Managing Organisations in a Global Environment
Assignment Specifications Purpose:
This individual assignment is an opportunity for students to demonstrate their understanding of Organisational Behaviour in a Global context.
Details Answer All FIVE (5) of the following questions.
- From Week 7 Pre Recorded Case Study (10 marks) (a)
City of Greensburg Kansas
Summary: A tornado devastated Greensburg, Kansas. The mayor stated the tornado was actually an opportunity to rebuild a “green town.” There was opposition from the town residents.
Task: Read the “City of Greensburg Kansas” case below and then consider the following questions.
>> We gathered up over there in the corner of the basement. And it really — a lot of debris started flying around. And I said well I think maybe the house is coming apart. And I thought, you know, meaning we were losing shingles and stuff like that. Hello, I’m Lonnie McCollum. I’m a former resident of Greensburg. Once I got up into our kitchen area it was — I could see the sky. So I knew this is not good.
>> Tornadoes are like hit and miss. One house good. One house gone. This house is find not touched. No, no, no, no, no. This was a war zone. My name is Steve Hewitt. I’m the city administrator for Greensburg. Before the storm I think we had put ourselves in a position that we’re trying to look at new ways to be a better town.
One of the things we began to look at was being more efficient, more effective, less, you know, less waste in our materials and what we do. Unfortunately we weren’t building many new buildings and new construction wasn’t happening in this small town out in rural America out here in Kansas before the storm.
After the storm you have a blank canvas. New direction needs to happen. How can we take it?
>> In the end we lost three homes and about three businesses. Three homes and three businesses. I’m Elana, and I’m a Greensburg resident. We didn’t question it much as to whether we were going to leave. We wanted to stay here because we loved the people. We loved the community for what it was. About two weeks after the storm the mayor at the time, Lonnie McCullum said that the city was going to rebuild green. That was kind of the definite yeah we’re going to stay in Greensburg. We want to be pioneers of this green city and help them rebuild it. I had gone to a lot of meetings after the tornado, to be there to see what was going on, voice my opinion when it was needed. And I was just really pleased at the way things were going.
>> You know, I think it’s exciting. Where are you going to go in rural America that you have a brand new town? I’m Pharrell Allison, and I’m a Greensburg resident. To have brand new schools. Brand new city buildings. Brand new museums. Brand new dealerships. Brand new homes. Where can you go, you know, with — you can’t go anywhere. When you build a — a town’s destroyed like this one, you know,
why not do it the best you can? Why not, instead of going with an 85% efficient furnace, why not go for the best because it’s a few, you know, a few dollars more. You know, you just have — you know, I think it’s the right thing to do.
>> It never was given to us as a choice whether we wanted our town to go green or not. I’m Janice Hayne. I’m a resident of Kiowa County and our address is Greensburg. They’d hold these town hall meetings and they’d all want you-all to come, but when it was time to actually have any comments they shut you down and just like walk away like we don’t want to hear what you people have to say.
>> I never felt like the community ever felt like we had to have a massive vote. How many people would say what does green mean? So no, no. Education had to happen. What we had to do was have a series of events where people could come in and give their input. I need to know what you want to see in your community. I mean, what’s your future look like? How do you feel about parks? How do you feel about energy? How do you feel about your buildings? How do you feel about your schools and your hospitals? Those kind of meetings had to happen. If you wanted to be involved about your community you had an opportunity to be involved. And if from that, then the city council then could then vote on exactly what the people were telling them. And they voted that we’re going to go green. We’re going to go sustainable. And then they went another step forward. They said, you know what? We’re going to show the world we’re not just talking about going green, we’re going to implement that. And they passed a resolution that states every single facility that the city builds is going to be the highest sustainable level you can go.
>> I just don’t believe in some of the decision making has been what we really truly needed. We should be more concerned about getting downtown businesses put up. That actually has — going to support our tax base. Instead of, you know, we’re worried about well we don’t have the funding for this platinum green building. We don’t have money for that one. I don’t think at this point we should be worried about that. And everybody says oh, you’re just being negative. Well, I don’t know. Is it being negative or is it being realistic about the situation that’s upon us? I worry about, you know, are we going to be able to afford the taxes on our land because they’re going to tax us so high because they are putting things in that — at the same time is it really necessary at this time to do it like that?
