Skills: Research, Writing, Critical Thinking, Leadership Soft Skills, Personal Brand

Skills: Research, Writing, Critical Thinking, Leadership Soft Skills, Personal Brand

In this project, you will examine the way successful leaders develop an interpersonal set of “soft skills.”  A “soft skills” set helps a leader build relationships within an organization to promote the vision and mission of the business.  Soft-skills (a positive attitude, good communication skills, and a good work ethic, high emotional and cultural intelligence) are personal attributes crucial for a leader’s success.

In this project, you will be writing a report.

Skill Building:

You are also completing this project to help you develop the skills of research, critical thinking, writing a report, and assessing leadership skills

Skills: Research, Writing, Critical Thinking, Leadership Soft Skills, Personal Brand

Outcomes Met With This Project:

  • assess the interactions between the external environment and the organization to foster responsible and effective leadership and organizational practices
  • Develop individual awareness, style, and communication skills that enhances leadership skills
  • Integrate and apply analytical principles and skills to make strategic decisions

Read the following case scenario:

Biotech Health and Life Products (Biotech) is attempting to develop new business in Saudi Arabia and Angola.  Each country has an open position for a Sales Division Director that needs to be filled. 

You are fairly new to the job and your boss, Walter Pidgeon, has asked you to review the candidates and perform an analysis on the information to determine who you believe will be the best candidates for each country.  You know Mr. Pidgeon is a stickler for exactness, and is testing you because there is one best candidate that he has already identified but has not shared his choice.  He wants to see how you are progressing in the job and wants to see if you are ready to work independently and capable of make critical hiring decisions.  Mr. Pidgeon is also insistent that all workers support his or her reasoning and conclusions using data and research as doing so brings validity to the analysis.  Mr. Pidgeon likes to say he is from Missouri (the Show-Me State), so he want you to show him the support so he can assess your ability to think critically.  Your job is important to you and you want to show Mr. Pidgeon that you have the potential to do well in the job.  

Completing the Report

You will write a report addressed to Mr. Walter Pidgeon, Vice-President of International Sales that provides your selection of the two best candidates for the Sales Director positions.

Read the country information, the Biotech Company Profile, and the descriptions of the four candidates for the Sales Division Director’s position, found below.

Country Information

Job Descriptions

Sales Director in Angola: Candidate must have traveled extensively.  Has held a successful sales career in either pharmaceuticals or nutraceuticals.  Must have previous experience leading a staff of at least 20 people.  Foreign language fluency preferred in Portuguese or French.

Sales Director in Saudi Arabia: Candidate must have traveled extensively. Has held a successful sales career or has intimate knowledge of either pharmaceuticals r nutraceuticals.  Has previous experience leading a staff of at least 20 people.  Foreign language fluency preferred in Hejazi Arabic.

Candidate Descriptions

Candidate 1- Alberta Raynard

Alberta Raynard is 28 years old with three years of college.  She currently is finishing her degree online at UMUC.   Raynard is a business administration major.  She works full- time for NIH in its hospital pharmacy.  She has been purchasing drugs for the hospital for the last three years.  Raynard is very familiar with Biotech’s product line as well as its competitors.  Raynard is friendly but has a quiet demeanor.   Her upbringing was that of an “Army Brat.”  Raynard traveled with her parents and is familiar with several countries including Angola.  She speaks French at an advanced level but is not yet fluent in the language.  Despite the exposure to various cultures, Raynard still finds it stressful to interact with people who do not have a European or American background.  She feels uncomfortable, not because of ethnocentrism, but because she does not want to offend them from lack of cultural knowledge.

Raynard’s Myers Briggs personality test show her to be an ISTJ. She does not tolerate much nonsense from people, hates surprises, and wants people to be brief in talking with her.  She likes the idea of the collaborative environment of Biotech and responded well to the idea that her opinions and suggestions were always welcome.  However, she expressed some concern that older employees might find her too young in her approach to leading.  She has found that structure, procedures and rules have worked better than asking for input but she attributes this to her Army background.  She would like to be more open with others but her age and sex have made her feel that she must be more formal with others if she is to earn and keep their trust.  When asked how her staff perceived her, she laughed and said they called her a “Type A.”  When asked what characteristics she thought a leader needed to possess to succeed in the 21st century she replied, “…objective, practical, controlled and fair.”  Raynard said her leadership style was transactional but the interviewer is not sure if it was not more authoritarian.  When asked what leadership theory she thought was most likely to work in the 21st century her reply was “Great Man, because it emphasizes the characteristics of a person who likes honesty and trust.”  Raynard’s knowledge of the business was sound but when asked if anyone could be a leader she said no.  It was up to the position that a person holds.  When asked if she were up to the job and should she be placed in Saudi Arabia, Raynard replied, “If you mean, do I think I can l lead in an all-male environment, sure?  I am used to that experience.”  When asked, “What about selling?”  Raynard replied “I will admit that is a harder challenge but with time and constant contact, I believe that I can make money for the company.” 

