Dealing With A Toxic Boss B Net Present Value (NPV) / MBA Resources

Introduction to Net Present Value (NPV) - What is Net Present Value (NPV) ? How it impacts financial decisions regarding project management?

NPV solution for Dealing With A Toxic Boss B case study

At Oak Spring University, we provide corporate level professional Net Present Value (NPV) case study solution. Dealing With A Toxic Boss B case study is a Harvard Business School (HBR) case study written by David L. Bradford. The Dealing With A Toxic Boss B (referred as “Ned's Bill's” from here on) case study provides evaluation & decision scenario in field of Leadership & Managing People. It also touches upon business topics such as - Value proposition, Informal leadership, Managing organizations, Managing people.

The net present value (NPV) of an investment proposal is the present value of the proposal’s net cash flows less the proposal’s initial cash outflow. If a project’s NPV is greater than or equal to zero, the project should be accepted.

NPV = Present Value of Future Cash Flows LESS Project’s Initial Investment

Case Description of Dealing With A Toxic Boss B Case Study

This case is divided into A, B, and C cases. See OB85 Dealing with a Toxic Boss for an expanded version of the full case. A Case: Ned was an upper middle manager in a major construction company. Six months prior, he was hired away from a competitor to develop the company's market in the fast-growing southeast region. He was assigned to Atlanta to grow that business. As it turned out, the major challenge was not with the market, but with his boss, Bill, Southeast Regional Director. The A case describes Ned's experience working with Bill and Ned's analysis about how to handle the situation. B Case: After a meeting with Bill that did not yield any improvements, Ned decided to approach John, the company president, about the negative impact that Bill's behavior was having on building the Southeast Region. The B case covers Ned's discussion with the company president, Bill's subsequent behavior, and new issues that arose in the regional office. C Case: Ned struggled with whether to continue raising issues about Bill and the impact of Bill's actions on both business growth and employees or simply resign. Case C covers Ned's decision, his plans for rolling out that decision, and the implications of his actions on others.

Case Authors : David L. Bradford

Topic : Leadership & Managing People

Related Areas : Informal leadership, Managing organizations, Managing people

Calculating Net Present Value (NPV) at 6% for Dealing With A Toxic Boss B Case Study

Years              Cash Flow     Net Cash Flow     Cumulative    
Cash Flow
Discount Rate
@ 6 %
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10017547) -10017547 - -
Year 1 3454322 -6563225 3454322 0.9434 3258794
Year 2 3969862 -2593363 7424184 0.89 3533163
Year 3 3974782 1381419 11398966 0.8396 3337304
Year 4 3227789 4609208 14626755 0.7921 2556711
TOTAL 14626755 12685972

The Net Present Value at 6% discount rate is 2668425

In isolation the NPV number doesn't mean much but put in right context then it is one of the best method to evaluate project returns. In this article we will cover -

Different methods of capital budgeting

What is NPV & Formula of NPV,
How it is calculated,
How to use NPV number for project evaluation, and
Scenario Planning given risks and management priorities.

Capital Budgeting Approaches

Methods of Capital Budgeting

There are four types of capital budgeting techniques that are widely used in the corporate world –

1. Payback Period
2. Profitability Index
3. Net Present Value
4. Internal Rate of Return

Apart from the Payback period method which is an additive method, rest of the methods are based on Discounted Cash Flow technique. Even though cash flow can be calculated based on the nature of the project, for the simplicity of the article we are assuming that all the expected cash flows are realized at the end of the year.

Discounted Cash Flow approaches provide a more objective basis for evaluating and selecting investment projects. They take into consideration both –

1. Magnitude of both incoming and outgoing cash flows – Projects can be capital intensive, time intensive, or both. Ned's Bill's shareholders have preference for diversified projects investment rather than prospective high income from a single capital intensive project.
2. Timing of the expected cash flows – stockholders of Ned's Bill's have higher preference for cash returns over 4-5 years rather than 10-15 years given the nature of the volatility in the industry.

Formula and Steps to Calculate Net Present Value (NPV) of Dealing With A Toxic Boss B

NPV = Net Cash In Flowt1 / (1+r)t1 + Net Cash In Flowt2 / (1+r)t2 + … Net Cash In Flowtn / (1+r)tn
Less Net Cash Out Flowt0 / (1+r)t0

Where t = time period, in this case year 1, year 2 and so on.
r = discount rate or return that could be earned using other safe proposition such as fixed deposit or treasury bond rate. Net Cash In Flow – What the firm will get each year.
Net Cash Out Flow – What the firm needs to invest initially in the project.

