Question 1: What is your opinion of Gerry’s approach to evaluating the output of the new-product development group? While Gerry seems ready for fresh and new product ideas, his approach to evaluating ideas presented by Maria and the new-product development group is harsh and in my opinion put forth as disapproval vice constructive criticism. The team has been working hard and Gerry’s comments, “I get the impression that there is a lot of activity going on here, but it does not seem to be focused activity”, would make me defensive and rather than listening to Gerry, Maria is probably thinking about how to respond to the snide comments and feedback. Gerry could have been more tactful and should have been more supportive when turning down the teams ideas and putting Maria on the defensive. As a result, they are likely to interpret criticism as a personal attack on their self-worth.1 (DuBrin, 2013, p. 362) It would have been better in my opinion to say nothing or use tact in his approach and rather than criticize, he could have used it as a coaching opportunity and turned down Maria’s idea with constructive feedback.
Question 2: Do you think that Maria is getting too sensitive to criticism? Gerry’s comments are not constructive but rather criticism so, no, I don’t think Maria is getting too sensitive to Gerry’s criticism. Garth Laidlaw pointed out that new-product development is a risky business and that 90 percent of new-product ideas never make it to the market shelves so Gerry should’ve expected some failures. I think Gerry should have come into the venture using what DuBrin calls a use loose-tight leadership style. Looseness refers to granting space for new ideas and exploration, whereas a tight approach means finally making a choice among the alternatives.2 (DuBrin, 2013, p. 365) Innovation is also enhanced when workers throughout the organization are able to purse absurd ideas without penalty for being wrong or for having wasted some resources.3 (DuBrin, 2013, p. 365)
Question 3: How do constraints on creativity enter into this case? Gerry is not practicing transformational leadership and fostering an environment for change and innovation. The executive office sees a need for innovation, establishes a team and even places the team away from the corporate flag but I didn’t see Gerry having a clear vision or providing any type of guidance on the types of goods or sector that the new product development group should focusing their talents. Information about establishing a climate for creativity can be divided into (1) leadership and managerial practices for enhancing creativity and (2) methods for managing creative workers.4 (DuBrin, 2013, p. 357) Gerry wants innovation and creativity, provided resources but his rigid leadership style would hinder creativity in any organization. One should provide excellent tools and resources, give creative people flexibility, turn down ideas gently, and employ creative people to manage and evaluate creative workers.5 (DuBrin, 2013, p. 366) The company seems focused on innovation for its own sake without a clear goal in mind, and Gerry is quick to criticize the ideas presented by the innovation team rather than recognizing opportunities in lemons. It takes a lot of lemons to make lemonade.