When asked about her exposure to Angola, Raynard said that she had less knowledge of the Portuguese language than French but felt she could do business there in either language, and stated, “Anyway, most business people speak English in the country.”

Raynard was sure she could improve her skills quickly.  Her only real worry was the fact that doing business in Africa was very much about who you knew and at times bribery was expected.  This was not something she would do.  She was assured that Biotech would not do so either.

Candidate 2 – Jose Ortega

Ortega currently is the team leader of the New Mexico sales division at Biotech. He is Biotech’s top salesman.  Ortega is 32 years old.  A recent divorce from his wife has made him eager to explore the world.  Ortega’s wife was Brazilian.  Ortega is fluent in Portuguese so “it would be a good change to go to someplace different and have an adventure.  When asked, Ortega replied why he wanted to leave the country.  He had not traveled excessively but had gone to Brazil regularly with his wife when they were together.  He was familiar with the problems of a developing country.

Ortega enjoys working with customers and spends a lot of time with them making sure they are satisfied.  His Myers- Briggs test characterized him as ESTP. Hernandez enjoys Biotech’s collaborative culture.  When asked what characteristics he thought a leader needed to succeed in the 21st century, he replied, “…flexible, compassionate, insightful and honest.”  He felt a good leader should change rapidly in a crisis and should be direct and assertive when dealing with people.  When asked about the idea of competitive edge he said “A leader has to worry about making money every day. It is important to have immediate results for all to see especially in sales. Even customers prefer to deal with successful sales people than those that plod along.”   Ortega believes he could do well in another country if the company ensured he received language and cultural training.  He knew that understanding how people thought about business and their products was important but more likely the sale would be clinched if he knew what was and wasn’t good in the country in which he was selling.  He stated, “Knowing your clients is everything in sales.”  When asked how he created followers among his employees, Ortega replied that he liked to have rules but room for deviation, and likes to provide flexibility in the job while staying results- driven.  Ortega said he was a situational leader because it encouraged freedom.  He said his favorite leadership theory was contingency theory because it allowed him to approach things by the situation.  

Candidate 3 – Jonathan Washington 

Washington currently works for the sales division of Burt’s Bees.  He is 48 years old.  He obtained his current job right out serving in the military.  While familiar with natural products, some of which are related to those produced by Biotech, he is not familiar with the medical aspects of most of the products.  Washington entered the interview room all smiles and with a firm handshake.  He was very personable and struck an immediate feeling of warmth and connection.  This impressed the interviewer. He held constant eye contact throughout the interview.  Washington was able to discuss the culture of both countries having spent time in both during his military service.  He does not; however, speak a language other than English.  His attitude about learning a new language was somewhat inflexible on this point. 

Washington was described as an ENFJ in his Myers-Briggs results.  When asked about his preferred work environment, Washington responded, “I believe individuals should focus on changing things for the betterment of others.  I think this is what the people of Angola could really use and Biotech’s products would help change things for the better.”

Washington also had read about Biotech online and spoke with current employees prior to the interview.  He indicated that he was the team leader in his current job and was content with the organization.  However, his current job does not lead to a career position in management, which he desires.  Washington stated, “He leads with personal enthusiasm and praise, put the people in the organization at ease but will attend to the needs of his people.”  He is interactive and cooperative.  The interviewer was a little concerned that Washington may be too naïve about people and their limitations.  The interviewer wondered if this concern may prove a problem when dealing with a culture for which he is unfamiliar and with sales of a product that is new.  Washington said he saw himself as a transformational leader.  He feels that good leadership is built on good relationships with followers.  Relationship theory seems to make the most sense to him for the 21st century because people may change work places and leading change is the future.

Candidate 4 – Adrianna White

Adrianna White is 36 years old. She is a single mother of two. She was a nurse for 8 years before coming to work at Biotech in the marketing area of the sales division in Chicago.  She has been working for the company for four years.  Her immediate manager reported that Adrianna is highly motivated and competent at her job.  Her manager said that Adrianna’s biggest asset is that she “looked at challenges as opportunities and often found creative solutions to problems that others had not considered.”

