Dawn Riley Case Report Essay

Executive Summary

Dawn Riley, CEO/Captain of the America True team is in the middle of several critical decisions that require strategic analysis for their team to succeed. Her main dilemma is whether she should decide to spend very scarce financial and design team resources to make modifications to the America True Teams practice boat, Tag. Dawn has scheduled a meeting with her Senior Management team to discuss the upgrade of Tag. The goal of upgrading the American True practice boat is to create the best testing platform which would require significant improvements to their racing boat. David Barnes, the team consultant, senses that the variance in the boats is causing issues between racing personnel.

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Additionally, Dawn has identified organizational dilemmas that will require, key decisions through critical analysis of her team. My analysis will involve proposed changes in the management approach, organizational structure, and the role of leadership. Dawn’s final decisions require tactical analysis that will address the following issues.

Team Issues
1.Management: Dawns position as CEO and Captain is going to require a very careful and strategic managerial approach relative the subsequent technical and leadership issues: a.She needs to constructively administer design and sailing team meetings to promote clear communication b.Clearly identify a management structure roles for increased efficiency and communication

2.Organizational: Dawn has a very strong team syndicate, however some members are being underutilized. a.She must promote current members in the organizational chart to alleviate the “mixed messages” and facilitate accountability b.Identify and determine who will be on the “A-team”

3.Leadership: Dawn leadership is going to be crucial to provide successful outcomes for America True Team boat. a.She needs to be more assertive in her role as CEO and not take the passive, participant role as a key leader of the team. b.She must change her leadership style and identify her most effective way to integrate solutions to address these challenges

Analysis of Issues
The primary initiator that has caused issues to surface within the America True Team is the quality of their training boat, TAG. There are several limitations and concerns that are arising among the design team, the senior management, as well as their primary consultant. Specifically, David Barnes, Logistical and Racing Consultant for America True, has raised the major concern that TAG will not suffice for the teams training needs. On the contrary, Chris Coffin, Chief Operating Officer whom is the primary financier for the team is hesitant to increase funding for the improvements to the teams training boat. Lastly, Phil Kaiko, the lead designer for the team, is hindered for time he can devote to upgrading TAG believing that it would take away from the time spent on their actual racing boat.

As a result of the aforementioned concerns and benefits of TAG, several unaddressed instigated issues have surfaced that need to be communicated and resolved. These issues are included into two main categories; communication, leadership:

•Confusion of why Damn appointed herself as captain.
•Difficult to foster real conversation between the boat crew (practical) and the design team (technical) •The available time during tow-in is not being utilized for debriefing •There isn’t transparency and understanding between afterguard crew •“Shore days” time is being underutilized

•The management duo of Chris Coffin and Dawn Riley are intimidating some of the team which has resulted in unclear signals (not direct) to the team •Dawn is too focused on collaborative decision-making approach without limited amounts of delegation •John Cutler needs to take on greater responsibility such as leading the trimmers meetings •Dawn no longer has a role in the pit because of her administrative duties

Improvements that address the communication and leadership of America True Team must be addressed in order for them to move forward in an efficient, functional, and effective manner. The following categories include proposed solutions to successfully execute and improve the America True Teams outcomes.


Integrative Decision-Based Management
Dawn has come to the realization that her collaborative decision-making approach is not an effective practice for her team goals. This has lead to loss in productivity, lack of communication and less results. She needs to trust her instinct and move forward with implementing changes to her management in an assertive matter. Goleman and Boyatzis (2008) in the Biology of Leadership suggest to leaders, “trust your gut, but get lots of input as you make decisions.” Dawn has done due diligence in consulting her team with a participatory approach to management, however she must continue to follow her gut because her instinct can be used as a compass in making decisions. In other words, she has been through the system of making educated decisions based on her experiences, and her “gut” is guiding her decisions because her brain has been optimized to physiologically react with instinct.

Organizational Alliance
Dawn should relinquish her responsibilities as captain and promote John Cutler. Appointing John to captain would eliminate uncertainty and confusion among the crew and instills confidence in John by eliminating his concerns that Dawn may take over the boat. John’s management role as captain would allow for Dawn to go back the pit and allow the team to focus on channeling all of their energy towards getting a victory (because the goal is to win). John taking full responsibility for managing all of the sailing operations could achieve this. This will also allow Dawn to focus more on the PR component and insure to investors that she is focused on her role as CEO. Promoting John Spence to shore boss can increase the efficiency and effectiveness leading to increased productivity. These improvements could
lead to increased opportunity of land based activities and further gains for their team.