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[Solved]Teaming at Disney Animation Case Study Solution

teaming at disney animation, teaming at disney animation case study solution
Teaming at Disney Animation Case study solution

Teaming at Disney animation is a case study from HBR. The Case can be analyzed from the lens of organizational structure, People as an organization strategy, and using restructuring to remove organization silos.

Teaming at Disney Animation Case Introduction

Director of Systems at Walt Disney Animation Studios Jonathan Geibel walked through his department’s cubicle area. Geibel knew he was surrounded by a magical and inspiring place. Over the course of 75 years, starting with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937, Walt Disney Animation Studios created over fifty-three full-length animated features, the most recent being Frozen, which premiered in November 2013 and won the Academy Award® for Best Animated Feature in March 2014. Disney’s Frozen surpassed all other animated films in global box office earnings at the end of March 2014. Not too long ago in the studio’s 90-year history,

Walt Disney Animation Studios had become more structured and hierarchical, making it less than ideal for employees to collaborate across divisions on creative projects. Prior to John Lasseter and Ed Catmull’s tenure, this was the case. Despite this, the work was more multidisciplinary and dynamic than ever before, incorporating elements of state-of-the-art computer animation and creative storytelling. Geibel wanted to know how he and Ron Johnson, whom he had hired and worked with to re-envision the Systems group within Disney Animation, could facilitate a smoother workflow and higher productivity for the increasingly technical and imaginative projects being undertaken by the company. Geibel hired Ron Johnson, and the two of them rethought the Systems department.

In order to facilitate the efficient collaboration required for the production of compelling and engaging animated films, Geibel and Johnson had already implemented significant alterations to the organizational structure of the workplace as well as the physical environment. Now that the changes were in place, it was time to assess how well they were working and whether any tweaks were necessary.

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Teaming at Disney AnimationProblem Identification

What is the problem that Geibel is trying to solve?

Geibel’s challenge in this project is to reorganize Disney’s Animation systems group in a way that will encourage creativity and better facilitate dialogue. The company had become more hierarchical and structured before John Lasseter and Ed Catmull took over, making it harder for employees from different departments to work together and generate new ideas.

The new administration of John Lasseter and Ed Catmull is responsible for these alterations. As far as Geibel is concerned, the company’s inability to accomplish much due to its current structure is a direct result of its management. Disney Animation’s work revolves around telling stories in fresh ways and employing state-of-the-art computer animation techniques. Considering how multidisciplinary and dynamic the operation had become, maintaining the same team organizational structure as before was a huge drain on resources. Therefore, it was necessary for the company to create a new teaming system that would facilitate open dialogue between workers.

For ten years, Geibel had worked for the company in various capacities, including Senior Systems Engineer and Production Engineering Lead, gaining valuable experience in leading technical teams. Because of the knowledge he gained during that time, he is now able to appreciate the value that teams can bring to an organization. If the company was going to succeed, he believed, it would be because someone came up with a new way of structuring the company that would bring the team closer together. Similarly, Geibel’s ability to foster cooperation across Disney departments is hampered by the existence of artificial boundaries.

Currently, it is difficult to carry out responsibilities efficiently because groups do not have well-defined roles.

The company’s inability to adapt to new market conditions can be attributed in part to the rigidity of the current organizational structure. According to Geibel and Johnson, the company should redesign its work processes and the offices it occupies to encourage more interaction and cooperation among workers. It was difficult for workers to work together on projects because the old organizational structure did not foster the growth of effective team structures

To Geibel’s mind, the key to fixing this issue is fostering a spirit of teamwork. He is set on getting his team to work as one solid unit so that they can increase their output. To this end, Geibel proposes setting up system groups that communicate with one another and work together to solve any problems that arise.

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Why is this a problem?

In the Disney workplace, you can expect a dynamic and ever-changing environment. So, Geibel had to make those changes to make animation production easier and more streamlined. This need to improve team dynamics was a direct result of the company’s adoption of CGI. This happened because finishing the animation required a lot of work from a lot of people working together.

The way the company is managed has been changing, so it’s time to rethink the company’s structure. Several people, for instance, worked to perfect cinematic lighting. The organization of the systems group within Disney Animation was another area of weakness prior to 2010. The managers oversaw and coordinated the various projects from the comfort of their offices on the second floor. They hardly ever got to talk to the people who worked in the software and systems department but were essential to the making of the animations. Assigning people to groups led to the development of task boundaries, which impeded communication and cooperation among team members. The workplace was divided, making it hard to improve how resources were distributed.

These alterations were necessary for Disney Animation to better manage the increasing volume and complexity of its creative and technical output. There had been significant changes to the company’s working environment, and so the business strategy needed to be adjusted accordingly. More and more people from various backgrounds are working together to solve problems because of the proliferation of digital tools.

