Growing Managers: Moving from Team Member to Team Leader Harvard Case Solution & Analysis


            ColorTech Greenhouses Inc. was based on growing premium perennial flowers and then distributing them. Color Tech became the largest and fastest international grower in the Western Hemisphere. ColorTech was a supplier of annual and perennial flowers to the stores like Depot and Walmart. ColorTech was famous for its hybrid plants and greenhouse operations, which were high-tech automated, situated in southern North America.The company was facing intense pressure regarding the increased price competition and sales were declining due to the reason of saturation in the market and changes  like improvements in the home and gardens. Moreover, the company was being forced by stores like Depot and Walmart to reduce the prices of its products and also increase the customization of its products which was estimated to be quite costly for the company.

            ColorTech was operating its greenhouses in different locations of the U.S such as; California, Columbia, Phoenix, San Diego, and Arizona. Whereas, Color Tech also leased alternative greenhouses in other cities of U.S so that the company could handle the excessive demands of the buyers. The company negotiated with specific suppliers who can provide regional or seasonal flowers. For the purpose of high sales and growth, Color Tech took the initiative of targeting the grocery store chains and the florists who were independent. It purchased the Colombian company which was specialized in cut flowers and wanted to be a strong niche supplier to the grocery stores and florists.

Problem Statement

            The problem was that the newly hired Sales Manager in Phoenix, felt difficulty in leading her team and faced many challenges which affected the performance of the team. Moreover, she was unable to satisfy her regional manager with her performance. She was inexperienced in leading the team, having effective communication with the team and handling the issues related to the team.

Case Analysis

Melissa Richardson’s Approach as a Manager

            Melissa Richardson was a top performer as a sales person at Greenhouse and she was promoted as a Sales Manager on behalf of her outrageous performance as sales representatives. She was transferred to the place with which she was unfamiliar, and also with the language spoken there. Many mistakes incurred from her end and she tried to make them correct which resulted in the failure of her efforts.

            Melissa Richardson believed in the friendly environment and developing her trust over the team. She felt that maintaining the friendly environment would bring her team closer to her and may result in the increase of her team productivity. According to her building good communication with the team was important as a manager. She had the aim of making Phoenix as the best state for the sales, but she got distracted from her goal. As she started giving more importance to her relations with the team rather than focusing on the demands of her position. Her position required the management of her sales teams and also increasing the sales in the Phoenix office, whereas, she was focusing on developing relations with her team and increasing the communication between the manager and the sales representatives to increase the sales for the office. Likewise, she also wanted to keep herself motivated via maintaining good relations with her team and her regional manager. She wanted to have a proper job design and complete analysis of the job so that she could accomplish the goals.

            Being the manager at ColorTech, Richardson, understood that her role was as a sales leader. This meant that her job demanded to be the leader of the sales team and shifting her focus from strengthening the sales team to the strengthening of each individual salesperson.  She emphasized to increase the performance of her team member rather than concentrating on her performance. She was on the stage where she had to think out of the box and take initiatives for increasing collaboration with each person on the team and understanding each person.

            Her approach was to have a better knowledge of each person and treat each person on the team differently; she believed that each person in the team was supposed to be treated uniquely according to their needs and opportunities. But she was not able to handle them very well and failed to carry on this approach.........................

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