Frank Wonâ€™t Accept â€œWe Canâ€™tâ€ for an Answer
Frank is the business development manager at a small firm that provides business process improvement solutions to federal, state, and local governments. His firmâ€™s organization structure includes four project managers who are both managers of projects and also solicit for new business. Up until last year, the company had enough contracts to be profitable. This year, a few big government contracts have expired and have not yet been renewed. As a result, the company could lose money and perhaps be forced to lay off one-third of the staff.
Frank is particularly worried. He calls a meeting with his four project managers to discuss the need for more sales. A couple of minutes into the meeting, Frank informs his four direct reports, â€œThe time for excuses is over. We need at least $1 million worth of new contracts to stay afloat. I havenâ€™t heard about even a warm lead for a new contract from any of you in about a year. We need new business, and we need it now.â€
Project manager Jennifer responded: â€œFrank, I hear you. The other project managers hear you. But government spending has tightened up. Itâ€™s not possible to squeeze a contract out of a government agency if they donâ€™t have money in the budget.â€
Oliver, another project manager, responded, â€œFrank, I have to agree with Jenny. There is no way to coax a contract out of a government agency when the well is dry. You know as well as we do that government funding is way down for everything but national defense. Help us by pointing us in a new direction for obtaining contracts. Do you have any contacts in private industry that we might pursue?â€
Shaking his head in discouragement, Frank said: â€œIâ€™ve heard enough excuses. I know you are trying, but get out there and try harder. I donâ€™t care which one of you pulls it off, but I want one new pending contract for my approval within six months.
â€œI will do what I can to find new business for the firm also. But I am not here to do your job. Get back to me when you have made some progress.â€
1. Based on the limited evidence, how would you characterize Frankâ€™s leadership style?
2. What leadership behaviors and attitudes is Frank displaying?
3. How else might Frank approach his project managers about developing new business?