Background: Your Group has been assigned to be part of the Succession Plan Committee at Life Science Nutraceuticals (LSN). This Committee has been hard at work for months, planning the successor for President and CEO Alexandria Marvel and the rest of the executive team (largely occupied by the immediate family.) They have assigned your group to complete the Succession Plan for five key leadership positions. These positions will need to be filled over the next 12-24 months. There is not an immediate need for any of them currently, but vacancies will be imminent. The preference is to fill these internally, but President – CEO Marvel has stressed that if the right leader for a position does not exist already within the company, she would rather search for someone externally than settle for less than the most qualified individual.
Your Group has already analyzed these five leadership positions and presented a report to President and CEO Marvel about them. Now it is time to identify any internal candidates that may be suitable for these positions.
The Committee has already interviewed five different internal candidates that have expressed an interest in furthering their careers at LSN. All have leadership positions currently at different levels and within different departments of LSN. All have agreed to accept any leadership position assigned to them, and all are open to relocating.
Step 1: Course Material
For this project, you are required to use the case scenario facts and the course material. External sources are not permitted. You are not researching on the Internet or using resources from outside the course. You are expected to answer the requirements identified below, showing the connection between the case scenario facts and the course material. Using course material requires going beyond defining terms. Students are expected to apply the terms in the applicable case-scenario situations. Avoid making unsupported statements. Make observations that explain how something happens or why something happens and that focus on importance and impact. In closing the loop, you will demonstrate the ability to think clearly and critically, demonstrating an understanding of the logical connections among the ideas presented in a case scenario, the course material, and the question(s) being asked. A significant in-text citation is expected throughout this assignment. Using one or two in-text citations from the course materials will not earn many points on this assignment. The in-text citation of a variety of course materials is expected to support your analysis. The in-text citation support must be relevant and applicable to the topic being discussed. Points are not earned for mentioning a term or concept but for clearly and thoroughly explaining or discussing the issue being addressed.
Step 2: Review the Leadership Competencies Table
Review the Leadership Competencies Table completed in Week Two to accompany the Job Announcement. (You may also wish to review any feedback received by your Instructor about your Table.)
Step 3: Review Upcoming Positions
Review the five different upcoming positions your group has been tasked with filling and the leadership competencies you identified for each position. You may also wish to review any feedback received by your Instructor about these competencies.
Step 4: Read Profiles of Five Internal Candidates
Read the profiles of the five internal candidates that have put themselves forward for leadership positions.
Candidate 1 – Jackie Johnson – Current Position – Director of Purchasing
Jackie Johnson currently works as Director of Purchasing and obtains this job directly after serving in the military. She is a graduate of UMGC’s business administration program. Johnson entered the interview room all smiles and with a firm handshake. The interviewer admitted to being impressed by the firm handshake and the constant eye contact throughout the interview. Johnson was very prepared to discuss her future with the company. She had completed extensive research on all four geographic divisions before the interview. Johnson had also spoken with current employees throughout Headquarters. As Director of Purchasing, Johnson indicated that she had worked very hard to create a small business “subculture” within her department. She felt that her employees were empowered to make their own decisions, which freed her to think strategically about purchasing for LSN. She admits that this “free-rein” approach to leadership has sometimes allowed her department to have missteps in distribution with divisions outside of North America. She has worked hard to overcome that image by altering her leadership style according to the situation or the employee she is dealing with.
Her approach to leading is to look for leadership opportunities and encourage employees to act upon them, if possible. Johnson believes she is positive about the future. While she admits to only having worked in the purchasing department, she feels that she can bring a big picture perspective to the company, having worked with suppliers and customers. When asked about her risk tolerance, she replied, “I believe that is demonstrated in the small-business, entrepreneurial subculture I created in purchasing. At the end of the day, I’m more risk-tolerant than cautious.” Johnson said she sees herself as a transformational leader. She feels that good leadership is built on good relationships with followers. Relational Theory seems to make the most sense to her for the 21st century because people make change work and leading change in the future.
