This study analyzes and discusses three shortcomings that prevented investment portfolio manager David Fletcher of Jenkins, Fletcher Partners (JFP) from realizing his team oriented operational expectations. His failures were attributed to poor personnel management, the inability to effectively select or establish team structure, and the failure to devise the appropriate incentives to motivate and reward employees.

After careful review it is recommended that Fletcher must invest in personnel and team management training for himself, take a measured approach to create and sustain team structure and culture, and institute an incentive plan that fosters motivation and rewards the contributions of both the individual and the team. It is imperative that Fletcher learn the skills needed to recognize and balance the competing constraints within a team environment. In doing so, he will better position himself to serve as an effective leader and manager and succeed with his team.

The organizational issues identified at Jenkins Fletcher Partners (JFP) can be broadly classified into three main areas: poor people management, lack of team structure, and an exclusive, non-performance based incentive plan. While Fletcher is a brilliant Portfolio Manager, a significant amount of his time is invested in market research which makes him less effective as a people manager. In accordance with the Attentional Focus Model, as time pressure increased Fletcher restricted his focus and ignored the needs of his team because he deemed interpersonal skills to be less relevant to accomplishing the task.

Fletcher hired an additional analyst, Doyle, without sharing his team concept vision or consulting with his current analyst Whitney. He failed to recognize the value of introducing the two and sharing his goals with them in an attempt to sense a working compatibility before the hiring decision was made. When conflicts arose in the relationship between Doyle and Whitney, due in part to Doyle’s meritocratic values, Fletcher did not address the issue directly and openly with both individuals.

Instead a non-team member of the firm had to intervene, and Fletcher responded by isolating Whitney to obtain her perspective on the matter and ultimately making the decision to fire Doyle with no guidance or performance improvement plan. In addition to poor people management, the lack of a formal team structure contributed to team performance issues. Fletcher falls prey to the team scaling fallacy, believing that growing the staff would immediately reduce the number of hours needed to perform research.

Fletcher failed to set a vision or direction for the team and he never defined or communicated team roles and responsibilities. He did not consider the coordination necessary to share and leverage common industry knowledge or to make joint investment decisions despite the fact that team members could benefit from each other’s industry research. Whitney and Doyle’s interests and expertise were never aligned in this sense and they became competitive in a harmful manner as each strived to become a portfolio manager.

Fletcher also failed to establish a formal feedback mechanism such as 360 degree reviews to track and monitor team member progress towards achieving goals. Another analyst, Rachel, eventually established her own review mechanism, but had to prompt Fletcher to provide necessary feedback which was not aligned with her own expectations. Fletcher did not promote a team structure through the use of incentives that would have encouraged his analysts to work together as a team. His incentive plan was not performance based but was instead structured on each analyst’s base salary plus fixed 10% of his share of limited partner profits.

He believed that this reward coupled with each team members’ desire to ultimately manage a piece of the portfolio would suffice. The initiative failed to have an impact on results. As a new manager, Fletcher clearly made mistakes when structuring, motivating, and leading his team. Fletcher failed to recognize that the JFP organizational approach should not be adapted for his purpose; his team needed to work closely together to better accomplish his goals. He did not carefully consider the advice offered by his colleague Jenkins and conclude that he lacked managerial experience.

Instead he sought team building concepts and ideas from colleagues. Fletcher appeared to implement the concept of pooled interdependence, but with no direction and managerial guidance, the team failed. Proper training may have given Fletcher the essential skills necessary to handle team conflict in whole as it arose. However, he only addressed issues with Whitney and never met to discuss matters of concern with Doyle. He failed to recognize the importance of listening to and considering all of his team members’ input on level terms when attempting to resolve conflict.

From the onset, Fletcher did not understand the need to discuss his plan to staff vacancies with current team members. Fletcher should have set expectations from the beginning and informed team members what the future would bring. When a team member was hired, it would have been beneficial to introduce the new member and identify their role and responsibilities within the team. This would have lessened the potential risk of conflict. As the team grew, Fletcher could have identified an incentive program to provide goals for the team and individual to strive for.

When forming the team, Fletcher failed to realize that team building and training would enhance collaboration. By implementing team training and interaction, Fletcher could have realized the potential to increase collaborative thinking while reducing team conflict that can stem from individualism. Unfortunately, Fletcher’s lack of knowledge and experience did not allow him to realize his team’s deficiencies, or that there are a variety of team structure models to choose from that may have better suited his needs.

Based on his needs for the management of his portfolio, it is recommend that Fletcher hire the additional analysts Fiske and Robinson, and that he deploys a different approach in the creation and management of this new team. First, Fletcher must invest time in management training. Secondly, the team he creates should be a self-managing effort. Once the team has come together, they should train and grow together. Finally, Fletcher must devise a performance incentive plan that takes into account the team’s contributions as well as each individual performance.

Based on his initial team failure, Fletcher must develop a deeper understanding of team dynamics and management. After attending management training, he should be able to recognize his strengths and weaknesses as a manager; define his responsibilities as team leader, and learn how to guide and support his new team for the greater purpose of the firm, which ultimately is to grow profits.

Fletcher could use the self-managing team model and clearly define the team’s goals, expectations, incentives, conflict resolution mechanisms, and provide enough autonomy to each employee to complete his/her share of the tasks in order to reach both the firm and team goals. After Kindred, Fiske, and Robinson are all together at the firm, Fletcher and his employees must train in and practice internal team dynamics. Training as a group will help the team develop their own transactive memory system and allow everyone to get to know each other’s areas of expertise, recognize interdependencies, and build trust in creating a shared team model.

Team training will help to avoid issues such as process loss, uneven communication, hidden profiles, and the common information effect. A performance based incentive plan that takes into account each member contribution to the team as well as each individual performance provides a set up in which each member has a defined role in accomplishing goals. The plan would help create an environment where each team member’s performance is recognized, valued, and supported.