Instructor: Ed Pinero
CanGo Final Report
August 30, 2006
Loretta M. Ratliff
Team B Consulting Services
We Try Harder
CanGo Findings and Recommendations
During the past seven weeks members of Team B Consulting Services have observed
CanGo’s systems, management practices, processes and operational procedures for the purpose
of finding opportunities for enhancements. This time has been quite productive thanks to the
assistance and efforts on the part of CanGo’s managers and employees. Our collaborative
efforts have identified several challenges, problems and deficiencies that currently hinder the fully
productive efforts of the CanGo organization.
This report includes the highest priorities for review and recommendation. Certainly there
are other opportunities for action on the part of CanGo; however, we wish to place a clear focus
on the best opportunities for higher returns to the company.
Ineffective leadership is the greatest challenge faced by CanGo. Within the first few
days of our observations we realized that we were working with an inexperienced and untested
leadership team. Granted, CanGo has had some great success in the past four years and has
fostered a good working environment for all employees. However, over the course of our time
here we have come to realize much of CanGo’s success story is built upon sand rather than a
firm foundation of strong leadership, informed choices and engaged employees. Some of the
choices that have been made in the past are causing some great distress in this company and
are consuming more dollars than they are returning.
The leadership team struggles to come together and make informed decisions that would
strategically align this business. Following are examples of observations which support this
Vague plans and or goals when discussing items with team members (e.g. Warren’s
interactions with his team and assignment of responsibilities that don’t match skills –
assignment of a critical project to the newest, most inexperienced team member; a
programmer assigned the duty of resolving customer service issues).
No evidence of a drive to attain the new skills that are needed for implementing a new
venture or new course of action for operations.
No honest to goodness “hashing out” of ideas, with data-backed thoughts, leading to
well-informed and advantageous business choices. This has been demonstrated in
every leadership team meeting.
No project management leadership is present.
Strategic direction nor a clear vision have ever been discussed by the leadership team.
Employees experience the same performance feedback, regardless of their performance.
Employees are not challenged through the use of performance objectives or measures.
Bounded rationality leading to saticficing with the “rush” into on-line gaming without true
research or appropriate dialogue.
The Management Team demonstrated great difficulty in flowcharting customer service
processes and call center support work flows.
Ineffective planning has created problems beyond what any contingency could repair
(e.g. unable to meet last year’s holiday demands which increased costs for administrative
efforts, shipping, duplication of processes and loss of business).
Our recommendation for enhancing the quality of the leadership team is through skill
development, job descriptions, overhauling the performance appraisal process and establishing
formal processes for strategic planning (processes must include proactive management of the
plan). Following are specific tasks which we will facilitate for you:
Create job descriptions for all roles within the CanGo organization.
o Include business skills as significant requirements for the HR Manager role
Develop training plans for all managers at CanGo.
o Courses and opportunities to include
Half-day teambuilding activity facilitated by World Class Teams
Adventures in Teambuilding – Robyn Benincasa, Facilitator
Half-day idea generation class by Virtual Team Expeditions – Rolf Smith,
Two-hour class – The Power of Grassroots Leadership – Mike Abrashoff,
o Establish goals for each manager
Identify training opportunities based on need for leadership and
Plan a company meeting to include participation by all employees.
o Agenda should include, at a high level, plans to change processes for employee
development and performance management and must include time for “Q & A”
Establish performance goals for all other employees.
Identify and schedule individual training requirements.
Develop metrics that reflect goal attainment, performance improvement and or business
o Include processes for regular review, discussion and action
Revise the performance appraisal review process to include:
o Specific goals
o Measurement of Goals
o Coaching for commendation and consequence
o Support of goals through training, mentoring and other appropriate methods
o Defined ratings
o Consistent scoring
Changes should not be made in the appraisal review form or process for performance
appraisal without providing managers with the best tools and training for making those changes
Starting at the top will provide a “trickle-down” effect for benefits in other processes within
the company; in the appropriate use of technology; and better results from wiser decisions.
Some quick examples include:
Improvements in warehousing, inventory and customer service processes, vendor
More appropriate use of technology for the Call Center and phone systems
Systems integration -- from the customer order to vendor response and financial
The primary underlying problem that weakens the effectiveness of CanGo’s leadership
team is poor decision making skills and processes. We have observed that decisions have
been made based on the opinions and preferences of managers rather than on data collected
through research. Examples where we observed this problem include the following:
Entering the on-line gaming market was done based on feeling and opinion.
Planning for changes in on-line gaming have been done mostly through informal, hallway
Managers make assignments which are vague and lack decisive commitment (e.g.
Warren’s project assignment to Nick; Liz’s direction for the on-line gaming strategy,
“Maximize revenue while still generating some profits.”).
