Performance Issues Facing the Nuf Fun CompanyThe performance issues facing the Nuf Fun Company are very broad, and are complicated further by being focused on two particular personalities, Vic the CEO and Linus the head of product development. The Nuf Fun Company does not actually have a performance management system, and any assessment of the performance of individuals, departments, or the company as a whole is entirely outcome-based: targets of a certain profit percentage, a certain number of new products, and so on are set, but there is no clear, measurable process to achieve them.
Nuf Fun is doing well, based on its numbers, and everyone recognises that the reason for that is one very talented, aggressive individual in Linus. But what Nuf Fun should be asking themselves is, “What if we did not have this individual? Would we still maintain our overall performance? ” The answer is, probably not. The expert commentators on this case study all recognise that, and they all recognise that Vic is more the source of the problem than Linus. Linus is an incredibly insensitive, stubborn, and arrogant person, and he fails in not understanding – or refusing to understand – that the status quo is not a realistic state of affairs.
But on the other hand, he is actually working within the guidelines given him by Vic, and the fixes suggested by Vic for the conflicts in Linus’ department have been vague and not made very forcefully. The real problem this causes is that the resources of the other people in Linus’ department are not being used to their full potential. Thus, the performance issues facing Nuf Fun can be summed up by a relatively simple statement: the lack of a performance management system is creating inefficiency in the use of the company’s talented human resources.
This shortcoming can be laid squarely at the feet of the CEO, Vic. Problems in the Product Development DepartmentBecause Vic’s management style stresses outcomes and results rather than processes, the main problem in the Product Development department is a lack of organisation. The staff have job titles, but their roles are not clearly defined, and consequently, they are doing jobs others should be doing.
Linus is the manager, but he concentrates most of his time and effort on being a designer. Verity is a top designer, but she spends much of her time making up for Linus’ shortcomings as a manager. Steve and Janet are practically pushed to the margins in this continuous conflict of personalities. Although the case study does not say it in so many words, there is an implication that Linus does not want anyone else to receive any credit for developing new products, and that his activities, which he casually explained away by saying, “I’m Type A” are consciously intended to thwart the rest of his department’s opportunities to be creative and be recognised for it.
A good example is his product development process. As Verity told Vic, Linus will insist on the policy and procedures being followed when someone presents him an idea, but while the other team member is bogged down in completing forms, Linus personally rushes ahead with the idea so that it really becomes his and not someone else’s. For a manager to demand that a policy – one that everyone agreed upon, as Vic pointed out – be strictly followed and then to ignore the policy himself is irresponsible and counter-productive.