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Construx Action Maze

Business Game

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Construx Action Maze

  1. 1. Construx Action Maze © Martello Associates 2014
  2. 2. Construx Action Maze This game begins with a problem that requires you to take action. The path you follow will depend on your attitudes and the actions you take at each step. Please record your decisions on the Path Record Sheet. 1
  3. 3. 2 Construx Plc is a Franco-British construction company headquartered in London. It employs 20,000 people and specializes in public infrastructure. Many of its projects are in developing countries. A current 1 billion dollar project is the construction of a 3,000 unit residential and commercial complex in Benghazi, Libya. Construction began 2 years ago and delivery is scheduled for 1 year from now. The engineering consultant for the project is Price & Myers, a UK firm. You are Martin Scofield, VP and HR Director of Construx. You just got an e-mail saying that Eric Leblanc, Project Manager at the Benghazi site, has been seriously injured in a helicopter crash and has been flown to a hospital in Marseilles. A replacement must be found immediately. You consult with Owen Goodall, in charge of talent management, who tells you that Francis Granger, a 32 year old high potential executive, is available. Granger has a Master’s degree in civil engineering and has already worked on overseas projects. He joined Construx after graduating and two years later the company paid for him to do an MBA. He is in line for promotion to a senior management position over the next few years. He is highly motivated and talented. Granger seems to be a good choice to take over the Benghazi project. With his track record, there should be no problem. Goodall agrees with you, though he mentions in passing that Granger seems to be a bit preoccupied lately. His work is fine, but he has a tendency to lose his temper and may have personal problems.
  4. 4. 3 You have decided that Francis Granger is the man for the job. He must replace Eric Leblanc as soon as possible, because penalty clauses may be invoked by the Libyan government if the project gets behind schedule. How will you inform Granger of his assignment to Libya? A. Send him an e-mail (go to 4) B. Send an e-mail to his N+1 (go to 22) C. Tell him face-to-face in your office (go to 17) D. Phone him and confirm by e-mail (go to 12)
  5. 5. 4 You send an e-mail to Francis Granger explaining the situation in Libya and the reasons for his assignment there. You emphasize that he has a year to complete the project and that trips back to London will be limited. - 1 point Go to 14
  6. 6. 5 You ask Granger to think it over and get back to you in an hour with his decision. This may seem tight but you think an hour is enough for him to make a decision. He must find the right balance between his personal life and his commitment to the company. Wouldn’t it be better to give him more time? Do you really think you should force his hand? - 2 points Go back to 19 and make another decision. Be more flexible.
  7. 7. 6 Well, you asked Granger to quit and within an hour his letter of resignation is on your desk. End of story - or is it? Did you get enough information to make the right decision? Why part company with a good executive who has proven management potential? Have you found someone else for the assignment in Libya? - 3 points If you think you can make a better decision, try again. Go back to 3
  8. 8. 7 Granger replies that he’s only been back in London for 4 months since his last assignment to Mexico. You reply that you appreciate his position and tell him he is being groomed for a senior position in Construx. Trouble-shooting assignments will enable him to acquire the necessary experience. You remind him that all the top executives in Construx have made personal sacrifices for their careers and have accepted overseas assignments at short notice according to company policy. He says he realizes that, but that he needs more time to think it over. You give him until tomorrow morning. Go to 13
  9. 9. 8 You ignore his critical remark and attribute it to his surprise at being posted abroad once again. You continue trying to persuade him to accept the assignment in Libya. You point out the importance of company loyalty and remind him that Construx paid for his MBA. You emphasize that loyalty is a 2-way street and that to be fair he should accept the assignment. He replies that he appreciates what Construx has done for him but that he wants more time to think it over and will let you know tomorrow. You agree to this. Go to 13
  10. 10. 9 You explain the situation in Libya to him. While doing so, you notice that he is visibly unenthusiastic and not interested in taking on the project. What do you say? A. Tell him it’s for the good of the company (go to 11) B. Tell him he’ll be helping you out of a jam (go to 21) C. Tell him it will be good for his career (go to 10) D. Tell him it’s an order (go to 19)
  11. 11. 10 You tell him the Libyan mission will be good for his career. « Francis, you have the potential to take on a senior position in Construx. But to get there you need more international experience. We need to be sure of your commitment and that you can deal with major problems that come up. » You ask him to think the offer over and let you know tomorrow. He replies « I’ll sleep on it ». + 2 points Go to 13
