Some of the top leadership challenges within organizations are similar regardless of firm diversity, the situation being faced, organization culture and the context. Organization leaders are responsible for the direction and strategy as well as the ultimate performance. A leader has the ultimate role of directing the team or the organization (Larson & Gray, 2013). Leaders must provide direction and the innovation that would mean growth of an organization and maintenance or raising performance. Additionally, leaders are expected to motivate a diversified group of people, developing future leaders for the achievement of long-term performance. In dealing with the challenges faced by organizations, leaders must first take into account process of skill development. It is worth for the leader to lead with integrity and purpose. Diversity tends to encourage innovative and creative solutions for ideas and problems that strengthen organization performance (Jiménez, 2016).
This paper will explore analyses of challenges that project leader met while running projects. Also, the paper will address how leaders may deal with the challenges and recommend for a similar incident in future.
Key Leadership Challenges for the Project
The first arrival of Apple iPhone was in the year 2007, and since then, the company has been able to entirely change the manner in which the world operates. This project meant new challenges for other app developers. Senior leaders of Apple were faced with various leadership challenges that allied with issues such as style, structure, strategy, skill, system, and staff. An organization with the idea to manage such a project will be faced with similar leadership issues that faced Apple during iPhone development. For instance, leaders at Apple Inc faced challenges of application compatibility. Certainly, it was easier to deal with the aspect of Apple compatibility but a vigorous process in the iOS. By then, it was challenging for the leaders to decide the best version that would have been supported by the iOS application. Idyllically, the benefits associated with versions tend to be wider clientele. App compatibility for the iPhone was a challenge that the project leaders faced (Snyder, 2014).
IPhone demos were made in January 2007 and audience agreed that the project was remarkable and faultless. Steve Job would take a bare working iPhone prototype and with simple engineering skills. However, simple engineering skills were not able to achieve excellence when the iPhone was able to go to the market on June 29. Clients had expectations that it would have worked faultlessly as the case presented by Steve Job. However, the entire iPhone team understood that they required every hour to deliver the best. The fact is that Apple had only prototypes that were fragile and could not have withstood the normal shipping process from the Asian Apple factories (West & Mace 2010).
Apple leaders had to account on how they would have build iPhones in collection amount. Leaders heading the iPhone project development had no skills on how test antennas would have been developed. In fact, all quantities that come out of the company production line were required to be tested and well characterized. This was based on reasoning that there was greater variability upon how the antennas were built in an assembly line. This was impacting the radio performance (Rose, 2013). However, Apple leadership team remained fanatical of not giving any chance for not coming up with their testing setup to deal with the issues. Despite the move, the key features of the iPhone were not perfect. The virtual keyboard of iPhone (divisive feature) was not working as expected. For instance, when one touched the letter “e,” it caused all additional inscriptions to go off on the keyboard. Rather that emerging immediately after it was typed; the letters would take a lagging time. The team leaders at Apple were almost to declaring the project as a failed product development since it failed to have a physical keyboard. As well, the company executive remained worried. Neither, they were uncomfortable when using the keyboard. In fact, they were concerned with the process of touching a thing that didn’t have physical feedback (Komives & Wagner, 2016).
As well, Apple project team was faced with a challenge of system application with memory and performance. It was challenging for the team to have managed the memory since the iPhone device was not innovative to accommodate the trash collection utility. Apple was faced with risks of having the application terminated if it was a source of control. At a time when the developer would have decided developing the app to cover one iOS version, Apple would have accounted that multiple devices have to run the version, with a different level of storage and degree (Nahavandi, 2016). Some of the iPhone games covered various gigabytes regarding size and required huge memory. Having a target to develop such a project, the organization then would be forced to consider that such iPhones will not have the capacity of running such games. The organization must be cautious on the application needs to ensure that wider clienteles base are met. In fact, initial iPhone apps were reported to have the capacity of absorbing an extensive quantity of the battery. Hence, the organization had to make sure that the apps were operating excellently with avoidance of irrelevant processes. However, it was not easier for Apple to have optimized the app and it faced challenges of making sure that the battery was friendly (DuBrin, 2015).
What was done to deal with the Challenges?
Apple executives considered the fact that the initial step was to reengineer the iPhone’s display screen. Initially, Job had considered it to be from glass and not plastic and had found the source of materials (Jiménez, 2016). Glass was deemed as heavier than the plastic and hence the company Engineers’ requested for a strong adhesive to ensure that assembly was held in place. In fact, the Engineers were forced to readjust the way the buttons were working. They considered ways of rebalancing the device considering the differences that existed between the screen weights. Also, Apple had to account ways of innovating call-setting protocol to ensure that the phone was accepted into the AT&T network. Apple wished to have its data to avoid complaints on iPhone call quality (Oke, Munshi & Walumbwa, 2009).
Regarding leadership, the firm organized the team well to ensure that there were coordination and management of all the issues. The project managers were assisting Steve Jobs in coordinating and editing the work for various teams before the entire marketing plan was developed. The Engineers assisted in deciding the product DNA while nurturing the DNA all through the development process. After this, the process was translated into a clear message that the product had to incorporate (Jiménez, 2016). Team leaders provided a greater insight into all aspects of the job for the iPhone project. Leaders were ready to take more responsibilities than ever. They considered the fact that they were the core players upon the public presentation on what the company created.
