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This post addresses Tommy Tech and the communincations case.

Attached document is background from course.

Tommy Tech works in the IT Department at Good Communications, Inc., a company with 300 employees. Every January, the President holds a teleconference with all employees to outline how the past year has been and where the company can be expected to go in the future.

In January 2010, the President of the company mentions at the annual teleconference that "a new way of tracking customer invoices must be found this year," and he says he is hoping that "someone at the company will have some good ideas on how to "take care of this problem."

Upon hearing this, Tommy Tech decides to quietly work on developing a new computer program to take care of the problem. Tommy Tech has spent the last six months working on this project. He believes it will make it easier for the Billing Department at the company to keep track of invoices, hence solving the problem that the President raised.

It is now June and Tommy decides to surprise everyone by sending an e-mail to Supervisor Sally, who is his direct manager and head of the IT Department. He also CCs Billy Biller, the head of the Billing Department.

In the e-mail, Tommy announces the software he has developed and he describes in detail how it works. Billy responds with the following note, "Tommy, thanks but we have been working with an outside developer at solving this problem."

Upon seeing this, Tommy sends a reply and CCs Supervisor Sally, saying "I've spent SIX MONTHS (!!) working on this problem of yours!!! At least you could look at the software."

Sally then responds to Billy and Tommy, and she CCs the President of the company. Her note reads as follows, "Billy, it is really inappropriate of you to not be more receptive to the software that someone in my department has been working on. My department has been given numerous awards by the company President over the past year."

The President then responds with the following note, "Please stop arguing and work this out. I am leaving for Aruba on Friday and I want this resolved by then. Please present a solution to me by Friday and please do not CC me on e-mails in the meantime."

Billy responds to Sally and Tommy as follows, "Sally, are you aware that I'm a Senior Manager? As I recall, you still have another year at the junior management level. I think you'll find that my outside developer has tended to the issue and it is resolved. Thank you for your concern."

Tommy responds with the following, "Billy, sorry for any misunderstanding. There really is no conflict at all. We are all on the same team and we all want to do what is in the best interest of the company. Perhaps you and Sally can meet today to smooth all of this out? Sorry for being so emotional in my e-mail before."

Sally then responds to Billy and Tommy with the following, "Dear Bill and Tom, perhaps you can meet and discuss? I need to leave the office early today to meet my uncle for dinnerĂ¢?"you know, the guy who is married to the President's sister. I think they are all planning on going to Aruba and I want to see him before they all go. Bill, I know you'll do the right thing and see that my department's software is the solution to use. Thanks!"

Billy then responds and accidentally CCs the company President. He responds with the following, "I am bringing in a consultant of my own to develop the software we need. Please stop all work on this project."

The President then calls you. You are a management consultant who specializes in communications, conflict, and negotiation. He asks you to hold a training seminar and to be very straightforward in analyzing this situation with the employees and pointing out what went wrong for everyone.

Utilizing the concepts learned in this course on communication, conflict, and negotiation, identify your first four talking points.

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Solution Preview

There are some very serious issues in this scenario. We can point out several things that most people in the scenario handled poorly, particularly for a company called "Good Communications," which almost makes the company name seem laughable based on how the employees, including the managers, are acting.

Let's get to the talking points. There's a lot going on in this case.

1. Tommy -- Tommy should have never started such a large project without notifying the department that was directly involved. It could have been reasonably assumed by Tommy, while he was "working in secret," that the department needing a solution would begin to search for solutions. Tommy had no justifiable point in keeping his work ...

Solution Summary

The solution provides a thorough explanation for the Tommy Tech case and focuses on communication, conflict, and negotiation, identifying the first talking points.

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