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Case Incident: Delegate power or keep it close Samantha Parks is the owner and C
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Case Incident: Delegate power or keep it close
Samantha Parks is the owner and CEO of Sparks, a small New York agency that develops advertising, promotions, and marketing materials for high- fashion firms. Parks has tended to keep a tight rein on her business, overseeing most projects from start to finish. However, as the firm has grown, she has found it necessary to delegate more and more decisions to her associates. She’s recently been approached by a hair-styling chain that wants a comprehensive redefinition of its entire marketing and promotions look. Should Samantha try to manage this project in her traditional way, or should she delegate major parts to her employees? Most managers confront this question at some point in their careers. Some experts propose that top executives need to stay very close to the creative core of their business, which means that even if their primary responsibility is to manage, CEOs should never cede too much control to committees of creative individuals or they can lose sight of the firm’s overall future direction. Moreover, executives who do fall out of touch with the creative process risk being passed over by a new generation of “plugged in” employees who better understand how the business really works. Others offer the opposite advice, saying it’s not a good idea for a CEO to “sweat the small stuff” like managing individual client accounts or projects. These experts advise executives to identify everything they can “outsource” to other employees and to delegate as much as possible. By eliminating trivial tasks, executives will be better able to focus their attention on the most important decision-making and control aspects of their jobs, which will help the business and also ensure that the top executive maintains control over the functions that really matter. These pieces of advice are not necessarily in conflict with one another. The real challenge is to identify what you can delegate effectively without ceding too much power and control away from the person with the unifying vision. That is certainly easier said than done, though.————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–
1. If you were Samantha Parks, how would you prioritize which projects or parts of projects to delegate?
2. In explaining what makes her decisions hard, Parks said, “I hire good people, creative people, to run these projects, and I worry that they will see my over-sight and authority as interfering with their creative process.” How can she deal with these concerns without giving up too much control?
3. Should executives try to control projects to maintain their position of authority? Do they have a right to control projects and keep in the loop on important decisions just so they can remain in charge?
Source: Based on M. L. Tushman, W. K. Smith, and A. Binns, “The Ambidextrous CEO,” Harvard Business Review ( June 2011), pp. 74– 79; and S. Bogan, “ Find Your Focus,” Financial Planning ( February 2011), p. 72.
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