In this paper I will do an analysis on what I think cause the downfall of Chattanooga Ice Cream. I will also give and observation of the Chattanooga Ice Cream Division and how lack of respect and communication caused them to lose one of their biggest clients. I assay Charlie Moore’s leadership style. I will see how things could have been handled differently, if they would have applied teamwork and good leadership to the equation.
Chattanooga Ice Cream, Inc. was a division of Chattanooga Food Corporation, which was founded in 1936. The Ice Cream Division of Chattanooga Foods was one of the largest regional ice cream manufacturers in the United States, (Sloane, The Chattanooga Ice Cream Division, HBR, p.2). Following the loss of Stay & Shop one of their largest customer, Charlie Moore the division’s president and general manager, and his executive management had several meetings to discuss the future of the division and their product. Moore was responsible for the outcome of the company’s future, and dealing with the conflicting attitudes and opinions of the members of his team. It was his responsibility to make sure everyone was on the same page to get the company back up and running properly.
CHARLIE MOORE AS A LEADER
If I had to give detail as to what type of leader Charlie Moore was on the DiSC he would be a S & C leader. He preferred an orderly environment. He believed in collaborating to get things accomplished.
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He strived to make progress in the company. He wanted to help the company meet its goals with getting its products back on the market and being competitive. He also wanted to have the team make steady and careful progress toward meeting the goals for the company. Moore values group’s efforts. He is not an aggressive leader and tends to avoid competitive environments and conflict. “Disdaining such behavior, Moore feigned a deaf ear to it, hoping his subordinates would get the signal and cease complaining about each other.”,(Sloane,2003, p.2). These are all good qualities to have in a leader, but I think it also led to his failure as a leader.
When Moore took over the division he came with a history of leading openly, preferring to operate in an environment of group decision making. He assumed that everyone would be able to come together in agreement as to what direction the company should go in. His judgment proved detrimental to the team. As the management team was incapable of coming to a compromise, because they had no respect for their teammates. Their action physically and verbally showed a lack of trust for one another.
Everyone was pointing the finger, and no one person saw fault in their part of the company’s downfall. Moore never developed an environment of trust among his team members.
Moore did not prepare the team for the change that was to come. He needed to “prepare organizations for change and help them cope as they struggle through it” Week 2, Lecture -What Great Leaders Do. Instead of showing “positive energy” (Welch, 2005, p.84) he called the team together to “mourn” (Sloane, 2003, p.1). So he had already set a negative atmosphere for the meeting. Moore showed a lack of Candor. As a leader he should have all the questions, and those questions should create a debate among the team members, “Rule 6: Leaders probe with curiosity that borders on skepticism, making sure your questions unleash debate and raise issues that get action” (Welch,2005,p.74). Charlie should have come into those meetings with a communication strategy. That way the team would have understanding, and everyone would support a common vision.
THE TEAM DYNAMIC AND DYSFUNCTION
All companies have ups and downs. All companies win accounts and loose accounts. What all companies should not have are teams that bicker, point the finger at each other and don’t communicate. This type of behavior is symptomatic of an unhealthy environment, and will be detrimental to a company. That is the type of behavior that was displayed by the Chattanooga Ice Cream Division. When the Shop & Stay account was lost each of the management team members seemed to think that the blame for the loss of the account laid in every other department other than their own. They thought that, that department needed to be corrected. Rather than taking a good close look at their department, and seeing what could be improved there.
There were a lot of negative energy and emotions involved in the meetings, which halted the chance for real teamwork. There were too many Chiefs and not enough Indians. Everyone was acting as managers except for the real manager. Moore was a leader who made decisions publically. Unlike the former manager of the division who made decisions privately without the consensus of the rest of the team.
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The old leadership did not foster an environment where team work and group decisions were accommodated. They in turn did not know how to communicate with one another, and the team dynamic became one of conflict. There were no clear operating rules for the team on how decisions were going to be made. Week 4, Lecture – Building High Performance Teams suggests that “when managers agree on ground rules in advance, the teams are much more likely to run efficiently,” which Moore did not do.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CHATTANOOGA ICE CREAM DIVISION
My first recommendation would be for Charlie Moore to see that is not just one of the team members. He is the Manager, their Supervisor. No goals can be obtained and no decisions can be made if he as there leader does not step up and take ownership of his role. You want bigger solutions ask questions; healthy debate, decisions, and actions will get everyone there” (Welch, 2005, p. 76). A team will only be as good as its leader. If I were the leader I would have the teams do research on the competitors. Then I would have them target other clients to take on our product to make up for the clients we lost. I would also create an environment to get the team motivated to accomplish a new goal, and have them focus their efforts on one vision.
I would also strategically pair the team member’s individual weaknesses and strengths together, not only to complement each other, but to build credibility and trust among the team. As a leader I would start to build a foundation for candor, voice, and dignity going forward. By setting these rules in place the team will learn how to communicate effectively. By making these changes this will ensure each individual has a voice, while not obstructing the process of productivity.