I got answers to the case from just three people, fortunately each of the answers offered something valuable to consider and discuss. Is the relatively low response due to the personal side of the case and that does not seem like TOC? Or, the natural wish to be promoted is not considered legitimate when one is brought to focus on achieving the goal of the organization? I have learned from Dr. Goldratt not to expect other people to be “angels”, meaning acting against their personal interests. This insight is not in clash with Goldratt basic assumption that “people are good”. People, according to Goldratt, do not wish to cause harm – unless they have a reason, like an interest of their own or a faulty assumption.
In a previous post I’ve claimed that a person with an ambition for his/her future should plan a Strategy outlining what the person needs to do in order to achieve the “dream”. Claudio certainly has a dream and becoming an SVP is probably not the full dream, but it is an intermediate objective. I believe Claudio likes to lead CompAdvantage to be bigger and more profitable, while keeping it stable, very much like he has led his region.
I first wanted to demonstrate that failing to consider a-priory the views of key people could become an obstacle. I assume that Claudio was aware of the criticism regarding his managerial style, but ignored it as he was quite successful in establishing the region as the most profitable in the company. Now, these views become real obstacle.
Michael Bolanos has expressed Claudio’s situation very clear: “Claudio’s challenge cannot be overcome by changing his personality and management style overnight. Claudio needs to enforce that his style and leadership are needed for capitalizing on the opportunities from Eastern Europe and North America in a not too distant horizon.”
In other words, Michael claims that Claudio has to radiate his own decisive competitive edge (DCE), based on his style and leadership, which have achieved excellent results in Latin America, and claim that this is what is required for the other regions as well.
However, his main rival, Martha, excels in another DCE: being able to initiate new moves that result in considerable fast growth. Such behavior is much more risky and could also cause considerable instability.
The conflict between stability and growth is at the heart of the choice between the two major candidates. Dale, the CEO, probably prefers stability, and thus supports Claudio. Knowledge of TOC, as well as preparing and improving his own DCE, could have led Claudio to construct an ambitious M&S plan that is based on a strong DCE of CompAdvantage. However we don’t know what is the potential DCE of CompAdvantage and it seems Claudio did not prepare his Strategy early enough. What he did well, which is critical to get the approval of the SVPs, was his support to Latin America Operations. This support shows Claudio’s ability to cooperate with colleagues and to understand the big picture. That ability should be emphasized in the internal conversations Claudio has to make with the SVPs.
One potential critical obstacle for Claudio is the nomination of his successor. Let me cite from David’s answer: “As alluded to by Utkan, succession planning would also be important. A question that the SVPs would have is: who will take over from the candidate? Claudio needs to have a good answer. It might also encourage his underlings to express their support for his promotion and speak well of him.”
As a tyrant it makes sense to assume that Claudio did NOT prepare his successor. This might be looked as a serious problem to the SVPs. Raising a worthy person to take over the most profitable region is a test in stability for Claudio. He has two months to pick the right person and openly announce him as worthy for taking over from him.
Michael Bolanos also noted the sensitivity of replacing Claudio. It is a part of Michael’s bold suggestion for Claudio to publicly support the nomination of Avraham. It is an idea with a twist – doing what nobody else expects him to. I have to admit it is a too big twist for me too. I don’t think I’d take the risk, were it me instead of Claudio, but it is certainly a refreshing idea that needs to be considered, along its self-evident risk.