  12. 12. 11 You tell him it’s for the good of the company. « Francis, we need you to go to Libya. You know that our Middle East contracts are crucial to our profitability. We have several projects in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar. If the Libyan government invokes penalty clauses, word will get around and our reputation will suffer. Your track record shows you are the guy to take over the Benghazi project. That’s why I’m asking you to go. » + 1 point Go to 7
  13. 13. 12 You call Granger to tell him he is going to Libya. He says he wants to know more. You reply that you will e-mail him the project file. After speaking to him you ask your assistant to send Granger the file. Then your phone rings again. It is Granger and he says he wants to come and talk with you. You agree and a few minutes later he walks into your office. + 1 point Go to 9
  14. 14. 13 The next day at 9 am Granger calls to say he’s turning down the assignment. You ask him why and he replies that since he got back from Mexico a problem has come up in his family. Go to 18
  15. 15. 14 One hour later you get an e-mail from Granger. He acknowledges receipt of your e-mail informing him of his impending transfer to Libya but he doesn’t indicate if he will accept it. He asks for a meeting with you to provide him with more information so he can make a decision. Go to 15
  16. 16. 15 You sense from his e-mail that he is reluctant to accept the transfer to Libya. You call him and say « Francis, if you want to discuss this, come over to my office right now. » Go to 9
  17. 17. 16 Granger explains that he only got back from Mexico 4 months ago. He says that he realizes Construx would not consider sending him abroad again if somebody else with the same qualifications were available. He goes on to say that a problem has come up in his family that makes it difficult for him to leave the UK at the present time. Go to 18
  18. 18. 17 You call Granger in to explain why Construx needs him to go to Libya. He arrives 10 minutes late and says he was on the phone to his wife. + 2 points Go to 9
  19. 19. 18 Granger tells you that since he got back from Mexico a problem has come up in his family. What do you say? A. Tell him that all married executives have family problems but that personal issues should not stand in the way of his career (go to 30) B. Tell him that family problems are none of your business (go to 31) C. Tell him you have family problems too but they don’t stop you doing your job (go to 24) D. Tell him he can talk to you about the problem (go to 35)
  20. 20. 19 You tell Granger it’s an order. Construx has been good to him and you remind him that you sent him to do an MBA because you consider he has the potential to become a senior manager. He replies that his personal life is important too. He adds that he has been contacted by a headhunter and although he has no plans to leave Construx, that could change in the future. He finishes by saying that he only got back from Mexico 4 months ago. - 2 points What do you do? A. Tell him he has an hour to make a decision (go to 5) B. Ask him to think it over and let you know tomorrow (go to 13) C. Tell him if he doesn’t accept the Libya assignment you expect he will resign (go to 6)
  21. 21. 20 You should not be reading this page. Go back to the last page you were reading and follow the instructions.
  22. 22. 21 You tell Granger he’ll be helping you out of a jam if he accepts the position in Libya. He replies that he knows he’ll be doing you a favour, but that if you were a better HR manager you would not have this problem. - 2 points What do you do? A. Accept his criticism but try to persuade him anyway (go to 8) B. Say that your job is none of his business and that what concerns you is his accepting the assignment (go to 16) C. Tell him it’s an order (go to 19) D. Ask him what he means by his remark (go to 7)
  23. 23. 22 You decide to inform Granger via the corporate chain of command that he is being posted to Lybia. You send an e-mail to his N+1, Chris Wright, to tell him of your decision and instruct him to pass on the information to Granger. - 1 point Go to 14
  24. 24. 23 After you state that his posting to Libya is confirmed, Granger remains silent. Then he says « I’d like to check something, I’ll be right back ». He stands up, looks you in the eye and leaves your office. You wait for him to come back but after 15 minutes your phone rings. It is Chris Wright, Granger’s N+1, who tells you that Granger just gave him a handwritten letter of resignation, effective immediately, « for personal reasons. » - 2 points Go to 27
  25. 25. 24 You have stated that your own personal problems don’t stop you doing your job. Granger answers that may be true but argues that such problems can impact on your job performance. You ask him if he has a particular problem that is bothering him. You say « I assume there must be, otherwise you would have accepted the assignment without hesitating ». - 1 point Go to 35
