Chapter 1 : Management At Work?

Jack Armstrong doesn’t have the cutest little baby face, but he has other qualifications for getting ahead despite the fact that he’s still relatively young. He’s smart and creative, and he combines a high-energy approach to getting things done aggressive marketing instincts.
He’s just 36 now, but Jack can already boast a wealth of management experience, largely because he’s been quite adept at moving around in order to move up. He started out in sales for a technology company, outsold his colleagues by wide margins for two years, and was promoted to regional sales director. After a year, he began angling for a position as marketing manager, but when the job went to a senior sales director, Jack left for a job as a marketing manager with a company specializing in travel products. Though a little impatient with the tedious process of sifting through market-research data, he devoted his considerable energy and creatively to planning new products. His very first pet project (a super-lightweight compact folding chair) out-tripped all sales projections and provided just the impetus he needed to ask for a promotion to vice president of marketing.
When the company took too much time to make a decision, Jack moved on again, having found a suitable vice presidency at a consumer-products firm. Here, his ability to spot promising items in the company’s new-product pipeline (notably a combination oral-hygiene and teeth-whitening rinse for dogs) brought him to the attention of upper management. Jack expected to go to the top of the list of candidates for president of some division within the company, but instead the president of overseas operations called Jack into his office and offered him a yearlong special assignment: How would Jack like to head up a team to develop strategies for adapting existing company products as new products for sales in developing countries? It was the perfect opportunity, he suggested, for Jack to broaden his skills by working with managers from every area of the company. Moreover, there’d be a significant bonus if he succeeded, and promotion to a divisional presidency would be next. It was certainly an interesting opportunity, but it would sidetrack Jack’s projected ascent to CEO status before the age of 40. He asked for a little time to think over the offer, which, as he well knew, would also be a stretch for him. As luck would have it, however, he didn’t have to make the troublesome decision, because it was then that he was offered his current job as divisional president at a rising consumer-electronics firm.
And that’s where we find Jack now – with his job on the line.What happened? Jack had been in his new corner office for about six months when his marketing department came to him with an idea for a sleek high-fashion combination cellphone-music and video player. It was just the kind of product that Jack had been looking for, and he ordered his marketing people to draw up some performance specs and get them to the design department. His VP for marketing suggested that Jack assemble a project team to shepherd the product from marketing through the design, engineering, and production stages, but Jack had heard too many storied about projects getting bogged down in the endless process of team decision making, and if there was one thing that he knew from his own experience, it was that the key to a successful new product was getting it to market as quickly as possible. Besides, he had a reputation for aggressiveness to uphold.
Determined to take the bull by the horns, he put the project on an accelerated eight-month schedule from design to rollout. He himself took charge of marketing and launched an aggressive promotional campaigns designed to capture the attention not only of the market but of the company’s investors. Everything went according to plan until the middle of month seven, when Jack got some bad news from the production facility in Australia. Test on preliminary versions of the product revealed that the placement of the cellphone antenna inside the mouthpiece was producing a weak cellular signal. The only solutions, it seems, were either to redesign for an external antenna or to provide a kit containing an antenna and adapter. In either case, the product design would be compromised and the rollout delayed by months. Electronics engineers had warned mechanical engineers of the potential glitch at an early stage of the project, but when news of the problem got back to marketing, managers had decided to proceed because the project was such a high priority with Jack.
Case 1
What management skills did Jack demonstrate as a marketing manager and as a VP at the firm?
Case 2
Should Jack have taken the special assignment offered him? What kind of skills the president from overseas thinking about offering?
Case 3
What management skills would have helped Jack avoid the catastrophe that befell his project?

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