a playboy. Even though Jim’s attitude was not very good, Bob had a problem of personality.
He was suspected of cheating which was a very serious problem. Because no matter how much you want to win, you should win fairly. Ollie is the first one I want to keep in this team. He performed many odd jobs which showed he had ability of creation. He also leaded the team to two victories. I can tell from that he also had the ability of leadership. These two characters are what the tasks required. So letting him stay in the group can make benefit for the group. Rich had a good educated background and was considered as one of the better prospects. He had his own thoughts and spoke out his idea which made a lot of sense.
This means that he can achieve to the team with something useful. It is good to draw on the wisdom of the masses. Even Rich never did maintain his hold as leader, he still assumed the leader role in two major exercises. It showed when something happened need somebody stand out, he will be the perfect choice. Every group should have someone for emergency. Apparently Rich is the one in this case. In addition to these four person, others also can be kept in the group even they were not the first choice. Every other person in this group had some good abilities, however they also had some weaknesses.
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