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Jensen Shoes

Jane Kravitz’s Story


Q1) Trait analysis of Kravitz?

Jane Kravitz, the Strategic Product Manager of Jensen Shoes, has established herself as a well-
respected manager and individual contributor. In her current company, for the assigned marketing
plan she hired a team of three which included Lyndon Brooks, Larry Bunton, and Cheryl Abbott.

In spite of getting bad performance reviews about Brook from Chuck, she was optimistic as a
supervisor and gave him the benefit of the doubt as well as special allowances as she believed in his
potential. She knew that it would be a challenging task for her yet she didn’t give up. She thought he
needed motivation and the right situation which could arise the zeal to work in right direction. To
uplift the image of Brook she praised his project performance in front of Chuck.

However, her distorted perception about him lead her to put her performance at stake in the
company, as Brooks failed to meet her expectations. When she found out about the Brooks
disinterest in his current job position, she even tried to get him his desired position. She didn’t want
to demotivate him in any moment, though she had been documenting his performance. She was
contemplating to caution him about the termination, at the same time.

Q2) What are Kravitz’s concerns?

With every responsibility comes certain expectations and this was the biggest concern for Kravitz as
she had to prove her capability of being a strong leader by delivering result. She was facing the
major challenge of getting work done by Brooks who was neither interested in doing the strategic
objectives nor honest in his approach or behaviour.

This made Kravitz think that she might have been too liberal with Brooks though Chuck (Director-
Strategic Marketing) had given her a negative feedback of Brooks. However, she was more
concerned of getting the work done by Brooks, anyhow, through motivating him as he was good at
his work (completed environment project) and he could manage the two s.o.’s which he was not
willing to.

Kravitz felt that supporting Brooks was turning out to be very risky for her work and image as none
of her efforts towards making him work on the s.o.’s seemed to be fruitful. For example, sighting his
capabilities she asked Brooks to work on the African American s.o. but he wanted to do Latino. In
spite of taking up the project of his choice, Brooks wasn’t motivated to work his heart out on the
project and he just seemed to do it for the sake of doing it. He was least bothered about the
importance of the s.o. which made Kravitz think whether he would be able to complete even the one
project he took.

Kravitz was also concerned about Brooks’ performance review that she had to submit to Chuck and
which might even lead to his termination without a job in hand.
Jensen Shoes

Jane Kravitz’s Story

Q3) How would you deal with Lyndon if you were in Kravitz’s shoes?

Jane Kravitz was extremely concerned about a number of thing regarding timely preparation of the
strategic performance objective(s) that she had asked one of her staffs under her named Lyndon
Brooks to prepare. She voiced her concerns regarding Brooks’ behaviour with the HR professional
Patty Russell and all of her concerns seemed genuine.

She was facing an extremely difficult situation wherein she is wants to help Lyndon in motivating him
but is failing quite miserably every time she makes an attempt to do so. Moreover, she has an
added pressure of failing as a manager and losing her bonus and promotion by not meeting the
stipulated deadline for the SO.

The latter being an immediate concern that needed action, she should delegate the SO to either of
the two other staffs or should take charge herself. Her main focus should be in completing the task
at hand first, as her project of casual shoes was the ongoing concern for the entire company.

Secondly, an appropriate step on Jane’s part would be to have a conversation with Brooks wherein
she can be extremely upfront about what exactly she thinks of him, how he is perceived by certain
people in the company (namely, Chuck Taylor who is the Director of Strategic Management), how
she desperately wants to help him. She should also talk about his concerns so that she can get a
clear a picture of what exactly he wants at this stage. They both could address their issues and
reduce differences and try to come to a conclusion through the confrontment.

