Eric Peterson Case
This is a case about a manager who does his job competently, but is in trouble and doesn’t know it. The problem is, he has neglected managing his bosses.
• Since Peterson had no experience in the field, second-guessing of his decisions was to be expected, especially when there were problems
• Peterson’s boss also has no expertise in the relevant areas, and is relatively disengaged in thinking through the big issues. Disengaged boss is very dangerous situation.
• Multiple management challenges among subordinates, all of which Peterson was handling well, but which required some decisions that required local knowledge to understand why they were good (e.g., moving Stevana in charge of construction)
• Little contact with superiors/headquarters since taking job
• Early on, Peterson antagonized some higher-ups (e.g., Cantor & Green)
• A review from on high will come in two weeks
What Peterson Should Have Done
• Found ways to educate Hardy on the operation and engage him in decisions. Make sure he is on board with decisions and sees his own success as based on Peterson’s success
• Found reasons to meet with Jenkins (his boss’s boss) to make sure he knew what a good job Peterson was doing
• Set milestones and partial success criteria so that it is not necessary to wait until start up to determine whether Peterson had done a good job. Major milestones also provide excuse for inviting brass to visit and/or visiting brass to make presentation
• Write periodic reports that apprise management of progress and also provide reasoning behind (unpopular) decisions – document actions and issues
• Made lateral connections with people who had expertise in starting up operations, and publicized this source of expert advice
The Next Two Weeks
• Prepare a tightly controlled dog and pony show for Knight’s visit that includes presentations from Peterson and other local...