Leaders in the project were responsible for the direction and strategies. They decided after consulting each other an aspect that resulted in ultimate success for the unit. In fact, they used to share their thoughts with the team and the organization leaders (Jiménez, 2016). The fact was that the project leaders at Apple were working on the issue of time management since the job was too big. Leaders were able to pay significant and effective solutions by stepping up from the level of leadership and took leadership mindset to remain effective and focused on role priorities. Leaders remained more strategic and were able to step far away from the operational roles that they priory held (Cameron et al., 2014).
Skill development was the initial idea for the leaders in remedying the problems. Leaders collaborated well with their peers to ensure they created a supportive team with diversified network and various perspectives that assisted in making a great difference. As well, there was closer working between leaders which was helpful in discussing the challenges (Kaiser, McGinnis & Overfield, 2012). Through this, leaders were able to build up managerial efficiency. Significant skills such as strategic thinking, time management, decision-making, prioritization and getting up to the speed of the work ensuring that there was effectiveness in the project phases (Cameron et al., 2014). Leaders invested in the process of inspiring and motivating the employees. They ensured that all staffs were satisfied with the job. As well, Apple invested widely in the process of team development, team building and team management. In this, leaders were able to instill pride in the team and supported the team. Apple leadership team was dedicated in management, understanding, leading changes and mobilizing the staff reaction toward changes (Nohria & Khurana, 2010).
Recommendations for future projects with similar challenges
Despite the situation the project is facing, it is recommendable for the leaders to take the right strategy while exercising stern control of the challenges being faced. It is always right to think “outside the box” being a case that is unexpected but quite effective. It was worth for the leader to have turned their idea to ensure that the project still flowed. The situation ought to have been considered from all perspective with the search of extraordinary ways to get things done (Lussier & Achua, 2015). Leaders need to search for opportunities where they can collaborate. This is significant internally and externally in the organization. Within the project team, leaders need to incorporate other staffs in decision-making and ensure that they take control of what they group undertakes. Leaders must ensure that the teams own their roles within the project. Making sure that the team is enthusiastic would mean that the project would be more effective. Externally, leaders need to have a tie with other groups. Allow these groups to have an understanding of what is being in the project and extend support and be ready to work with others. It is worth to carry a common cause with other interest group holding parallel interests (Thamhain 2013).
It is good to have an ear to other people responses, ideas, opinions, and plans. Leaders should listen as well rather than having all time talking. Leaders must assume that everyone around them has a significant thing to say. It is recommendable to keep an eye, make frequent communication of the vision. A Leader is the guardian of the team vision, and the leader has the role of reminding the team the vision of the project. Additionally, leaders must set an example to others. If a leader wishes others in the team to have mutual respect, hard work and embrace the firm vision, it is relevant to incorporate everyone in the team thinking and decisions. Leaders who are capable of acting collaboratively and inclusively tend to create organization functions (Allio, 2012).
Organization leaders must maintain effectiveness via monitoring what is done and working toward improving that and ensuring that there is the enthusiasm of work within the group. The leaders have the roles of maintaining self-drive and communicating to the team. It is good for a leader to be around people with similar vision (Cameron et al., 2014). Finding competent and committed people who can be delegated some tasks of leadership would assists in the eradication of pressure and make the team more strong. Indeed, sharing of responsibilities with capable team ensure that everything is effective while leadership is strengthened. Organization leadership is easier with people who are competent and who can be relied upon in coming up with systems.
Allio, RJ, 2012, Leaders and leadership–many theories, but what advice is reliable?. Strategy & Leadership, 41(1), pp. 4-14.
Cameron, KS, Quinn, RE, DeGraff, J &Thakor, AV, 2014, Competing values leadership. Edward Elgar Publishing.
DuBrin, AJ, 2015, Leadership: Research findings, practice, and skills. Nelson Education.
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Kaiser, RB, McGinnis, JL & Overfield, DV, 2012, The how and the what of leadership. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 64(2), p.119.
Komives, SR & Wagner, WE, 2016, Leadership for a better world: Understanding the social change model of leadership development. John Wiley & Sons.
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Lussier, RN & Achua, CF, 2015, Leadership: Theory, application, & skill development. Nelson Education.
Nahavandi, A, 2016, The Art and Science of Leadership -Global Edition. Pearson.
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Oke, A, Munshi, N & Walumbwa, FO, 2009, The influence of leadership on innovation processes and activities. Organizational Dynamics, 38(1), pp.64-72.
Rose, KH., 2013, A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide)—Fifth Edition. Project management journal, 44(3).
Snyder, CS, 2014, A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge: PMBOK (®) Guide. Project Management Institute.
Thamhain, HJ, 2013, Changing dynamics of team leadership in global project environments. American Journal of Industrial and Business Management, 3(2), p.146.
West, J & Mace, M, 2010, Browsing as the killer app: Explaining the rapid success of Apple’s iPhone. Telecommunications Policy, 34(5), pp.270-286.
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