First Look

April 29, 2008

It sounds counterintuitive, but one of the most valuable skills to learn is how to manage your manager. "By managing your boss—clarifying your own and your supervisor's strengths, weaknesses, goals, work styles, and needs—you cultivate a relationship based on mutual respect and understanding," wrote Harvard Business School's John Gabarro and John Kotter in a popular article "Managing Your Boss," first published in a 1980 issue of Harvard Business Review. Gabarro and Kotter's insightful advice about cultivating a mutually productive relationship with the boss is newly enhanced and reissued as a 64-page paperback. This week also sees a wealth of cases on topics such as taking a home-appliance producer global ("Indesit Company: Does Global Matter?"), negotiating real estate development when a neighborhood is resistant ("Mayhem on Madison"), and crafting strategy for distributing digital novels on cell phones ("Sony Digital Entertainment, Japan").
— Martha Lagace

Working Papers

None this week


Cases & Course Materials

Avaya (A)

Harvard Business School Case 508-048

Avaya's top management wants to improve demand generation. This requires an improvement in the relationship between Sales and Marketing. This case series (Avaya (A)-(D)) walks the student through each phase of this process. The (A) case begins with background on the firm and asks the students to come up with a strategy to improve the way in which Sales and Marketing work together. In the (B) case, we see their strategy in the form of a "unified funnel" and a demand generation framework. The unified funnel communicates the idea that not only should the marketing funnel and the sales funnel be linked "vertically"—in the sense that Marketing's leads should flow seamlessly into Sales' funnel—but they should also be integrated horizontally. This latter point refers to the idea that Sales and Marketing should each play a role in each phase of the process from e-mail marketing solutions right through to the close. That is, they argue that the two functions are best integrated by encouraging them to work simultaneously, not just sequentially. The demand generation framework, on the other hand, makes explicit what it means for them to work together. For example, they stipulate that Marketing should be included on the weekly sales conference call. The students are then asked to think about how they would implement these ideas. In the (C) case, the implementation plan for a specific market—Brazil—is described. In particular, we are given data that were used in the roll-out process that showed the market's managers how they compared with other markets on a number of dimensions. Finally, the (D) case shows some early data suggesting that this new method of working together has had a significant impact.

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Avaya (B)

Harvard Business School Supplement 508-049

Supplements the (A) case.

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Avaya (C): Implementing Demand Generation in Brazil

Harvard Business School Supplement 508-050

Supplements the (A) case.

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Avaya (D): Early Results of the Demand Generation Initiative

Harvard Business School Supplement 508-051


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Engineering a Renaissance: The Launch of the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Harvard Business School Case 608-087

Dean Venky of the newly launched School of Engineering and Applied Sciences is faced with a range of opportunities and challenges as he presides over the launching of a new school of engineering at Harvard University. His opportunities include an ample endowment, a small but elite faculty, and the potential to collaborate with the other schools within Harvard. His challenges include attracting the best faculty and students, creating linkages across the university, and determining a strategy that will make Harvard engineering as well known as its other schools. Students must analyze the engineering school's strengths and weaknesses relative to other top schools, the political challenges of organizational change, and the most appropriate strategy for the Dean to follow.

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Indesit Company: Does Global Matter?

Harvard Business School Case 308-071

In 2007, the leadership of the Indesit Company is focused on long-term corporate strategy. After three decades, the company has emerged as the number two home appliance producer in greater Europe. Should they invest further to be number one, or should they now focus on the global market, and if so, which part of the world? A subordinate issue is what to do with their multiple brands. Should they consolidate? This case has extensive data on global markets.

