Donna Dubinsky

2 February 2017

Why was Donna so successful during her first 4 years at Apple before the JIT dispute? Dubinsky’s advanced because: (1) her division delivers results, (2) her individual performance is strong, (3) Apple’s environment permits rapid advancement, and (4) her boss helps her. 1. Sales delivered strong results, and Dubinsky was a recognized positive contributor to it. Dubinsky’s group performed well on key metrics including dealer satisfaction,supporting new product launches without delay, and scaling up operations as the Company grew.Her group had no complaints from other Apple divisions about costs, or from dealer customers about inventory availability,demonstrating strong logistics performance. She was playing for a winning team.

2. Dubinsky performed well; her superiors describe her in positive terms focusing on her ability to deliver results. Campbell states that she is gifted with a practical intelligence that can translate vague directives from products and marketing into executable distribution strategies.Everyone in the case compliments her commanding presence, which she uses to convince others she has the authority to act despite lack of formal authority, to get the job done. She maintains good relationships with the dealers and understands their needs – a core part of her job that also matches Apple’s first value of Customer Empathy. She was an individual star on a winning team. 3.

Donna Dubinsky Essay Example

Apple’s environment enabled her to shine. It was a young company light on formality that underwent frequent reorganizations.Apple could not execute just by pushing “go” on set processes; instead, it relied on talented professionals like Dubinsky to use initiative to make things work on the fly. Apple’s fast growth, loose organization, and corporate cultureallowed Dubinsky to make decisions “above her pay grade” and thus demonstrate ability to perform at ever higher levels of responsibility. Apple’s massive growth from 1981 to 1985 (operating revenue increased fivefold) meant that its stars organically accrued major increases in business responsibility; example: Distribution increased deliveries 60% in 1984.She fills the right role on her winning team, at a time when the rising tide was lifting all boats. 4.

Dubinsky has a good boss, at least for when times are good. Weaver’s management style of continuous engagement through rewards and challenges strongly matched Dubinsky’s subordinate style. Weaver generously grants Dubinsky chances to achieve visibility to upper-management, rather than hogging or stealing all the credit for the group’s success. Weaver created a safe place for Dubinsky where she felt comfortable taking risks to grow; she considers him a mentor, more like a teacher than a supervisor.In sum, Dubinsky is a top-performing star in a corporate division that delivers strong results, in firm that values individual initiative more than hierarchy and has values that match Dubinsky’s performance, with a boss that actively pushes her advancement. II. In your opinion, did she make any mistakes during that same period (pre-JIT)? Dubinsky made three key mistakes in the period of 1981 to 1984.

1. Declining the position offered by Steve Jobs mayhave been a mistake – the case does not state adequate information to judge.At minimum, she forewent an opportunity to increase her visibility, title and importance. She stayed in an “overhead” type group, despite recognizing that most of Apple’s focus was on product development and launches, i. e. the two product groups. She alsoimplied that she preferred to be managed by Weaver rather than Jobs, which may have colored Jobs’ later behavior towards her in the JIT dispute.

Dubinsky may have known that Jobs was dictatorial, treated his subordinates unfairly, or was about to be fired, in which case she was wise to stay safely with Weaver.She may also have so loved her customer service job that she would not have left for any lateral offer (her interview process presents some evidence of this), in which case she was willing to sacrifice rapid advancement and visibility for a more enjoyable role. But, it is also possible that Dubinsky relied too much on Weaver and was afraid of change, became complacent, and missed a chance to work in a “sexy” group, advance, and build relationships with other powerful allies. 2. Surprisingly for a Harvard MBA, Dubinsky was cavalier about gathering data to prove she was performing strongly.She believed lack of dealer complaints wasipso facto proof of strong execution. She could not prove that her Distribution system presented fewer dealer complaints than Commodore’s, or had a faster delivery schedule than IBM’s, or was cheaper and more efficient than Tandy’s.