Candidate 2 – Henrietta Higgins – Current Position – Assistant Director of Purchasing
Henrietta currently works at LSN Headquarters in the Purchasing Department. She is 28 years old with 3 years of college. Henrietta is a business administration major and expects to graduate in about one year. She is friendly and has a quiet demeanor. She does not tolerate much nonsense from people, hates surprises, and wants people to be brief in talking with her.
When asked what she likes about her current position, she replied that she likes the feeling of a small business that her boss has created within the purchasing department. She appreciates that it makes her feel in control in such an environment. She likes the idea of a collaborative environment and responded well to the idea that her opinions and suggestions were always welcome. However, she expressed some concern that the youthful employees of IT, and some other departments, had plenty of opinions but not a lot of discipline in their work ethic. She has found that structure, procedures, and rules have worked better than asking for input. When asked how her staff perceived her, she laughed and said they called her a “Type A.” The interviewer noted that it was only one of two times during the interview that she held his gaze for any length of time during this statement. When asked what characteristics she thought a leader needed to possess to succeed in the 21st century, she replied, “…objective, practical, controlled and fair.” Higgins said her leadership style was transactional, but the interviewer was unsure if it was more authoritarian.
When asked what leadership theory she thought was most likely to work in the 21st century, her reply was “Great Man because it emphasizes the characteristics of a person like honesty and trust.” Higgins’s knowledge of the business was sound, but she said no when asked if anyone could be a leader. It was up to the position that a person holds. Higgins did understand that sustainability was critical to the business. She said she had some ideas on making the process aspects of LSN better and more efficient while saving costs. She also thought that being eco-friendly was important but realized that was the other meaning of business sustainability.
Candidate 3 – Mohammad Darvish – Current position – Marketing Manager, Homeopathic Division (Corporate Headquarters)
Darvish currently manages the sales of the Homeopathic Division. He enjoys working with a customer until they are satisfied and regrets having to short change the time he spends with customers today. He also feels that the company culture has become more rigid over the past few years. When asked to elaborate, he responded, “Folks are scared of making mistakes. If there has been anything I’ve been seeking to change in the homeopathic division, it’s that it’s okay to make mistakes, as long as we learn from them.” When asked what characteristics he thought a leader needed to succeed in the 21st century, he replied, “…flexible, risk-tolerant, insightful and honest.”
He liked the collaborative culture of LSN and showed signs of having done his homework on the other divisions, particularly Asia. LSN, he said, would do well if the company made sure that this division continued its existing culture because it encouraged creativity.
When asked how he created followers among his employees, Darvish replied that he liked to use incentive motivational techniques and would sometimes empower workers if they demonstrated the ability to take risks. Darvish said he was sometimes a laissez-faire leader because it encouraged freedom of thinking. He said he would solve problems largely through “good teaming and collaboration.” He said his favorite leadership theory was contingency theory because it allowed him to approach things based on the situation. He liked to agree with people and saw himself as being flexible. When asked how he dealt with change, he replied, “In this business, if you’re not changing, you’re dying.”
Candidate 4 – Marge Simpson – Current position – Sales Director, Chicago Office
Marge Simpson is 36 years old. She is a single mother of two. She was a nurse for 8 years before coming to work at LSN in the marketing area of the sales division in Chicago. She has been working for the company for four years. Her immediate manager reported that Marge is highly motivated and competent at her job. Her manager said that Marge’s biggest asset is that she “looked at challenges as opportunities and often found creative solutions to problems that others had not considered.”
Simpson’s nursing years were spent at the University of Chicago in Orlando Park. Surrounded by a large Muslim community, the hospital gave classes in Arabic, and Simpson found it very useful in her work to attend Arabic classes. She learned how to carry on a conversation with non-English speaking patients and the names of many drugs and over-the-counter treatments. Simpson enjoyed her time in Orlando Park and found the culture of the families very compatible with her own ideas of family.
When asked if she was risk-tolerant or risk-averse, she answered: “I occasionally reward risk-taking in the work environment. I do not think the poorly planned risk is wise, but sometimes you have to take a chance in sales. It is not for the faint-hearted. But at the end of the day, I’d describe myself as more risk-averse than tolerant.”