The ASRS project – the use of expensive technology for a poor solution. Initiating a
project to automate a portion of the inventory process without a discussion on the value
of the current process. On the other hand, not considering technology for some of the
foundational processes that can sink this business when poor decisions are made (e.g.
website and VRU for the Call Center).
No decision has been made by the Management Team to set the direction for CanGo or
to build a strong business in specific markets.
Decisions are difficult and recently have come with higher price tags and great frustration.
We believe that this misery can be reduced simply by building a decision making process that
brings into play valid research efforts and documentation. Our recommendation to build both
management’s decision-making skills and a simple process begins with the development
of a strategy for on-line gaming. This “hands-on” exercise will work to develop skills and drive
out a simple process that can be utilized for future decisions. This effort must be preceded by
research that supports the feasibility of extending the on-line gaming service or supports a
decision to sell this line of business (no room for “gut” feelings). Tasks will include:
A market study to reflect demographics
Industry study to outline competitors past and present standings
A review of current product and service offerings, categorized by demographics
Define CanGo’s market and industry standing
Specific pricing strategy based on cost, competition and CanGo’s market
Market testing for the Webjouster offerings
Customer surveys to capture market differentiators (if they exist)
The results of these efforts will provide the CanGo Management Team with hard facts that
will more easily facilitate the decision that needs to be made. The process they experience will
allow them to establish some basic decision making principles. This includes defining the
problem; establishing decision criteria; allocating weights to the criteria; and developing and
evaluating alternative solutions.
One of our facilitators will interpret and review this information with the CanGo Management
Team and lead them to the right decision. Once a decision is made the facilitator will work with
the team to define tasks for measuring the success of that decision. Should a decision be made
to grow this line of business, metrics will be established to measure performance and procedures
will be defined to take appropriate actions when and where required.
Should a decision be made to sell this line of business, the CanGo Management Team will
take action to engage their legal advisors and make necessary plans. Plans will include target
dates and specific tasks. CanGo’s efforts to establish a more scientific decision-making process
will increase the confidence of the Management Team and will increase the productivity of the
The greatest deficiency we have observed at CanGo is the lack of project validation
and initiation processes. Early in our observations, CanGo’s top management made the
decision to jump into the on-line gaming market based on the “gut” feel of the Marketing Director.
You decided to move forward to spend the funds for research into on-line gaming after one
informal meeting. There is no structure in place to validate the idea of going into the on-line
gaming market; yet, the management team moved forward with the idea. The manner in which
the on-line gaming project was introduced and decided on was very informal. No data was
generated to support the decision. There was no formal proposal or any type of concrete facts to
backup the idea of entering the on-line gaming market. The complete lack of a formal project
initiation process at CanGo has allowed its Management Team to trip into the pitfalls of starting a
project without a formal authorization process which would create some boundaries and
Our recommendations are for a short-term and a long-term solution. First, establish a
simple idea review process that requires validation through research and documentation before
action is taken to initiate a project. The process would include:
A forum for the review and discussion of new ideas.
Ideas must be supported by data that defines costs, time and expectations for return.
Gaining a majority consensus will be the trigger for moving forward to project initiation.
Check points will be established to confirm that the project is on-time, on-budget and still
relevant to the business (another opportunity for using decision-making skills).
Experienced Project Managers will be contracted to provide the leadership of all project
initiatives, no matter how large or small.
Human Resources will work with Managers to find experienced Project Managers to add
to the CanGo team, reducing and ultimately eliminating the need for external project
As the simple project process becomes more mature, we will automate and streamline
This process would bring into check the rampant escalation commitment that currently stifles
good decisions at CanGo.
One additional issue has been directed to CanGo’s Legal Team. Many times small
companies operate as small families without some of the formal or legal procedures and
documentation that large companies see as mandatory. Liz’s decision to provide products and
services that are more conservative than expected by some of the employees has created a
conflict. At least two employees have engaged in initial discussions to launch their own on-line
gaming business. Their business would provide the game titles that Liz has decided not to offer
initially. It appears that these two individuals have the intention of continuing their full time
employment at CanGo while establishing and running this separate business. This action is
clearly a conflict of interest and could easily impact CanGo’s corporate image and exposure.
Employees at CanGo have not been required to sign non-compete agreements nor agree to
ethics policy as defined by CanGo. It’s now up to the Legal Team to provide an appropriate
recommendation for CanGo’s leadership regarding this issue. Team B Consulting Services will
support and facilitate the tasks required to make this happen; but, will not weigh-in with a
Finally, to summarize, our work has identified an inexperienced and untested leadership
team as the greatest challenge to CanGo’s growth and success. The primary underlying problem
is weak decision-making skills and processes; and, the greatest deficiency is a lack of project
validation and initiation processes. Choosing to “bullet-proof” CanGo’s Management Team
through skill development; facilitated sessions for process improvement for processes; and,
leveraging technology along the way will net strong positive returns within the first six months
following the initiation of the efforts recommended.