Henry Tam & the Mgi Team Case

Overall the MGI team’s process was appears ineffective and dysfunctional.

The MGI team comprisedbrought together diverse team members with a variety of professional skill sets. By adding Henry and Dana from HBS, this team attempted to buildt a base to launch the product to the HBS contest. However, the team failed to define formal roles and objectives, and facilitate effective communication. 

First of all, the MGI team did not havelacked any formal structure and leader. Teams comprisednsisted of diverse people definitely need to be structured along with a leader who excels at managinghas a great teams. management skill. Since the team was not structured, each member’s role was never clearly defined from the beginning, as reflected in Henry;s observation,shown “Sasha saw us as interns, while we saw ourselves as leaders and facilitators in shaping the vision” (Polzer et al, 7). Not only did the absence of structure it contributed to team’s ineffectiveness;, but also it also created confusions about the perception of eachthe team member’s role. For example, when Dav joined the team, Henry and Dana doubted the intentions of the team founders when they themselves got hired due to no clear explanation about Dav’s role. Asas Henry indicated, “I don’t think we were very clear with respect to the role that we took on initially. We each served as facilitator, moderator, task manager, and strategic thinker” (Polzer et al, 12). 

Second, the MGI team failed to communicate effectively. This failure hindered team collaboration so the team could not reach its consensus in decision making. Informal norms for team interactions were never established and interpersonal conflicts flared up as a result. Instead of capturing the value of each individual’s diverse experience and skill set, poor communication and conflict impeded the development of collaboration and integration. This team “fail(ed) to use all the information and expertise of their members” (Polzer, Leading Teams, 14).Since the team members inherently had differences with each other, communication could be a key to solving this issue. Thus, it undermined each individual’s skill set that could have been incredible value to achieve the goal. The root cause of
the above problems was lack of of cleardirection from the beginning. The team did not have any type of solid plan that showed its clear objective, strategy, expected timeline, task assignment, team members’ roles, and so on. This resulted in process dragging, unproductive friction, and emotional clashesrash between team members. Accordingly, the team never had any its centralized power to push the team towards its common goal. In Consequentiallyconsequence, they have not had even produced the first draft of their business plan that was due within three weeks.

At this point with less than three weeks before the deadline, someone (one of the three founders or Henry Tam) should step up and appoint a team leader. Realistically, instead of bringing in a third party, Henry can appoint himself as a leader with the founders' supportconsensus because he seemed to be the most qualified. one Aas Alex recalled "He took Sasha's info and Dana's info and put it together into a coherent whole...Henry was very confident and very calm...we would have broken up" (p 12). A solid structure of the team is critical in order for the team to overcome the inherent weakness of the team caused by differences of the team member as well as to leverage their individual expertise. In order to effectively lead this teiam, Once Henry becomes a leader, he needs tomust structure the team — clarify each individual’s role, substantiate each one’s sub task, effectively allocate time and resources, ensure staying on schedule, check the quality of each task, and integrate each one’s task into the one big business plan.

For instance, Henry and Dana could be assigned to integrate each one's plan into the largerbig business plan while Igor, Roman, and Alex focus on the product pipeline portion of the business plan, and Dav takes care of the technical componenetsparts. However, the structureclarifying roles and assignments alone would not guarantee a formal process to improve consensus building and joint decision making. The team must focus on improving communication, through formally structuring team interactions, and developing informal norms to improve interpersonal relations.; I believe that this is what all of the team member consciously need to work on.