When Jobs later challenged her results, she lacked routine benchmarking to rebut his criticisms. Dubinsky left herself vulnerable to a hypothesis that her measure of success – lack of dealer complaints – was not actually a success, but instead evidence that Apple was bearing too much of the inventory carrying expense in the supplier-dealer relationship.If Dubinsky had gathered comparative data in the ordinary course to measure her performance, she could have forcefully defended herself against Jobs’ JIT attack. 3. Dubinsky demonstrated some lack of initiative. She thought the problem in Apple’s supply chain was inaccurate demand forecasting by the manufacturing groups, but she seems to have made no effort to address that problem. Thus, her warehouses had three years of gluts and troughs, which directly led to Jobs’ JIT argument.

This failure contradicts Apple’s value of “Team Spirit”, which “encouraged [employees] to interact with all levels of management, sharing ideas and suggestions to improve Apple’s effectiveness and quality of life. ” III. Hypothesize why Dubinsky reacted this way to Jobs’ and Coleman’s JIT proposal. 1. Dubinsky thought the JIT proposal would destroy the Company. Her reaction presents mistakes and flaws, but at core there isa substantive business judgment. This is valuable in that Dubinsky notices many flaws and unintended consequences implemented in the proposal.

. Professor Jick’s article “Note on the Recipients of Change” allows us to speculate that a substantial part of Dubinsky’s identity is tied up in her work, and that this change therefore threatens her self-identity. Dubinsky has no outside obligations that would prevent her from quitting; in Jick’s phrasing, she lacks diversified emotional investing. Work is all she has, and it is being taken away. All the ways she measures herself as professionally successful – quality dealer relationships, lack of complaints, etc. ave been questioned or discarded in the JIT process, and her place in the proposed JIT world is undefined and uncertain. She feels like she is unsafe, losing control of her destiny, and powerless.

We can further hypothesize that Coleman’s presence exacerbates the situation because she has credentials similar to Dubinsky’s and is vigorously intruding into her space. 3. Dubinsky went through the change process relatively slowly, suggesting a comparative lack of capacity for change. Her earlier refusal Jobs’ employment offer also suggests that she is more than typically resistant to change.The first 7 months of the JIT dispute show Dubinsky in shock (using Jick’s terminology), by denying the change could possibly occur, becoming demotivated and ineffective, missing deadlines, and the like. She finally reaches the “anger” phase at the Leadership Retreat when she lashes out at Scully and subsequently gives an ultimatum to Campbell. This indicates she still has a way to go till “adaptation and acceptance.

” 4. Dubinsky is averse to proving her arguments through cross-examination, i. e. she dislikes salesmanship. She has a commanding presence, holds tenaciously to her positions, and operates by fiat.We may presume she has the faults of her qualities; she likes to get things done because of who she is rather than by the substance of what she says. This trait becomes particularly glaring in the context of resisting skilled salespeople Jobs and Coleman.

Dubinsky disdains Coleman’s sales skills (i. e. at the Leadership Retreat) because she likes to think experience is more important, despite months of contrary evidence in this dispute. 5. Dubinsky incorrectly framed the JIT dispute as being between her and Coleman, when it was actually between her and Jobs.Framing the contest thus was probably more comfortable for her because fighting the Company’s founder was frightening, but it caused her to reach an incorrect conclusion: that her experience would trump Coleman, when it was really Jobs advancing the JIT proposal. 6.

We may rationally hypothesize that Dubinsky does not know how to react to her own setbacks and failures, because her career to date has been an unmitigated success. When outmaneuvered by Jobs and Coleman, Dubinsky was not flexible enough to quickly pick herself up off the mat and fight back.Instead, she is left paralyzed by depression and stuck in the same mindset that led to her initial defeat. IV. What do you think would have been a better way for all to handle the situation? Dubinsky bears the greatest fault for this situation, and should have done the following: 1. Taken Jobs’ proposal extremely seriously from the start. The Chairman and founder of the Companywarranted more than a brushoff or assumption that he would just go away in deference to Dubinsky’s reputation.

