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When a Team Leader Loses Control over the Budget: Can the Team Meet its Goals?

Catherine Mercer Bing’s new book, Many Cultures One Team: Build Your Cultural Repertoire, contains many real-world examples of teams she has worked with and helped to understand and avoid situations that detract from team effectiveness.

Following is an example of a team that has serious challenges due to a change in funding.

A major, global pharmaceutical company made a company-wide finance reporting change. A change in funding has a big impact on team interactions.

The pharmaceutical company moved the monies from the compound development research team leader’s budget and reallocated the monies into functional leaders’ budgets. This was an attempt by headquarters to get better forecasting and budget reporting figures.

Impact on the Team

Team interactions started falling apart. The team leader was faced with a team that was becoming less productive. Team members’ priorities changed from team to departmental goals. When the funding was moved, team members felt that this change signaled that management prioritized departmental work over their work on team goals. Also, since it would be the functional leaders, rather than the team leader, who made salary and bonus decisions, the attention was redirected away from the work of the team to their other functional responsibilities. This organizational change refocused team members’ priorities on their departmental work rather than on their research.

The source of team members’ salaries and other resources has a big impact on employee priorities and attention.

Possible Solutions?

What would you advise or coach a team leader to do to maintain productivity when his or her budget is reallocated to the functional leaders’ budgets?

How, under such circumstances, can the team leader ensure that the team continues to focus on achievement of its goals?


Stay tuned for more excerpts from Many Cultures One Team: Build Your Cultural Repertoire, a new book on teams by Catherine Mercer Bing.  Future blogs will provide examples of team issues and ask readers to comment on what is happening and to discuss possible mitigations.  We hope you join the group of readers/responders.

Click here to order your copy. Enter promo code OneTeam to receive 20% off from Technics Publications website,

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