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Lincoln Financial Group (A)

Harvard Business School Case 508-028

Lincoln Financial Group (LFG) reorganizes its business in order to improve customer intimacy. However, to implement the strategy, they need to effect significant changes in the skills of their salespeople. This case series straddles human resource management, corporate strategy, and sales management by exploring the link between a shift in the firm's overall strategy (customer intimacy), the structural implementation of this strategy in the form of the creation of a new distribution company and, finally, the transformation of the selling approach through skills assessment and development. The (A) case describes the firm's strategic position as the "manufacturer" of three primary product lines—annuities, insurance, and mutual funds—which they sell to banks, broker/dealers, and independent planners. Most of their customers have just one of these products 'on the shelf.' In 2000, they create Lincoln Financial Distributors (LFD) which will be responsible for the wholesaling of all of these products. The case ends by asking the students to (a) react to this idea and (b) formulate a plan for its implementation. Simply taking salespeople away from their product group and housing them side-by-side with other salespeople selling other products is unlikely to create true customer intimacy. Wes Thompson, LFD's President, and Kim Miner, the Human Resources VP, undertake a sweeping effort in which they create a "competency model," denoting precisely what they want their salespeople to be good at, assessing the sales force on these dimensions, and then hiring or training in order to get where they want to be. The (B) case provides rich detail of the model, the assessment approach and the results of the assessments. As the (C) case lays out, the results are stunning in terms of their relationships as well as from a financial perspective. The (C) then ends by offering a strategy for "Act II'" significantly expanding the number of salespeople at LFD.

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Lincoln Financial Group (B): Making LFD a Reality

Harvard Business School Supplement 508-029

Supplements the (A) case.

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Lincoln Financial Group (C)

Harvard Business School Supplement 508-030

Supplements the (A) case.

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Mayhem on Madison (A)

Harvard Business School Case 208-067

In his first project, an aspiring property developer negotiates the development rights above a one-story bank branch in Manhattan's tony Carnegie Hill. Community resistance erupted immediately, spearheaded by celebrity and socialite residents. Facing rejection of his firm's proposal of a 17-story residential condominium building for the site by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, the developer and his firm must decide how to respond.

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Mayhem on Madison (B)

Harvard Business School Supplement 208-102

Supplements the (A) case.

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Monitor's Opportunities in India (A)

Harvard Business School Case 708-482

The CEO of a strategy consulting firm must decide which of the firm's functions, if any, to move to India. In particular, he wonders whether business research—currently conducted by highly paid consultants in developed countries—can be conducted more efficiently and effectively from an Indian research center.

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Radical Collaboration: IBM Microelectronics Joint Development Alliances

Harvard Business School Case 608-121

IBM's "Radical Collaboration" model has been an innovative approach to meeting the challenges of the huge R&D and capital investments that are needed to stay competitive in the global semiconductor industry. This model has required a rethinking of what is proprietary, and what is shared, and where do the boundaries of cooperation end and competition begin. IBM and its partners have managed to stay competitive at, for example, the 45nm mode, at a far lower cost than firms that "go it alone," and there is a large benefit from a larger funnel of ideas and diverse points of view. It also reshapes what firms can use to build competitive advantage, or it necessitates a rethinking at least.

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Sealed Air China

Harvard Business School Case 308-051

With a 10-year history of doing business in China, Sealed Air was now betting on the country to help propel its growth as a global company. The company identified China as one of the initial investments in the company's Global Manufacturing Strategy that aimed to create efficiencies in its operations across the globe. As Sealed Air's new Shanghai plant starts production in 2008, will its almost $50 million investment pay off? Is 10 years of experience in China enough to know how China works?

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Shangri-La Hotels

Harvard Business School Case 108-006

In November 2006, Symon Bridle, the newly appointed chief operating officer of Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, was thinking about a number of organizational issues that presented challenges to Shangri-La's rapid expansion strategy. There were three major issues at hand: (1) the company was expanding into high-wage economies in Europe and North America; (2) the company was expanding its presence in China—a country where front-line employees were not used to exercising decision-making authority; and (3) newcomers in the Chinese hotel market were poaching Shangri-La's staff and driving up wages in historically low-waged markets. As a COO, Bridle needed to ensure that Shangri-La's signature standards of "Asian Hospitality" were maintained during this expansion.