Having read about the opportunity through LSN’s HR division website, Simpson was excited about the possibility of moving her career forward. When asked if she were to relocate to other regions, such as the Middle East, if it would present problems for her, she hesitantly stated: “Initially, but if I plan things out well, surround myself with good people and learn about my clients, I am sure I could overcome the cultural drawbacks to being a woman.”
While she describes herself as being very familiar with Muslim cultures, Simpson freely admits that she knows little about Europe or South America. She has read some information and thinks she could learn another language if given help and the time needed to learn.
Simpson has many innovative ideas about increasing sales. Simpson’s evaluations are superior, and she works well with her team. Her colleagues suggest that she is flexible and a people-first person. Her eye contact is good, and she comes off as being very authentic. She describes her leadership style as “a blend of situational and transformational” and describes herself as a relational leader. The interviewer noted that at times she seemed to be more future-oriented in her comments and may need to worry more about the here and now when getting things done.
Candidate 5 – Rafael Mendez – Current Position – Director of Sales, New Mexico
Mendez currently is the Director of the New Mexico sales division at LSN. He was LSN’s top salesman before taking over the Director position. Mendez is 32 years old. A recent divorce from his wife has made him eager to make a change in his career. Mendez’s wife was Brazilian. Mendez is fluent in Portuguese. When asked if he was open to moving outside of the United States, Mendez replied that he was “open to adventure.” He had not traveled excessively but had gone to Brazil regularly with his wife when they were together. He was familiar with the problems of a developing country.
Mendez enjoys working with customers and spends a lot of time with them, making sure they are satisfied. Mendez enjoys LSN’s collaborative culture. He feels that one of the secrets to his own sales success is coordinating with other departments within LSN, including purchasing, IT, R&D, and HR. As part of his 360-degree performance appraisal, his team gave him glowing reviews. He got equally high ratings from senior salespeople (i.e., Baby Boomers) and younger salespeople (i.e., Millennials).
When asked what characteristics he thought a leader needed to succeed in the 21st century, he replied, “…you need to be a good listener, first and foremost.” He felt a good leader should change rapidly in a crisis and be direct and assertive when dealing with people. When asked about the idea of the competitive edge, he said, “A leader has to worry about making money every day. It is important to have immediate results for all to see, especially in sales. Even customers prefer to deal with successful salespeople than those that plod along.”
Mendez believes he could do well in another country if the company ensured he received language and cultural training. He knew that understanding how people thought about business and their products was important but more likely, the sale would be clinched if he knew what was and wasn’t culturally acceptable in the country in which he was selling. He stated, “Knowing your clients is everything in sales, so I suspect it is an essential part of the leadership at LSN as well.” When asked how he created followers among his employees, Mendez replied he liked to have rules and room for deviation and flexibility — while always remaining results-driven. Mendez said he was a situational leader because it encouraged freedom and allowed him to use different leadership styles with diverse employees.
Step 5: Succession Planning Table – Part Two
Complete the Succession Planning Table – Part Two to help guide your decision-making approach.
Step 6: Succession Planning Report – Part Two
Complete the Succession Planning Report – Part Two. This is the report that the President and CEO will review.
Your Group’s Succession Planning Report Part Two will address Alexandria Marvel, the CEO and President of Life Science Nutraceuticals. The report should address all of the following elements, with each section supported by course materials.
A description of your group’s succession planning process (from both last week and this week)
For each of the five positions, identity:
The internal candidate recommended for each position and why (supported by course materials).
A brief discussion about any candidate not chosen for a leadership position at this time, with justification for this decision supported by course materials.
If any of the positions cannot be filled by the current candidate pool, describe why an external search is recommended. (Note: The grading rubric assumes an external search is needed.)
If any of the positions cannot be filled by the current candidate pool, briefly describe the qualities that you feel the LSN recruiting team should look for in the external candidate for this position. (Note: The grading rubric assumes your team will identify the qualities needed by external candidates.)
Describe briefly to President and CEO Marvel why your group’s recommendations are important for LSN’s future