Dubinsky’s reaction of denial and disbelief was counterfactual and presented substantial breathing space for the JIT proposal. . Affirmatively make her case using comparative data. Dubinsky should have already had this data, but since she did not, she should have immediately gotten it. The fact that the JIT proposal did not originate with Dubinsky though she was the distribution manager and competitors like IBM were doing it, is telling. Dubinsky needs data to rationally and carefully examine both the current model and the JIT model to prove which is best. 3.

Engage Coleman. The case statesno instance where Dubinsky speaks to Coleman before the task force.Since we have hypothesized that the JIT proposal paralyzed Dubinsky with shock at the magnitude of the change, this reaction is understandable (ignore her and she will fail). However, it reflects underestimating both of the seriousness of Jobs’ criticism and of Coleman’s abilities. Dubinsky’s failure to engage Coleman creates the impression that the JIT proposal is fait accompli, because Coleman is already examining Distribution questions as if Dubinsky’s brief has been transferred to Macintosh, which is what the JIT proposal would do. . Acted to gain allies.

Dubinsky should have properly framed the JIT proposal as a contest against Jobs in which she would need to convince allies to support her position. She should not have alienated potential allies by acting churlish in the task force and then reversing herself, by embarrassing Scully at the Leadership Retreat, and embarrassing Campbell by giving him slapdash, unimpressive work to present at the Executive Retreat.Allies were clearly available because the Company was divided into Jobs and anti-Jobs factions, and Jobs was also creating tension and making enemies by criticizing other executives (such as Weaver) and intruding into other people’s jobs (Scully). Jobs:Jobs recruited Scully specifically to organize the Company, but simultaneously undermined him. Putting distribution back under each product group (instead of combined for all products) would undo the corporate structure Scully established when he was hired. The JIT proposal and concomitant pressure clearly shows Jobs diminishing Scully.This is a mistake.

Jobs should allow Scully to do his job and rationally consider the evidence for the JIT proposal. Diminishing Scully makes the JIT proposal a political football (as at the Executive Retreat). Jobs wants to act on his ideas quickly without prolonged analysis, i. e. he seems to long for “the good old days” of Apple described in the lease example on page 6. Jobs does not accept that Apple is too big to just do things immediately because he wants too, that Jobs is not the best at all elements of Apple’s business, and that other views in the Company matter now.This is a mistake.

If the JIT proposal actually was right, there was no harm in presenting it through the proper channels, rather than attempting to circumvent all the people who might have relevant experience and opinions. If Jobs wanted the JIT proposal so badly, then he should have sold it to Campbell, Weaver, and Dubinsky, rather than trying to eliminate them as obstacles. Jobs also should not have blindsided Weaver and Dubinsky with public criticism; this antagonized the Sales division and created unnecessary enemies for Jobs. It lso paints Jobs as being only interested in the success of Macintosh, and unfairly shifting blame onto other groups to protect his own fief. Coleman: Coleman should have been trying to find the best answer on the JIT proposal rather than just to prove a preconceived conclusion; she is a manager and not a lawyer for the prosecution. Campbell’s group had all the relevant information; Coleman’s failure to engage them ensured that the JIT proposal presented an incomplete analysis, as evidenced by the many mistakes and contradictions identified by Dubinsky.She could have accomplished her objectives more effectively by engaging Campbell’s group and disarming their objections.

Coleman also over-relied on salesmanship to win the proposal argument, as evidenced by her behavior at the Leadership Retreat, at the expense of evidence. She should have focused more energy on making her proposal flawless. Scully: Scully should have structured the Company rationally; his organization was a compromise that pleased no one. Apple II thought it was undervalued. Macintosh disdained the rest of the Company and its values, creating a dysfunctional jousting for position and resources.Separating forecasting from distributionensured that the Sales division lackedauthority over inventory control but was answerable for it anyway. Scully’s organization modelcreated multiple companies that disliked each other, rather than one Apple pushing to a common goal.

