Why was Dubinsky initially successful at Apple?
Donna Dubinsky was initially successful at Apple because she projected a lot of confidence and conviction in her beliefs. Donna was a decision maker who battle for procedure. Donna was focused primarily on her caring and honest relationships with her subordinates. Donna was aggressive with her convictions; she pushed hard for an interview with Apple and received an offer only after pointing out that they would never find another Harvard MBA that wanted to work in customer service. Donna took advantage of every opportunity with to advance at Apple through her direct and hard-nosed style. Donna’s individual performance was impressive. She was able to deliver results and her groups performed well on key metrics. Apple was the perfect place for Donna since being a young company light on formality that underwent frequent reorganizations.
Apple’s fast growth, loose organization, and corporate culture allowed Donna to make decisions “above her pay grade” and thus demonstrate her ability to perform at higher levels of responsibility. Place yourself in Dubinsky’s position. Why did she respond the way she did to the JIT proposal? Donna could never understand why the JIT proposal was even being discussed. She didn’t see any problems in the distribution area, and thought this was a cost cutting measure by Jobs because the Mackintosh division was underperforming. Donna never understood why the reins had been taking from her hands in the first place and given to the taskforce. Donna viewed this as a direct attack on her job and remarked “I didn’t know why there should be a taskforce at all. Distribution’s our job”. In her mind everything was working so well. There was no problem to solve.
What do you think she should have done differently and why? Be specific. Donna did not respond to the JIT proposal in her usually calm and confident manner. Donna felt personally attached by this proposal and lashed out. Donna had critiqued and reacted to Coleman’s proposal but had never gone any further. Donna needed to rebut the proposal using real and concrete data. Instead, Donna could never put a proposal of her own together that was comprehensive enough to give Apple alternative solutions. During the taskforce meeting Donna dug in her heals and refused to offer alternatives. Her viewing the JIT proposal as a personal attach never allowed Donna to understand that she could have help influence positive change at Apple if she just realized that sometimes you need to enhance procedures even when things are going well.
She should have spent her time on setting up another and new distribution plan. It was obvious that Apple could reduce their cost in distribution with a new system, but Donna refuse to make any changes. Donna could have proposed using the JIT system for some of Apple’s products and the existing distribution system for products not suitable for the JIT system. This could have reduced the number of warehouses and reduced cost. I think the ultimatum Donna gave was the wrong action. She should have taken recommendations and advice, evaluated the distribution process, and proposed her own solutions to the taskforce.