  26. 26. 25 Granger says that you may have paid your dues on overseas assignments. Then he continues « after only 4 months back home you can hardly expect me to go off to Libya when my wife has health problems. » You reply « your wife’s health problems? » + 1 point Go to 35
  27. 27. 26 Granger feels that you have him over a barrel and that he has no choice but to quit. He takes a sheet of paper and writes a curt letter of resignation, effective immediately, « for personal reasons ». - 2 points Go to 33
  28. 28. 27 Francis Granger has given up his job with Construx. A talented high flyer with a promising future in your company has decided to quit and you don’t really know why. Do you think you adopted the right approach? Did you really have to force Granger’s hand? If you think a different approach would lead to obtaining more information, make a different decision. Go to 31
  29. 29. 28 Do you really think that your attitude and statement is the kind of response that a man in Granger ’s position would appreciate? He’s trying to balance his career development against his family problems. Your reaction may be interpreted by him as uncaring and superficial. An on-site executive who is experiencing stress and uncertainty will not perform to his full potential. The interests of Granger and Construx appear to coincide, but you have given too much weight to Construx and not enough to Granger. - 2 points Go back to 35 and make a different decision
  30. 30. 29 You have told Granger you’ll call him back this afternoon. + 2 points What should you do next? A. Nothing, but call Granger this afternoon and tell him HR is going to look for a replacement if the need arises (go to 39) B. Call the mobility manager and ask why you weren’t informed of Granger’s personal history sooner (go to 34) C. Call a meeting with HR staff and the CEO to review HR policy so that this situation does not occur again and examine what steps can be taken to support Granger in solving his problem (go to 42) D. Check with the compensation manager to see if he can provide financial assistance to Granger to deal with his problem (go to 36)
  31. 31. 30 You tell Granger that personal issues should not stand in the way of his career. He replies « well, they haven’t up until now. Since I got back from Mexico, my wife has been having some trouble. I know my career is important, but my wife is more important to me. You know, Construx has always looked after its personnel. But right now the question is how much you think I’m an asset to the company and whether you want me to stay. » You conclude that you need more information about Granger’s problem. - 1 point Go to 35
  32. 32. 31 You tell Granger that family problems are none of your business. You try to moderate this harsh statement by adding that all executives in multinationals have family problems, but that a good executive will deal with such problems outside the context of the job so that it doesn’t impact on his performance. Either that, or he should change jobs. - 1 point Now what do you say? A. « As far as Construx is concerned, your posting to Libya is confirmed. » (go to 23) B. « I expect you to take on the assignment, or quit. » (go to 26) C. « Tell me more about your problem. » (go to 35) D. « I’ve never turned down an overseas posting and I expect you to do likewise. » (go to 25)
  33. 33. 32 Granger says « That sounds like a great idea, but I’ll have to find someone to look after my kids and give my mother-in-law a hand. » « So it’s settled » you reply. Granger nods in agreement and you continue « I’ll e-mail you this afternoon to confirm the posting. » Granger leaves your office. + 1 point What do you do next? A. Call the HR mobility manager and say Granger is going to Libya but may have to be replaced at short notice if his wife’s condition worsens. Ask him to check with Owen Goodall who would be available to go to Libya. Finally, ask why you were not informed about Granger’s family history before you assigned him to Libya (go to 34) B. Call the HR mobility manager and say Granger is going to Libya (go to 40) C. Call the CEO and suggest an immediate review of company policy on mobility. You are taking responsibility for making an exception (go to 37) D. Begin an immediate review of company policy on mobility, to make sure that this does not happen again (go to 41)
  34. 34. 33 Instead of taking the place of Leblanc in Libya, Granger has quit Construx. Maybe you took a decision too quickly with insufficient information. Maybe you were too harsh. If you want to try again, go to 31.
  35. 35. 34 You call the mobility manager and ask why you were not informed about Granger’s family history before you assigned him to Libya. You tell him that Granger has accepted the assignment and say that if personal circumstances require he may have to be replaced before the project is completed. The outcome is that a billion dollar project may be adversely impacted because Granger will be worrying about his family while he is on site. He is going to Libya but is not 100% motivated. You don’t know if he will stay until the project is delivered or if there will be a suitable manager free to replace him if he has to come home. Is this a satisfactory outcome? - 2 points This is the end of the Construx Action Maze for you and your team.
