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Introduction, Situation Analysis, Instructions, Technical Background

Case 14 After the Hurricane

Setting: Law Firm; Your Position: Managing Partner

Two days ago a major hurricane forced the evacuation of a huge office complex in which your law firm is located. To your dismay, this fierce storm resulted in extensive damage to the communication and life-support systems of the building. It could take weeks, if not months, to repair and render the complex fit for occupancy once again. It is your task to find a way in which the 75 lawyers and ancillary staff can carry on the essential activities of the business. The problem is enormous and unprecedented and could represent millions of dollars in lost revenue.

Securing alternative space suitable to conduct business at the earliest possible opportunity must be your highest priority. A plan must be developed to deal with this crisis. Your first step was to call a friend in the investment business who had worked with consultants in finding temporary space. Your friend explained that there were two different approaches that you could take. One included locating replacement space similar in size and concept to what you had. The second was to equip many satellite locations, including conference room spaces and home offices, with necessary data and communications equipment and connectivity. He gave you the names of two firms, each specializing in one of these approaches.

On your friend's advice, you retained for the weekend the services of one junior associate from each firm. You had hoped to get the help of a senior partner but none was available at such short notice. While neither has the experience you had hoped for and certainly cannot be expected to be familiar with the needs of your firm, each was described as a highly motivated and trustworthy professional, although they are relatively new in the business.

Two days after the hurricane you are sitting in a suite in a downtown hotel with the names and phone numbers of the prospective consultants. It is essential that a plan be developed by early next week. The issue confronting you is whether or how to involve the consultants.

Note: The choices refer to involvement of the consultants, not your own staff.

Your answer: Decide

Decision SignificanceHow important is the "quality" of the decision, i.e. to what extent does the decision have material, strategic impact on your clients or beneficiaries inside or outside of the organization. (click for details)   Group ExpertiseDoes the group collectively have the necessary knowledge to solve the problem and or make this decision? (click for details)
Importance of CommitmentTo what degree will the implementation of the decision require the support and cooperation of the group to be effective? (click for details)   Interaction ConstraintAre there time or geographic constraints which would prevent you from bringing the team together (physically or by telecom) to make the decision? (click for details)
Leader ExpertiseTo what extent do you, the leader, have the necessary knowledge to solve the problem or make this decision? (click for details)   Team Competence How competent is the group at working together as a team in solving problems or making decisions. The issue is not their factual or analytical technical knowledge, but rather their ability to work together synergistically. (click for details)
Likelihood of Commitment How likely is it that the group would accept your decision as the best course of action even though not included in the decision making process itself. (click for details)   Time/Dvpt PreferenceChoose the importance of time and development individually or use the values specified by either the Time or Development Driven model.(click for details)
Goal AlignmentTo what degree are the members of the group committed to the achievement of the oganization goals which are at stake in this decision? (click for details)      Value of TimeThe value of time varies with the number and intensity of other activities confronting you and your group. Considering your current workload, rate the value of time. (click for details)
Likelihood of DisagreementHow controversial is this decision likely to be among the members of the group? (click for details)      Value of DevelopmentHow important is it to you to develop the capabilities of your group or team, i.e. increasing their knowledge, their commitment to the organization, and their effectiveness in working together? (click for details)
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