Coordination of this sort became necessary because increasing productivity required workers to learn to work together effectively. Before Geibel took charge, it was unclear who did what on the team. They struggled to keep things running smoothly due to being constrained by the established parameters, and their expansion was slowed by inefficient task allocation. In order to advance, Geibel had to make adjustments and form groups with distinct responsibilities. Taking this step would allow the company to accomplish more and encourage a culture of innovation across all departments.

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Teaming at Disney Animation Old vs. New Structure at Disney Animation

How and why does the “Old Disney Animation” organization (i.e., the historical Animation group as it was founded and lasted for decades – pre-computerization) differ from Disney Animation in 2013? [Guide: be sure to compare and contrast how teams are structured, the nature of work, the role of managers, team governance, processes, office design, and the culture]

The major difference between both structures could be found in the reporting structures. In the old structure, 50 person department would have reported to a functional manager. The functional managers in turn would report to the director of systems. This resulted in the development of internal silos. Even conventional reporting structures would mean 15-20 persons reporting to single functional manager which was an impediment to the free flow of ideas that was required for a creative organization. Nevertheless, in 2013, Disney Animation teams had a different organizational structure.

Geibel has developed semi-independent groups throughout the company consisting of between two and six persons in each group. The capabilities that each individual member of the team possesses played a role in the selection process. The head of a team will seek advice and authorization from the members of the team who are considered to be technical subject-matter experts. In addition, depending on the requirements of the situation, workers in a team might be assigned either primary or secondary duties.

When workers on a team are assigned big tasks, the worker is entrusted with a significant amount of responsibility for the team as a whole. The development of a team’s technical and soft skills might benefit from the addition of individuals with complementary skills. In addition, each team is led by a manager who is accountable for the advancement of individual careers, the funding of technological advancements, and the coaching of the team. The leaders of groups are entrusted with the responsibility of directing their teams in the right direction and overseeing their day-to-day operations.

Because the offices are so close to one another, the employees are able to readily collaborate and share ideas in order to discover effective solutions to any problems that may arise. The fact that everyone was in the same location encouraged impromptu brainstorming among the group. In addition, we have reserved spots in our technical areas for more casual get-togethers, so that our employees won’t have to walk around while crucial conversations are taking place. The location of the managers’ offices is crucial to the operation of the system. They were able to demonstrate better leadership to their subordinates after leaving the isolation of their offices and interacting more closely with them.

After the “dailies” system was put into place, it became much simpler for workers to think up original concepts. It’s because they were much too forthcoming with their managers about the ongoing initiatives they were working on.

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What is your assessment of the effectiveness of this alternative approach?

The new structure in the company provided room for innovation. Group members found it easy to communicate with each other as their working space was closely connected. Team members thus found it easy to share ideas and solve any issue faster. The office setting promoted information communication, which was crucial in facilitating innovativeness as problems were solved faster. Such an organizational structure also made it easy for managers to share information with ease.

It is because their offices were also in the same working environment as the other group members. This was unlike before were their offices were upstairs where employees could not communicate with them easily. The changes brought by Geibel in the organizational structure of Disney Animation were crucial in making the company provide more and better products to its customers. The changes were also vital in making the company adjust to the ever-changing technology in this industry.

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What was the impact of Disney’s acquisition of Pixar in 2006, and how did this influence top leadership in the company to think differently?

After acquiring Pixar in 2006, the company made a dramatic change in its approach to animation. While in charge, Andy Hendrickson was able to guide the company in the direction of hiring people who would inject a spirit of innovation throughout the company. It was also in 2010 that Geibel was hired as Disney Animation’s director of systems, a position made possible by the acquisition. As part of his efforts to make the company more innovative, Geibel restructured the way it was run by establishing specialized teams.

The acquisition also enlightened Disney Animation’s upper management, causing them to modify their approach to human resource management. They banded together into teams and developed close relationships with one another within those groups, allowing for more effective dialogue. The acquisition also helped bring the company’s leaders closer to their staff, which boosted communication on both the formal and informal levels. Changes of this nature were essential to enhancing the functioning of the organization.

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Teaming at Disney Animation: Implementation

How did Geibel and Johnson implement a new structure at Disney Animation?

Utilizing both the latest research and insights from a wide range of other sources, Geibel and Johnson came up with the best possible strategy for the country. Because of this, they were able to devise a plan that would benefit the country the most. They developed several hypotheses and tested them to learn more about the problems that the business was experiencing.

More importantly, the theories showed Geibel and Johnson where they needed to improve so that their business could thrive. After that, the two of them came up with a plan for leading the team that included no more than six other people. Teams were led by individuals who not only saw the big picture but also understood their place in it. These leaders were also responsible for supervising the team captains under them. Employees with the required level of technical expertise could move up the corporate ladder thanks to the availability of these positions.

