Donna Dubinsky

Topics: Apple Inc., Steve Jobs, Change management Pages: 10 (3933 words) Published: June 27, 2011
I. Why was Donna so successful during her first 4 years at Apple before the JIT dispute? Dubinsky’s advanced because: (1) her division delivers results, (2) her individual performance is strong, (3) Apple’s environment permits rapid advancement, and (4) her boss helps her. 1.Sales delivered strong results, and Dubinsky was a recognized positive contributor to it. Dubinsky’s group performed well on key metrics including dealer satisfaction,supporting new product launches without delay, and scaling up operations as the Company grew. Her group had no complaints from other Apple divisions about costs, or from dealer customers about inventory availability,demonstrating strong logistics performance. She was playing for a winning team. 2.Dubinsky performed well; her superiors describe her in positive terms focusing on her ability to deliver results. Campbell states that she is gifted with a practical intelligence that can translate vague directives from products and marketing into executable distribution strategies. Everyone in the case compliments her commanding presence, which she uses to convince others she has the authority to act despite lack of formal authority, to get the job done. She maintains good relationships with the dealers and understands their needs - a core part of her job that also matches Apple’s first value of Customer Empathy.She was an individual star on a winning team. 3.Apple’s environment enabled her to shine. It was a young company light on formality that underwent frequent reorganizations. Apple could not execute just by pushing “go” on set processes; instead, it relied on talented professionals like Dubinsky to use initiative to make things work on the fly. Apple’s fast growth, loose organization, and corporate cultureallowed Dubinsky to make decisions “above her pay grade” and thus demonstrate ability to perform at ever higher levels of responsibility.Apple’s massive growth from 1981 to 1985 (operating revenue increased fivefold) meant that its stars organically accrued major increases in business responsibility; example: Distribution increased deliveries 60% in 1984. She fills the right role on her winning team, at a time when the rising tide was lifting all boats. 4.Dubinsky has a good boss, at least for when times are good. Weaver’s management style of continuous engagement through rewards and challenges strongly matched Dubinsky’s subordinate style. Weaver generously grants Dubinsky chances to achieve visibility to upper-management, rather than hogging or stealing all the credit for the group’s success.Weaver created a safe place for Dubinsky where she felt comfortable taking risks to grow; she considers him a mentor, more like a teacher than a supervisor. In sum, Dubinsky is a top-performing star in a corporate division that delivers strong results, in firm that values individual initiative more than hierarchy and has values that match Dubinsky’s performance, with a boss that actively pushes her advancement. II.In your opinion, did she make any mistakes during that same period (pre-JIT)? Dubinsky made three key mistakes in the period of 1981 to 1984. 1.Declining the position offered by Steve Jobs mayhave been a mistake – the case does not state adequate information to judge. At minimum, she forewent an opportunity to increase her visibility, title and importance. She stayed in an “overhead” type group, despite recognizing that most of Apple’s focus was on product development and launches, i.e. the two product groups. She alsoimplied that she preferred to be managed by Weaver rather than Jobs, which may have colored Jobs’ later behavior towards her in the JIT dispute. Dubinsky may have known that Jobs was dictatorial, treated his subordinates unfairly, or was about to be fired, in which case she was wise to stay safely with Weaver. She may also have so loved her customer service job that she would not have left for any lateral offer (her interview process presents some...
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