SolarComm Scenario

SolarComm is a hypothetical solar power company in Austin, Texas, where you are the general manager. This United States-based solar power company specializes in high-value, custom-built solar power systems for commercial and multifamily residential customers. The company was recently acquired by a large private equity firm at a premium price. After the acquisition, SolarComm’s new executive leadership made several moves to increase profitability and pay down the new company’s large corporate debt. The strategy included raising the prices of SolarComm’s most popular products and signing vendor agreements with low-cost manufacturers.

Shortly afterward, the solar consultants who sell SolarComm products began to complain that manufacturing problems, including the delivery of faulty components, had reduced customer satisfaction and resulted in lost business. SolarComm engineers, who are responsible for designing and overseeing the solar power systems’ construction, assert that the problems are exacerbated by SolarComm’s procurement practices. The engineers report that procurement managers must be willing to negotiate with the manufacturers more aggressively on behalf of SolarComm and its customers.

The procurement team, which implements vendor contracts, orders, and logistics, knows that executive leadership contracted with the components manufacturers based on their reputation, above industry-average performance, and the fiscal targets of the company. Although the procurement team concedes that it has experienced more disruptions to orders than in previous years, it also reports that most of the disruptions occurred when the solar consultants or systems engineers changed product specifications after the due dates the manufacturers required. In the past, those problems might have been addressed without causing a delay. However, the new manufacturing agreements set different expectations and, although both parties are working toward a solution, they have not yet been able to find a solution.

At the same time, the marketing team has begun work on a new campaign to launch SolarComm’s latest product line. The team is concerned about SolarComm’s weakened reputation in the market and is eager to drive customers back to the value of SolarComm’s products.

The new executive leadership is fully aware of the problems. In a recent meeting, the chief executive officer (CEO) addressed the issue by launching a new initiative, and she appointed you, as general manager, to form and lead a cross-functional team dedicated to improving communication and collaboration across the organization. The team members will need to work together effectively in order to meet the project requirements, which are:

  • Research, identify, and prioritize SolarComm’s communication problems.
  • Produce a 6-month roadmap to solving the problems.
  • Roll out the revised communication process, including employee training.
  1. Categorizing Work(2–3 paragraphs) Analyze the “SolarComm Scenario” document and determine the work that needs to be completed to meet the project requirements. Categorize the work as task work or team work, and explain the rationale behind your decisions.
  2. Describing Requirements(approximately 1 page) Describe the employee characteristics, skills, behaviors, and job functions you will need on your team in order to produce all of the deliverables and achieve your team’s business objectives.
  3. Selecting Your Team(1–2 pages) Based on the needs of your team described above, select five employees from the “SolarComm Employee Biographies” document to become members of your cross-functional team. Explain in detail why you selected these individuals and how they will help your team meet its deliverables.
  4. Identifying Diversity(1–2 paragraphs) Identify and describe three types of diversity on your team.
  5. Working with Diversity(3–5 paragraphs) For each of the three types of diversity identified in prompt 4, explain the potential impact on collaborative environments and teamwork.
  6. Capitalizing on Diversity(1–2 pages) For each of the three types of diversity you identified in prompt 4, plan two ways to capitalize on diversity when developing, leading, and working with teams.
  7. Leading Virtually(2–3 paragraphs) Identify members of your SolarComm team who will work from a location other than Austin, Texas. (Note: If you do not have any employees on your current team who will work from a location other than Austin, Texas, select one for the purpose of this prompt.) Describe two strategies you will use to develop, lead, and manage members of your virtual team.
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