White’s nursing years were spent at the University of Chicago in Orland Park. Surrounded by a large Muslim community the hospital gave classes in Arabic and White found it very useful in her work to attend Arabic classes.  She learned not only how to carry on a conversation with non-English speaking patients but the names of many drugs and over-the-counter treatments.  White enjoyed her time in Orlando Park and found the culture of the families very compatible with her own ideas of family.

White’s Myers Briggs results indicated that she is an ENTJ.  When asked if she felt the Myers-Briggs description fit her she replied, “Absolutely! Especially the part that I reward risk taking in the work environment. I do not think poorly planned risk is wise, but you have to take a chance in sales.  It is not for the faint-hearted.” 

Having read about the opportunity through the Biotech’s HR division website, White was excited about the possibility of moving her career forward.  When asked if she were to get the job in Saudi Arabia, if it would present problems for her.  She only said. “Initially, but if she planned things out well, surrounded herself with good people and learned about her clients she was sure she could overcome the cultural drawbacks to being a woman.”

On the other hand, White freely admits that she knows little about Angola. She has read some information and thinks she could learn another language if she is given help and the time needed to learn.

White has many innovative ideas about increasing sales.  White’s evaluations are superior and she works well with her team.  Her colleagues suggest that she is flexible and a people-first person.  Her eye contact is good and she comes off as being very authentic.  She describes her leadership style as a blend of situational and relational.  The interviewer noted that at times she seemed to be more future oriented in her comments and may need to worry more about the here and now when getting things done.

Completing the Report

You will use the country information, candidate information and the course material to draw conclusions as to the best candidates that are likely to succeed in selling Biotech’s product line in Saudi Arabia and Angola.  In identifying the best candidates, you will select one best candidate for Saudi Arabia and one best candidate for Angola.

You will recommend the best candidate for the two positions;

Use the following elements to support the recommendation.  Be sure to explain the reasoning and conclusions of your decision using the course material, the country information, Biotech’s Company Profile, and candidate information.  (Note:  There is a best candidate for each position)

  • Identify and discuss the cultural factors and demographic characteristics relied upon to select the best candidates for the two positions;
  • Explain the role of high-low culture in the selection of the candidates;
  • Identify the personality traits that would work well for the Sales Division Director position;
  • Identify the personality traits that would work well for a sales person in each country (this is separate from the traits for the Sales Division Director in the previous bullet point);
  • What indicators (facts) did you find in the candidates interview summary that suggests the selected candidates have emotional IQ sufficient for the job and the culture?
  • What indicators (facts) did you find in the candidates interview summary that would suggest their moral compass might fit the culture of the country?
  • How will personality, emotional IQ, cultural IQ, and ethics help the candidate be successful in the new job?

In a paragraph for each candidate, explain why the other two candidates were not selected.

The Report

You will write the report using Times New Roman, 12” font, single-spaced with double-spaces between paragraphs and headings.  The paper should be approximately 3 pages excluding the title page and reference page.  It is important to write clearly and concisely.

Use the following format:

Section 1: Introduction – brief introduction to Mr. Pidgeon about the purpose of the report. Name this section “Executive Summary”.

Section 2: PROVIDE YOUR RECOMMENDATION for Saudi Arabia, briefly summarizing the main reasons why this person was chosen. (You will provide more detail later).

Section 3: PROVIDE YOUR RECOMMENDATION for Angola, briefly summarizing the main reasons why this person was chosen. (You will provide more detail later).

Section 4: Briefly highlight why the other two candidates were not selected. You will provide more detail later.

The remaining sections provide detailed support for your recommendations. They should be about one paragraph per section.

Section 5: Cultural/demographic factors that indicate your two candidates are more appropriate than the other two.

Section 6: High context/low context factors that indicate your two candidates are more appropriate than the other two.

Section 7 The personality traits that work well for the Sales Division Director and how these played a role in your decision.

Section 8: The personality traits that work well for a sales person in that country, and how these played a role in your decision. (In addition to knowing the traits for the Director, it is necessary to also identify the traits needed for success in sales in general, particularly as they relate to Angola and Saudi Arabia).

Section 9: Evidence that your selected candidates have the necessary EQ for the job.

Section 10: Evidence that your selected candidates have the right moral compass for the job.

Section 11: How personality, EQ, CQ, and ethics of your chosen candidates will help them be successful in the new job. (What we’re looking for is a prediction of how they will do long-term in this position.)

Section 12: Conclusion – a short summary to reiterate to Mr. Pidgeon why these candidates were chosen.

Then, include your references at the end.

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