Business Communications Assignments
For this writing task, you’ll need to respond to the following scenario:
Who are you?
You are a team leader at Anders Consulting, a small but growing strategy consulting firm in Atlanta. For a little over three months, you have been supervising a team of junior-level management consultants, who just finished developing a strategic plan with a division of RGP Financial Services.
What’s the current situation?
The work you have supervised has involved a variety of research, interviewing, writing, and speaking activities. Part of your job as team leader is to collect and calculate ratings of each junior consultant’s performance based on his or her teammates’ input over the course of the RGP project. Table 1 shows the results for one of those junior management consultants, Kyle Houston.
What’s happening today?
Your boss, Inez Anders, sticks her head in your office after lunch and says, “I need to schedule Kyle Houston’s six-month review this afternoon.”
“Wow,” you reply, “has he been here that long already? Seems like he just got here.”
“Sure has,” Inez responds, “and I’m looking for someone to send to our Dallas office as a team leader.”
“Okay,” you say, wondering why she’s thinking of Kyle after only six months with Anders.
“He had experience at KPMG in Dallas before moving here to Atlanta. I know he wants to return to Dallas, and our Dallas office needs another team leader now that they’ve signed on to do strategy work with Nortel.”
“So what do you need from me?” you ask.
“Well, I trust your judgment,” Inez says, “and I know you’ve been supervising Kyle’s team for the past few months. I’d like you to give me your opinion about whether he’s ready for promotion to team leader. You don’t need to tell me now. Take some time this afternoon to think about it.”
Ratings based on all 15 collected team evaluations over three evaluation periods.
3 = The member has performed very well in this area.
2 = The member has performed OK in this area.
1 = The member has not performed very well in this area.
0 = The member has performed poorly in this area.
Overall Rating: Mean (2.42) Mode (2)
Major Assessment Categories … Specific Behaviors
Contributing … Mean (2.83) Range (2 to 3)
Offers ideas, suggestions, etc.
Attends all meetings.
Meets all deadlines.
Listening … Mean (1.96) Range (0 to 3)
Lets other members talk.
Limits discussion to main point of meeting.
Summarizes or clarifies other members’ ideas.
Resists telling other members what to think.
Facilitating Group Problem Solving … Mean (2.18) Range (0 to 3)
Asks questions to organize discussion.
Defines questions in order to stay on topic.
Selects criteria for evaluating suggested ideas.
Encourages suggestions of alternative solutions.
Discards all but the best solution.
“OK,” you reply. “Well, I have just finished calculating that team’s evaluations so I’d like to look back over his performance–that way I’ve got something to go on besides my own opinion.”
“That’s why we promoted you!” Inez says. “You know we believe in making decisions based on data and also how much we value group leadership skills here at Anders. After all, every project is handled by a team. Team leaders like you are critical in keeping our clients happy.”
You smile as you let your boss’s praise sink in and then ask, “How soon do you need my input?”
“Can you get it to me before I leave this afternoon?” Inez asks.
“Sure, Inez. I’ll get on it right away,” you reply.
As your boss leaves, you realize she’s giving you another opportunity to prove your potential to move up at Anders. You think about your boss as you look for the performance data on Kyle for the recent RPG project. You know she feels strongly that performance reviews should be honest and developmental; in other words, they should provide a clear picture of an employee’s strengths and weaknesses in order to provide a basis for future efforts to improve. It will be critical that you support your opinion with specific examples of Kyle’s behavior.
How do you complete this assignment?
Use the data in Table 1 and your own experiences on teams to deliver the body of a message to your boss.
Develop a response that includes examples and evidence to support your ideas, and which clearly communicates the required message to your audience. Organize your response in a clear and logical manner as appropriate for the genre of writing. Use well-structured sentences, audience-appropriate language, and correct conventions of standard American English.