At this stage, Jane could also consider telling Lyndon about his risk of termination at the company.
This, however, should not come across as a threat or to instil in him a fear of losing his job. Only if
Jane feels, after the confrontation, that this could help Lyndon get back his seriousness and get back
to work, should she talk to him about that.
Jensen Shoes

Lyndon Brooks’ Story

Q1) His aspirations and past achievement

Lyndon Brooks was a career driven professional who wanted to climb the corporate ladder and
achieve his aspirations by leading projects for the organizations he worked in.

The following are the achievements of Lyndon Brooks:

 Full scholarship to Howard university


 MBA and Ph.D. (Sociology) from Georgetown University
 Worked as a market research manager at Becton Dickinson then for new product
development in Healthcare USA

The following are the aspirations which Lyndon Brooks had:

 Reaching the apex of the corporate ladder


 Willingness to contribute directly to company
 Get into line management/ management job. Lead environment projects for the
organization

Q2) Reactions to reorganization at Jenson’s

Lyndon Brooks was taken aback by the decision of reorganization and his initial reaction to the re
shuffle was the feeling of being demoted. He was moved from being the product promotions
manager to a strategic product marketing manager.

 Irritated to begin with but still wanted to give the decision a thought
 Despite conflicts in his mind, Lyndon Brooks welcomed the change in reporting to Jane
 He looked at it as an opportunity to prove himself in another domain
 He was keen on doing the environment project and tentative to take the role assigned in the
African American and the Latino Vertical Markets.
 He also thought the assignment and the two Strategic Objectives he got to accomplish in the
two verticals were unrealistic.

Lyndon Brooks was wanting to focus more on the completion of the environment project assigned to
him. He also wanted to prove the viability of the project and someday head the project for the
company, as this aligned with his broader career objective of being in the profile of management
and scale the career ladder.
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Q3) Influence of his perceptions on his expectations and performances

Jane Brooks, an African American joined Jensen shoes with a dream of making it big in the
company. Moreover, the overview of the company as an organization who values its
employees made Brooks seem to think that his decision was correct. However, after he
joined the company he was assigned with African-American and Latino market in which he
had absolutely no experience in. This decision was most probably taken due owing to his
ethnicity. He was also assigned an inexperienced staff which made his job harder and budget
cuts. Still he was expected to perform up to the mark which when he didn’t was moved to be
a “contributor”.

Role of Chuck in the Whole Scenario

Chuck Taylor is the Director of Strategic Marketing at Jensen Shoes. Jensen Shoes was in dire need
for product diversification due to which marketing strategies were to be adopted by Chuck. He
reorganised his group and assigned the projects to three Project Managers, in which casual shoes
was assigned to Jane Kravitz. Jane Kravitz inherited three staffs- Lyndon Brooks, Larry Bunton, and
Cheryl Abbott.

Chuck, being the top management head, had a reasonable interaction with all the managers and
staffs. In this case, Chuck comes across as a critical person with a lack of empathy towards
employees. Numerous examples can be sighted regarding this claim.

Jane perceived Chuck to be very quick and critical in his judgement when he said that Lyndon
Brooks’ performance wasn’t quite satisfactory. This was Chuck’s first instance of creating a negative
image of Brooks with Kravitz. Even though initially Kravitz did not pay much heed to his opinion, later
when she started working with Lyndon, Chuck’s opinion probably became slightly influential in how
she perceived Lyndon.

Chuck also created pressure on Kravitz with respect to deadlines and performances. Due to this
pressure, Kravitz, despite being a reasonable person, failed to analyse the situation accurately,
leading to her negative assumptions about Brooks.

Further, according to Brooks, Chuck was not an empathetic manager. He could not resolve his issues
that had aroused earlier while Brooks worked under him. He was not even appreciative of the efforts
that Chuck had made during the various projects. This led Brooks to be demoralised and
disappointed. However, as Brooks tried to revitalise his position at Jenson Shoes under Jane, he sub-
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consciously regarded Jane to be another un-empathetic person like Chuck when things got heated
up between them.

Throughout the case, though not directly, Chuck did influence the relationship between Jane Kravitz
and Lyndon Brooks.