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Mr. Dees’ Case

Mr. Dees’ Case

Mr. Dees’ Case

Paradoxical thinking involves the process in which people are able and willing to identify the contrasting personal characteristics in an attempt to bring about their positive aspects. A paradox refers to any mutually exclusive but contradictory elements that operate equally simultaneously same time. While people have contradictory characteristics, they can identify and define the core characteristics that complement each other and utilize them to reinforce their performance when challenging situations arise. This paper explores Mr. Dees’ case about Growing and Nurturing of a Company to identify the function of Becoming a Master Manager being addressed. A situational analysis has been developed to highlight the facts of the case, issues, and solutions. The approach will help in explaining each management and leadership concepts relating to the issue in each paragraph and then apply it to Mr. Dees situation.

Situational Analysis

Decision Making

Mr. Dees was successful in his education, professional, and personal life. However, he had lost everything three times due to his weaknesses and blind spots. Firstly, his wife left him after seven years of marriage after getting tired of being transferred every nine months. The primary problem is that he was so devastated for losing his family that he refused to get a lawyer to represent himself and instead gave his wife everything including his retirement. The primary management and leadership concept that relates to this issue involves decision making. Mr. Dees lack of self-awareness significantly undermined his decision-making process. As such, the solution to his inability to make robust decisions about his life involves investing in his emotional intelligence. The basic foundation of paradoxical thinking is that people must have the emotional intelligence necessary to innovatively come up with solutions to their problems. As such, Google is an example of a company that demonstrates paradoxical thinking because its employees are able to identify the need for developing an online search engine that allows people to seek information about different things easily.

Conflict Resolution

Mr. Dees resulted in quitting his job following his mental self-assessment and out of boredom decided to open form a partnership with a local farmer. The problem is that his partner embezzled money from the company. As such, he lost everything again for the second time. Mr. Dees now would have to endure years of additional debt and was forced to work three jobs to pay off his now-defunct company’s debt. The primary management and leadership concept that relates to this issue involves conflict resolution and the solution is to utilize paradoxical thinking to ensure Mr. Dees moves on and starts over again. It is possible for one to learn paradoxical thinking which in turn reinforces the inherent conflict resolution skills. Learning paradoxical thinking involves the leaders acquiring the skills necessary to deal with contradictions as well as embrace incompatible forces. Andriopoulos and Lewis (2009) further add that the ability to manage organizational conflict differentiates a paradoxical thinker from one who is not. As such, one of the most essential skills that leaders should have to learn paradoxical thinking is conflict resolution.

Analytical Skills

After moving to Iowa to work for a local grain elevator that had lost $2 million the previous year, Mr. Dees spent most of his time appraising the business environment and making the necessary changes (Mr. Dees’ Case Study, n.d). One of the changes involves firing 25 people.  Although he was socially disliked for the decision, he managed to reverse the company’s financial situation which had started making a $3 million profit. However, the problem was that everyone saw him as an awful outsider who was focused on firing people resulting in the nonrenewal of his contract with the company. The solution to Mr. Dees current problem involves leveraging the analytical skills present in paradoxical thinking. For example, rather than dwelling in the lost opportunity, he could accept any of the standing offers from potential employers.

Commitment and Passion

Mr. Dees moved on to his new employer the Iowa state regional cooperative in Des Moines. The problem is that the company had just been indicted in a government theft scandal with most of the employees at the headquarters been charged for conspire ring. However, Mr. Dees division remained profitable despite all the others sinking in losses. Mr. Dees accomplished this by mentoring and coaching his staff thereby improving overall productivity. Paradoxical thinking reinforces a leader’s commitment and passion to their jobs. For example, Mr. Dees was able to communicate clearly to his subordinates about what was expected of them. Moreover, he communicated his vision and passion by investing in employee engagement. As such, he remembered most of their anniversaries and birthdays and even showed up at some of their extracurricular activities. The family pool parties he occasionally held for his employees were meant to increase employee engagement. However, despite the success, the company merged with Cargill, which was then the world’s largest grain company thereby rendering Mr. Dees jobless again. Without commitment and passion to his career, he would not have managed to continue pursuing his profession.

Inspiring Others

Paradoxical thinking is one of eight skills related to intelligence but it is probably the least used. This is because most leaders do not focus on creating innovating solutions that go beyond their organization’s imaginative framework. Moreover, the majorities of leaders leverage the old models of thinking which are still relevant in the contemporary world. However, Hameiri et al., (2014) note that the key advantage of paradoxical thinking is that it helps leaders in inspiring others by analysing problems from different angles rather than from one perspective to solve it effectively. One of Mr. Dees most difficult reasonability involves persuading others to follow. For example, while working for the regional grain cooperative, he had researched and compiled an 857-page business plan for an investor seeking to buy part of the Illinois Central Gulf Railroad. Mr. Dee had spent over 1,000 hours on the plan and acknowledged the fact that no one could understand it in just a few hours after reading. As such, it was necessary for him to explain it and inspire the investing group by first getting them emotionally involved. As such, Mr. Dees explained paradoxical thinking which in turn inspired the investing team by having some members of the group rephrase his vision to others who did not believe in it.

Leveraging Competitive Advantage

Mr. Dees realized that his sons and wife had become better managers than he was and he too needed to change. The problem was that without employing paradoxical thinking, he would not be able to identify the competitive advantage that should be leveraged to increase overall productivity. One of the competitive advantages identified by Mr. Dees was that the company’s delightful service was sustainable and others had not managed to copy it thereby giving it a unique and differentiated value proposition. The second competitive advantage is that employee benefits were viewed as being cost neutral rather than an expense. As such, Mr. Dees paradoxical approach ensured that the companies he worked with enjoyed low operational costs and higher profit margins. The problem was that he could not achieve his lifelong business goal of creating a company for his children without demonstrating the significance of paradoxical thinking. The problem can be addressed by helping his sons build trust, becoming ethical in everything they do, utilizing relational power, and providing delightful services to their clients. Moreover, Mr Dees can demonstrate to his sons about how they can develop and implement change by designing a learning culture that is not only open to growth but also flexible and adaptable.

Conclusion

Paradoxical thinking entails identify and defining the contrasting personal characteristics necessary to create positive results. Management and leadership can utilize paradoxical thinking to improve the organization, especially when faced with competing values and cultures. Paradoxical thinking plays a central role in helping leaders maintain organizational stability and manage change. Appendix A show the competing values and culture framework in an organization with the horizontal dimension reflecting the competing demands created by the internal and the external environments. Without paradoxical thinking, a manager cannot effectively sustain the organization. Moreover, paradoxical thinking allows the manager to encourage his followers to adapt, compete, as well as interact with their environment in a manner that resolves conflicts and maximizes productivity.

References

Andriopoulos, C., & Lewis, M. W. (2009). Exploitation-exploration tensions and organizational ambidexterity: Managing paradoxes of innovation. Organization science20(4), 696-717.

Hameiri, B., Porat, R., Bar-Tal, D., Bieler, A., & Halperin, E. (2014). Paradoxical thinking as a new avenue of intervention to promote peace. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences111(30), 10996-11001. https://www.pnas.org/content/pnas/111/30/10996.full.pdf

Mr. Dees’ Case Study (n.d). The Growing and Nurturing of a Company

Quinn, R. E., Bright, D., Faerman, S. R., Thompson, M. P., & McGrath, M. R. (2014). Becoming a master manager: A competing values approach. John Wiley & Sons. (attached)

Appendix A: The competing values and culture framework

Source: (Quinn et al., 2014)

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