  36. 36. 35 Granger tells you about his family situation. His wife Caroline is 5 months pregnant and is on maternity leave from Morgan Stanley. She has just been diagnosed with gestational hypertension, which if it worsens could lead to the fœtus getting less oxygen and fewer nutrients. In this case she would need to be hospitalized. Their 2 children, aged 12 and 7, are at boarding school in Wiltshire and come home to London every weekend. His mother-in- law is 76 and stops by to see his wife twice a week and also stays at weekends. “So you see, my family needs me right now. If Caroline goes to hospital, who will look after the kids? That’s why I’m reluctant to accept the assignment in Libya.” + 2 points What do you say? A. “Go to Libya and don’t worry about Caroline. If her condition gets worse Construx will take care of her.” (go to 28) B. “Go to Libya and you can come home once a month.” (go to 38) C. “Company policy is that project managers on overseas assignments stay until completion. But if Caroline does need to go to hospital, we’ll replace you immediately.” (go to 32) D. “I didn’t realize your problem was so serious. I’ll see if we can get someone else, but you may have to go to Libya. I’ll call you this afternoon.” (go to 29)
  37. 37. 36 The compensation manager says they will pay for a child minder if Granger’s wife is hospitalized. You call Granger back to tell him Construx will meet any home expenses incurred during his assignment in Libya. He can also fly back to London one weekend a month, from Friday night to Monday morning. Granger goes to Libya. + 1 point But what about the long-term? Should Construx review its mobility policy and procedures? This is the end of the maze for you and your team.
  38. 38. 37 Granger is going to Libya, but he is still worrying about his family. You showed concern for his situation but didn’t manage to take the problem off his mind. Changing mobility policy won’t help Granger. Will his job performance be impacted? What will happen if his wife is hospitalized? - 2 points This is the end of the Construx Action Maze for you and your team.
  39. 39. 38 You tell Granger that he should go to Libya on the understanding that he can return home once a month if his wife is hospitalized. Granger agrees, reluctantly. On site in Benghazi, he does his best to manage a complex situation. He is not performing to 100% of his ability, but you are satisfied with the progress of the project. 2 months after arriving in Libya, his wife is checked into hospital. The next weekend Granger flies back to London to see her and make arrangements for his children. During his stay he takes the opportunity to meet with other construction firms and headhunters. He is offered a job with Bouygues UK and the day before he is due to return to Libya he hands in his resignation. You didn’t handle this situation very well. There is no project manager in Benghazi and the Libyans are expressing discontent as some components of the project are behind schedule. - 3 points This is the end of the Construx Action Maze for you and your team.
  40. 40. 39 You decide not to pursue the issue further and focus on other matters. You call Granger that afternoon and say that you will look for a replacement if necessary. You have not dealt with the short and long term problems in the Granger case. He’s going to Libya, but he is still concerned about his family problem and his motivation will suffer. The successful completion of a billion dollar contract is weighing heavily on his shoulders. Is this an optimal outcome? - 2 points This is the end of the Construx Action Maze for you and your team.
  41. 41. 40 You managed to persuade Granger to take on the assignment in Libya. Now you can sit back and expect similar problems to crop up in the future and you won’t be any more prepared to deal with them than you are now. Don’t you think Construx is ill-served by your lack of initiative? - 2 points This is the end of the Construx Action Maze for you and your team.
  42. 42. 41 A review of company policy to fit changing circumstances is always a good thing. But it doesn’t solve Granger’s problem. He is going to Libya reluctantly and this may have an impact on his performance. What will happen if his wife’s condition deteriorates? Not an optimal outcome. - 2 points This is the end of the Construx Action Maze for you and your team.
  43. 43. 42 Your compensation manager says Construx will cover all expenses arising from Granger’s wife’s pregnancy. He can also fly home once a month from Friday night until Monday morning. That will reduce his levels of stress and uncertainty. A review of company policy on mobility is a good initiative for the long term. You have dealt with the problem from both angles, short and long term. Granger has been motivated to do the job in Libya and the project should be completed on schedule. That afternoon you call Granger and thank him for accepting the assignment. He expresses his appreciation for the understanding you have shown on behalf of Construx. This appreciation will translate into optimal job performance. + 3 points This is the end of the Construx Action Maze for you and your team.
  44. 44. Thank you for doing the Construx Action Maze