Scully should have acted forcefully to assert his organizational structure and independence from Jobs. Scully empowered Jobs to push the JIT idea by showing early interest and allowing him to run with it without involving Campbell’s group, even though Scully had personally recruited Campbell and should have shown confidence in him.Scully heard Coleman’s presentation without involving Campbell, acquiescing to Jobs disdain for the Company’s middle managers and for Scully’s organizational structure. This created resentment in Campbell’s group that ultimately exploded in the Leadership Retreat and Dubinsky’s ultimatum. Scully permitting Jobs to behave this way diminished Scully in the eyes of the other executives – they believed that Jobs was running the Company and Scully wastoo weak to oppose him. Scully should not have given Dubinsky an extension to make her proposal in December 1985 and then heard Coleman’s proposal – he seems to have unfairly “sandbagged” Dubinsky.Campbell: Campbell underestimated the danger that Jobs’ proposal represents.

He never fought for his turf, never rebutted Jobs’ criticisms, never insisted that his group take charge of the JIT proposal, did not supervise Dubinsky’s counterproposal to ensure it was the equal of Coleman’s, allowed Dubinsky to request an extension, and acquiesced to Scully’s request that Coleman present the JIT proposal at the Executive Retreat. The case presents a dismal picture of Campbell asleep at the wheel while Jobs usurps his territory, destroys the credibility of his subordinates and division, and nearly eliminates his entire group from the Company.Campbell should have recognized that Jobs’ challenge to his group’s performance was existential, and acted vigorously to counter it. He should have managed Dubinsky properly to ensure that the counterproposal was flawless and overwhelming. Campbell should have acted on his recognition that Dubinsky is weak on selling her ideas, and assumed the role of advancing her ideas to the other senior executives. He should have recognized that the JIT proposal was scary and demotivating to both Weaver and Dubinsky, and worked with them closely to make them feel that had a voice in the process and their opinions mattered (i. .

“change first aid” in Jick’s terminology). Relatedly, he should have strongly defended his people against Jobs’ unfair blindside attack on their performance. Weaver: Weaver becomes a non-entity early in the dispute. He appears to be even more discombobulated by the JIT proposal changes than Dubinsky, and even more paralyzed and less effective. Weaver should not have let Campbell dissuade him from objecting to the JIT proposal to Scully, since that early intervention could have helped properly frame the issue. He should have pushed Campbell to fight for the group, or done it himself.He was responsible for supervising Dubinsky, and should not have let he fail to make the counterproposal in late 1984.

V. If you were in Campbell’s position and faced Donna’s ultimatum: A. What are your options? B. Evaluate those options. 1. Let Dubinsky quit. She has failed to persuade the executives that the JIT proposal is wrong and that her division’s performance is sound.

She has addressed the CEO in a way that virtually guarantees a future negative relationship. She has not demonstrated effective management by rebutting the JIT proposal with facts and clear argument.Her lackluster presentations have caused Campbell embarrassment, and defending her to Scully will be difficult because he would appear to be endorsing Dubinsky’s public criticism of Scully. Moreover, fighting to endorse Dubinsky’s ultimatum requires disbanding the task force, which would create resentment among all its members for the several months of time that they had wasted on it. However, Dubinsky has a strong record of performance and holds many of the key dealer relationships. Campbell describes Dubinsky as a unique asset, having her quit would be an overall negative to the Company.This situation is amplified by Weaver’s ineffectiveness.

Dubinsky’s failure is uncharacteristic, which suggests that it could be overcome through good management and helping her through her own “acceptance of change” process. Campbell also presumably believes that Dubinsky’s opinion of the JIT issue is correct, or he would not have let her argue for this long. If that is so, and, as Yocam says, the fate of the Company hangs in the balance, then Campbell has little choice but to fight for Dubinsky despite the negative situation. Therefore, Campbell should make an effort to keep Dubinsky and not take her resignation. . Acquiesce to Dubinsky’s demands by approaching Scully with the ultimatum and endorsing Dubinsky’s terms. This could allow him to keep Dubinsky.