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Shinhan Financial Group (B)

Harvard Business School Supplement 308-095

Supplements the (A) case.

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Sony Digital Entertainment, Japan

Harvard Business School Case 508071

It is late 2007. So-called cell phone ("keitai") novels have turned into an extremely popular form of entertainment-on-the- go in Japan, in particular among young, female readers. In fact, consisting mostly of love stories written by amateurs in short sentences and containing little plot or character development, cell phone novels republished in book form and even remade as movies have come to dominate mainstream media content. At media giant Sony, Ken Munekata, CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE), and Atsushi Fukuda, President of Sony Digital Entertainment (SDE), are attempting to craft an adequate response. After establishing SDE as a 100% subsidiary of Sony Japan, they now develop a wide range of digital content offerings for mobile phone users, mostly original content "made in Japan"—including keitai novels. But can SDE's subscription model compete in a market dominated by free keitai novel offerings? And, more generally, do Sony's current keitai initiatives move the company in the right strategic direction? Allows for an in-depth examination of viable business models for established media companies competing in digital markets dominated by user-generated, advertising-supported content. Also enables an assessment of the economics of producing and distributing traditional films and books versus digital (cell phone) content.

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Spiegel-Verlag Rudolf Augstein GmbH & Co. KG

Harvard Business School Case 208-096

Der Spiegel is Germany's most influential political news magazine. In the 1970s, its founder Rudolf Augstein gave a 50% ownership stake to his employees and sold another 25% to rival publisher Gruner+Jahr, but retained significant control during his lifetime by stipulating in the bylaws that every important business decision would require a 76% shareholder approval. When Augstein died in 2002, however, his co-owners exercised the option the same bylaws gave them to buy a 0.5% stake each from Augstein's heirs, who thus lost their veto rights. In September 2007, the benefits and costs of sharing ownership with employees became particularly salient when the employees block the CEO's proposal to acquire 50% of the Financial Times Deutschland. Faced with the new balance of power, Rudolf's eldest son Jakob Augstein is forced to rethink the role that his family can play in Spiegel going forward. Should he try to buy back the pivotal stake? Sell the family stake altogether? But to whom, and at what price?

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Terumo (A)

Harvard Business School Case 508-068

Terumo faces two challenges: how to sell its catheter products in the U.S. and its new "Solution Pack" in its domestic market, Japan. The case provides rich detail on the firm's evolution from a manufacturer of thermometers to a seller of commodity products like syringes to a diversified firm offering a range of advanced products—catheters and grafts, for example—in addition to commodity products. It describes how the firm's sales strategy—including changes in structure and compensation—changed as its overall product line evolve. The case also offers an interesting contrast for students studying sales forces, in terms of how this Japanese model differs in the way, for example, the firm compensates—and views—salespeople.

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Terumo (B)

Harvard Business School Supplement 508-069

Supplements the (A) case.

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Managing Your Boss


Managing your boss: Isn't that merely manipulation? Corporate cozying up? Not according to John Gabarro and John Kotter. In this handy guidebook, the authors contend that you manage your boss for a very good reason: to do your best on the job—and thereby benefit not only yourself but also your supervisor and your entire company. Your boss depends on you for cooperation, reliability, and honesty. And you depend on him or her for links to the rest of the organization, for setting priorities, and for obtaining critical resources. By managing your boss—clarifying your own and your supervisor's strengths, weaknesses, goals, work styles, and needs—you cultivate a relationship based on mutual respect and understanding. The result? A healthy, productive bond that enables you both to excel. Gabarro and Kotter provide valuable guidelines for building this essential relationship—including strategies for determining how your boss prefers to process information and make decisions, tips for communicating mutual expectations, and tactics for negotiating priorities. Thought provoking and practical, Managing Your Boss enables you to lay the groundwork for one of the most crucial working relationships you'll have in your career.

Book Link