Step 1 – Understand the nature of the project and calculate cash flow for each year.
Step 2 – Discount those cash flow based on the discount rate.
Step 3 – Add all the discounted cash flow.
Step 4 – Selection of the project

Why Leadership & Managing People Managers need to know Financial Tools such as Net Present Value (NPV)?

In our daily workplace we often come across people and colleagues who are just focused on their core competency and targets they have to deliver. For example marketing managers at Ned's Bill's often design programs whose objective is to drive brand awareness and customer reach. But how that 30 point increase in brand awareness or 10 point increase in customer touch points will result into shareholders’ value is not specified.

To overcome such scenarios managers at Ned's Bill's needs to not only know the financial aspect of project management but also needs to have tools to integrate them into part of the project development and monitoring plan.

Calculating Net Present Value (NPV) at 15%

After working through various assumptions we reached a conclusion that risk is far higher than 6%. In a reasonably stable industry with weak competition - 15% discount rate can be a good benchmark.

Years              Cash Flow     Net Cash Flow     Cumulative    
Cash Flow
Discount Rate
@ 15 %
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10017547) -10017547 - -
Year 1 3454322 -6563225 3454322 0.8696 3003758
Year 2 3969862 -2593363 7424184 0.7561 3001786
Year 3 3974782 1381419 11398966 0.6575 2613484
Year 4 3227789 4609208 14626755 0.5718 1845499
TOTAL 10464527

The Net NPV after 4 years is 446980

(10464527 - 10017547 )

Calculating Net Present Value (NPV) at 20%

If the risk component is high in the industry then we should go for a higher hurdle rate / discount rate of 20%.

Years              Cash Flow     Net Cash Flow     Cumulative    
Cash Flow
Discount Rate
@ 20 %
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10017547) -10017547 - -
Year 1 3454322 -6563225 3454322 0.8333 2878602
Year 2 3969862 -2593363 7424184 0.6944 2756849
Year 3 3974782 1381419 11398966 0.5787 2300221
Year 4 3227789 4609208 14626755 0.4823 1556611
TOTAL 9492283

The Net NPV after 4 years is -525264

At 20% discount rate the NPV is negative (9492283 - 10017547 ) so ideally we can't select the project if macro and micro factors don't allow financial managers of Ned's Bill's to discount cash flow at lower discount rates such as 15%.

Acceptance Criteria of a Project based on NPV

Simplest Approach – If the investment project of Ned's Bill's has a NPV value higher than Zero then finance managers at Ned's Bill's can ACCEPT the project, otherwise they can reject the project. This means that project will deliver higher returns over the period of time than any alternate investment strategy.

In theory if the required rate of return or discount rate is chosen correctly by finance managers at Ned's Bill's, then the stock price of the Ned's Bill's should change by same amount of the NPV. In real world we know that share price also reflects various other factors that can be related to both macro and micro environment.

In the same vein – accepting the project with zero NPV should result in stagnant share price. Finance managers use discount rates as a measure of risk components in the project execution process.

Sensitivity Analysis

Project selection is often a far more complex decision than just choosing it based on the NPV number. Finance managers at Ned's Bill's should conduct a sensitivity analysis to better understand not only the inherent risk of the projects but also how those risks can be either factored in or mitigated during the project execution. Sensitivity analysis helps in –

Understanding of risks involved in the project.

What can impact the cash flow of the project.

What are the uncertainties surrounding the project Initial Cash Outlay (ICO’s). ICO’s often have several different components such as land, machinery, building, and other equipment.

What will be a multi year spillover effect of various taxation regulations.

What are the key aspects of the projects that need to be monitored, refined, and retuned for continuous delivery of projected cash flows.

Some of the assumptions while using the Discounted Cash Flow Methods –

Projects are assumed to be Mutually Exclusive – This is seldom the came in modern day giant organizations where projects are often inter-related and rejecting a project solely based on NPV can result in sunk cost from a related project.

Independent projects have independent cash flows – As explained in the marketing project – though the project may look independent but in reality it is not as the brand awareness project can be closely associated with the spending on sales promotions and product specific advertising.

References & Further Readings

David L. Bradford (2018), "Dealing With A Toxic Boss B Harvard Business Review Case Study. Published by HBR Publications.