Further allows him to support Dubinsky’s arguments if he actually believes in them. More importantly, gives Dubinsky a final chance to redeem herself in a sink-or-swim context; if Dubinsky cannot defeat Coleman’s proposal on her own terms and with her full attention, then Coleman is probably right. It is possible that Dubinsky needs this period of examination to move from the “defensive retreat” phase of change management to the “acceptance” phase.Also presents an opportunity for Campbell to finally take a stand against the JIT proposal, if he actually believes it is incorrect. The negative of this course is that Campbell must fight to undo the executives’ previous decision to form the task force, in which he personally acquiesced. Disbanding the task force gives the impression that Campbell’s group is a “sore loser”, i. e.

having failed to win their point in the manner dictated by the senior executives, Campbell’s group wishes to change the rules of the game.Taking this course requires Campbell to engage Scully – who approved the task force – in defense of Dubinsky who has just insulted him. It also carries negative organizational consequences, in that it allows Dubinsky to dictate terms to the Company in a context where Dubinsky should not have leverage because the situation arose largely due to her own failures. Scully could just say “no”, in which case Campbell would have expended credibility for nothing. Because the negatives of this situation are so bad for Campbell, but he still needs to keep Dubinsky, Campbell should attempt a compromise solution. . Attempt a compromise, such as pausing the task force for 45 days to give Dubinsky the time she requests, but not preemptively stating that the task force is disbanded.

A compromise position might present a modicum of face-saving for all involved: Dubinsky gets the time she needs without interference, while the Company and Campbell (its supervisor) do not have to immediately acknowledge that the task force is a failure. Dubinsky may work through her change process during those 45 days, let go of some of her anger, and gain back some of her previous effectiveness.If that occurred, it might be possible for Campbell and Dubinsky to win the argument in the task force. The downside is that Dubinsky might reject any compromise. C. How would you act and explain your choice. Campbell really has no good options.

Losing Dubinsky and the JIT argument is bad, endorsing Dubinsky against Jobs and Scully is bad, and a compromise might be rejected by either side. That said, the least bad option is to try to force a compromise in which Dubinsky is given the time she says she needs to examine the proposal herself, and hopefully work through her acceptance of change process.Such a compromise presents the minimum amount of conflict, and also gives Campbell time to apply change first aid and to undo his prior poor management of both Dubinsky and Weaver. Campbell would have to work very cautiously to ensure that Jobs does not somehow force the Company to accept the JIT proposal in the interim, as he has been pressuring Scully to do. However, Campbell has the advantage that the senior managers entrusted the task force with the decision, and Campbell is in charge of the task force.This should give him adequate authority and leverage to force a compromise if he can get Dubinsky to agree. Campbell also must wake up and take an active role in the process.

He recognizes that Dubinsky is poor at selling her ideas beyond using her presence and reputation, but he has not made any effort to help her do that selling, or to do that role himself as Weaver once did. Distribution is clearly in his brief, but he lets Jobs walk all over his people without a strong defense. Dubinsky’s conduct should serve as a wake-up call to Campbell.Dubinsky’s implied demand that the task force be disbanded is a bridge too far – the task force has spent several months for a large group of Apple’s key resources, and now is important to the credibility of many people in the Company. Campbell’s question to Dubinsky about why she cannot prove her results hits one of the core problems; both Dubinsky and Coleman should have to affirmatively present a case based on evidence, rather than just criticizing each other’s work or relying on her own reputation to carry the argument (a tack that has already failed). But there is no need to tell Dubinsky this now – she would probably quit.Instead, Campbell should just give Dubinsky the time she requests, and gradually move her towards a point where she is capable of presenting ideas that will convince the other members of the task force.

Campbell would probably have to gain Scully’s acceptance of pausing the task force, because so much time has been spent on it and there is so much pressure from Jobs. Campbell should use the fact that Jobs has undermined Scully to argue that the process is tainted and needs reevaluation, i. e. he should blame the current problems on Jobs’ circumvention of Scully’s organizational structure.

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