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Isabel Stearns

11-05-12

GSM 455

Decision Case Analysis:

Taran Swan
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Recommended Position

It is recommended that Taran Swan, the general manager of Nickelodeon Latin

America, return home and adapt her leadership style to best fit her health needs and the

needs for success of the program. She should adapt her leadership style in several ways

and focus on the three following goals. First, she should limit how much direct

involvement she has in managing the new projects the Cablevision/TCI deal and Brazil-

dedicated feed. Second, Swan should start preparing the upcoming years’ strategy for the

August Synergy meeting. Last, Swan should get her new advertising hire, Antonio Canto,

up to speed.

Decision Options

Swan has three possible choices with the unexpected situation she is being faced with.

These choices include:

1. Maintain leading role and involvement in all projects while working from her bed
in NY and keeping Sonia Schwarz as her “gatekeeper” between Miami and NY.

2. Adapt her leadership style and working relationships to best fit her needs and the
needs of the program and keeping Sonia Schwarz as her “gatekeeper” between
Miami and NY.

3. Select an interim director immediately during her absence and removing herself
completely from work until she returns from maternity leave.

Decision Criteria

The criteria the recommendation of Swan’s decision is based on the following:

- what is best for the success of Nickelodeon Latin America


- is there an appropriate person to fit the Interim Director role
- how important is Swan’s leadership within the company
- are other team members capable of taking charge
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- what projects are most important for the success of Nickelodeon Latin America

and how can Swan help


- what is best for Swan’s health

Proof of Recommended Option

The best-fit solution is for Swan to adapt her leadership style for the benefit of her

health as well as preparing the company for the future, Option #2. It is important that

Swan stays involved, but reduces her management projects. She should focus on fostering

Canto’s development and involvement with the program in hopes of raising advertising

sales, which is a current area of concern. She should also work on planning for the

August Synergy Meeting that will determine the future strategies of the programming its

future success.

Nickelodeon Latin America channel is the “gleam in her eye” (Hill and Doughty,

2008, p. 5). Swan lives and breathes Nickelodeon Latin America and despite being bed-

ridden, it is important that she continues to be involved for the future successes of the

programming. Swan had to prove herself and work through many challenges to get the

program to be where it is now; therefore, she cannot simply let it slide in her absence.

Sonia Schwarz, her assistant, will continue to be her main contact

between Miami and NY. Communicating through email, phone, and virtually will not be

a dramatic change or readjustment for the team since most of her contact and managing is

already done this way. Despite the fact she can no longer physically check up on the

team, she will still be able to touch base with them to make sure everything is on track

(Hill and Doughty, 2008, p.16). In turn, Swan should consider who she would like to be

interim director during her maternity leave in a short couple of months in order for the
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success of the program to continue. Between all three tasks she will have plenty on her

plate.

Swan is an effective leader who knows what she wants and wants to see that

vision be put into action. She has high sense of emotional intelligence, aims to motivate

her teams, and pushes her team to have high outputs. The primary way she measures

outcomes is through quantitative results. She was seen as the best- fit for the job; one

MTV employee states “Taran did a great job involving all the different departments and

allowing everyone to contribute ideas on how to make the launch successful” (Hill and

Doughty, 2008, p.4). Swan’s continued presence to her team is important. Swan is the

main driver behind the success and future successes of the program. The company’s

success could be at stake due to her absence. It is important she is aware of the progress

of the projects. The team’s commitment to the culture of the channel is important. She

needs to guide and give responsibility to others in her team in order for the team to be

successful. She is a goal-oriented leader and all decisions made by her team must be

supportive to the goal of the channel and build off of her team members’ strengths (Hill

and Doughty, 2008, p. 7).

Swan should not rush into her decision and should weigh all pros and cons to see

what is best for her and the program. If Swan was not self-aware in this situation, she

could get trapped in projecting a bias that the program is successful solely because of her

(Cross and Brodt, 2001). Being able to be flexible, adapt, and look at the big picture is an

important quality in a leader. It is critical Swan considers this when deciding how

involved she should be during her leave.

Critique of Other Options:


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Option #1 and Option #3 are not recommended for the following reasons.

Option #1: If Swan was to continue managing all of the projects from bed, it

could become overwhelming and stressful, which would not be advised for health

reasons. Her health could also affect her ability and energy to perform well and threaten

output of her team and the success of the program. In addition, if another unexpected

event were to occur due to her pregnancy, the team may not be prepared to respond

appropriately which would threaten the success of Swan’s hard work. Option #1 may

look like a good option in the short run, but in the long run it is too risky, unpredictable

and not in the best interest of the company or health of Swan.

Option #3: Swan’s complete removal from the program, would not be advised as

well. Sudden removal from the team could be disorienting, hinder the team’s growth, and

present challenges that could have been avoided in the long run. Swan’s leadership style

is present so completely removing her from the picture would be alarming to everyone.

Despite having a capable and experienced team, with the exception of the new hire

Antonio Canto, there is too much at stake for Swan to remove herself. She is heavily

invested in the program and it would seem nearly impossible for her to remove herself as

a leader during this time. In addition, throughout her career she chose work over family

and was frequently travelling. Therefore, it would be hard for her to completely remove

herself from her work despite being bed ridden. She is a motivated and hard worker and

puts the success of Nickelodeon Latin America as a top priority.

Action Plan:
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The goals include continuing to grow and develop the success of Nickelodeon

Latin America, increasing advertising sales, and maintaining the best health for Swan.

The following short term and long term actions will help achieve these ends.

Short Term Goals: (now through maternity leave)

- Swan should focus on her health

- Swan should decrease her oversight of Grieder’s and McCarty’s projects

while increasing their individual responsibility so she can in return focus

on the August Synergy meeting

- Swan should train Canto to give him the tool and knowledge he needs to

succeed

- Swan should maintain communication and awareness of all projects; it is

important she does not overwork or become over stressed for her own

health reasons

- Swan should consider who she would like to become the Interim Director,

assuming she takes a couple months of maternity leave

Long Term Goals: (post maternity leave)

- Swan should consider how and when she will return after her maternity leave

- Have successful Cablevision/TCI deal, Brazil-dedicated feed, and August Meeting

- Further research and outreach to target advertisers. This would involve setting

advertising goals for Canto and Neuhaus

Risks
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- The programming could lose its focus without Swan overseeing it all, which

would threaten the success of the program

- Future unexpected pregnancy concerns could limit Swan’s involvement quickly

- It is a very demanding and changing market, so being adaptable is important

- She has many possibilities to chose an Interim Director from within, but who has

the time and know-how to best take the position


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References

Cross, R. L., & Brodt, S.E. (2001). How Assumptions of Consensus Undermine Decision

Making. MIT Sloan Management Review, 42(2),86-94.

Hill, L. & Doughty, K. (2008), Taran swan at nickelodeon latin america. Cambridge,

MA: Harvard Business Review.