Seeing these individuals as leaders, Geibel and Johnson believed they could effect the necessary shift within the company. In the previous configuration of the organization, the roles of team leaders and personnel managers were essentially interchangeable. These two people also proposed the concept of a primary and secondary team. Each worker was expected to take on a primary responsibility in one of the groups, in addition to secondary responsibilities in the other groups.

Direct supervisors or team leaders had to join in on the work alongside their subordinates and reportees in order to foster the development of trusting relationships within the group. Members of the team have been given the chance to learn more about the day-to-day business activities of Disney Animation thanks to the new organizational structure that has been implemented. As a result of the staff’s increased creativity and the business’s efforts to improve communication, the company was able to develop new animations.

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Evaluate their approach to change

Their plan for transformation was motivated by the need to improve communication and innovation by bringing management closer to the teams. To achieve this objective, Geibel and Johnson needed to assess whether or not a reorganization of the groups and their roles was necessary. They knew the existing systems department’s structure was flawed and that it needed a lot of work in order to function effectively. Worker communication and knowledge sharing suffered as a result of the artificial barriers imposed by the traditional units. As a result, managers had less time to build relationships with their teams.

Because of this, we broke the team up into six-person groups to facilitate better communication and the sharing of information. Workplace communication was also fostered by the relaxed atmosphere. Employees were better able to discuss their individual animation projects with one another because of the confined nature of the workspace. They found it much easier to communicate and collaborate with their staff after moving their offices closer to where the teams were working.

They wanted to make a difference in the systems group, so they went looking for answers everywhere they could. For instance, the Matrix Model data ensured a systematic rollout of changes, making it simpler for staff to adjust to the new norm. Geibel and Johnson were also cognizant of the need to employ a compact self-sufficient team with members having specialized knowledge in relevant areas.

The minimum group size is six people, all of whom are experts in the same field. The system applied the same requirements to the management, as well. They were organized in the same hierarchical subsets as their subordinates. Overall, the approach taken by Geibel and Johnson was fruitful because it was grounded in established scientific principles. They were cognizant of the need to break the project down into manageable chunks that would be assigned to workers according to their specific areas of expertise. Geibel and Johnson knew that moving managers to be in closer proximity to their employees would boost productivity in the workplace.

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Teaming at Dinsey Animation: Evaluation of the Teaming Model and Replicability

What is your assessment of the new team structure – i.e., the new structure for Disney Animation’s systems group?

The newly implemented team structure at the company promotes open communication and brainstorming. The organizational structure of Geibel places a premium on teamwork at all levels of the company. Team captains and upper management will appreciate the system’s streamlined channels of communication with their subordinates. The employees’ self-assurance was boosted by the fact that management did not meddle in their projects. Geibel, Johnson, and the rest of the management team backed off and let the teams handle their own business. It was requested that staff share any ideas that could help Disney Animation be more imaginative.

The reorganized Disney Animation department has made it easier for employees to do their jobs. This resulted because management did not severely restrict employees’ freedom of thought. Another benefit for the system groups was that they shared office space with the managers. System group members found it easy to think of and implement novel solutions in such a setting.

The group’s leaders consistently adopted the members’ ideas. A positive side effect of the revised organizational structure at Disney Animation was an increased openness to new ideas, which I feel obligated to note. Groups of workers were taught how to collaborate effectively on projects and how to come up with novel ideas for the business. The new leadership was also beneficial because it fostered teamwork, which in turn increased output across the board.

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Would this structure work in your organization? Why or why not? In what environments is this structure best suited?

The structure could be used by any group. It is becoming increasingly common for companies to encourage their employees to take on more responsibility by giving them more autonomy at work. When employees believe that their management has created a conducive workplace for them, they are more likely to take initiative and work hard. They’re more productive because they’re given the leeway to come up with innovative solutions and the authority to put them into action with the backing of upper management. At Disney Animation, the new organizational structure is set up so that constant informal and formal communication is the norm.

Since everyone is in the same place, it’s easy for supervisors to talk to each other and work together. When workers feel like their bosses believe in them, they experience the same level of intrinsic motivation seen in any other business. That’s why I’m confident that the office space provided to workers elsewhere can be successfully implemented in my own company.

Since workers would have more chances to boost one another’s morale and enthusiasm for individual effort, which in turn would boost both innovation and output. This organizational model proves most effective in the highly creative Product Design team. Workers’ ability to think for themselves is fostered by the organizational design, which bodes well for the creation of truly original products. Staff in such an organization enjoy the backing of encouraging superiors, which in turn helps them develop the confidence they need to do better work.

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