>> You have a return in investment. But what you have to do is fight through this initial oh my goodness, it cost a million more dollars to build this building. Okay, it does. Every decision we make is not a decision that’s just going to affect us over the next ten to twenty years. We’re making hundred year decisions.
>> There’s all kinds of different ways to solve problems, but you have to understand they may all work. You know, a problem’s a problem. It’s how you design to solve the problem that will determine how successful you are. But you are going to make some mistakes. That’s just going to happen. Probably some
things were said and done that probably weren’t very productive. And to this day, I think if we could have just slowed down things a little bit, you know, might have helped that. I resigned as mayor because this issue here was going to take everything I had, 24 hours a day 7 days a week. It was time to think about somebody else besides myself. I feel guilty about it. Not that I could have done anything one bit better. I might have done it different, but it wouldn’t have been any better.
>> Listen, every decision I make at my own house affects my family. I have a two- and-a-half-year-old son. I have to be very, very aware that every decision that I make is going to affect his future. And I can’t drop the ball with the new mayor and new council so I’ve got to keep pushing and keep fighting through. I don’t want to look back and have the future generations patching up and correcting mistakes we made. Now if they think somebody else can do better then let them bring somebody else in. While I’m here we’re making good diligent long-term decisions.
( ( (a) Describe rational decision making. (300 words)
- b) Cite 3 reasons for and against rebuilding Greensburg as a “green town.”(300 words)
Managing Organisations in a Global EnvironmentIntermountain Healthcare Summary: The healthcare industry today is changing rapidly. There actually seem to be two different—and conflicting—sets of pressure affecting healthcare that relate to communication. Intermountain Healthcare is a nonprofit healthcare system that provides hospital and other medical services in Utah and Idaho. Intermountain uses clinical data to improve patient outcomes. The importance of communication is highlighted in the way Intermountain works, especially in a field where information can be a matter of life and death. Task: Read the “Intermountain Healthcare” case below and then consider the following questions. >> Good communication will enable lower costs, better patient care and better patient outcomes and technology can facilitate that. Hi, I’m Mark Allen, I’m the Clinical Information Systems Manager for the Utah South Region and the Rural Region for Intermountain Healthcare. Intermountain is known internationally for its ability to be able to use clinical data to improve patient outcomes. So we have 22 hospitals across the state of Utah, one in Idaho, and we have over 300 clinics across the enterprise. And when you consider just the enormity of running a regional healthcare system there’s a lot of data and information that needs to be stored and information that needs to be provided to the physicians and clinicians so that they can make good decisions. >> So Intermountain is a very transparent organization. We know that people perform better when they feel informed. Hi, I’m Janet Frank and I’m the Communications Manager here at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center. We focus on physician communication even though a large percentage of them are partners versus employed physicians. So we see everybody on our team, employees, physicians, volunteers as well as part of our team and we want to keep them up to date with everything. >> Communication is very important and one of the key things to keeping everybody on the same page is to develop a good communication plan and to repeat a consistent message often and frequently. Hi, I’m Fritz Kron. I’m the Regional Director for Quality at Intermountain Healthcare in the Urban south region here, and one of the most exciting things that I get to do every day is to work with our teams and accelerate bringing best practices to our patients. Every region supplies a local representative. We are very fortunate in our ability to engage physicians and nurse leaders who are willing to spend their time participating in the committee meetings and networking with their peers throughout the system and we always recognize that it is a challenge to get the word out and we do that through meetings, we do that through talking points, we’ll put flyers on bulletin boards. There’s also some more formal documents called Care Process Guidelines and those are heavily researched documents that are available on the website. So we use a combination of methods to communicate what our goals are for that year. As a tertiary medical center at Utah Valley, many patients come up for higher levels of care. One of the advantages of the clinical programs is all of our providers understand our protocols and understand our practices, and so that when a patient needs to be referred to the tertiary medical center it really is a continuation of a care process model. One of the nice things is we do have an integrated longitudinal medical records system and that means that whatever is documented and whatever transpired at one medical center can be pulled up on the computer and can be seen at the other medical center. Part of our clinical program goals almost always involves patient education, because in addition to the providers, the physicians and the nurses and the laboratory support, as patients we’re also very accountable for our health outcomes. We have standardized education and that allows us to deliver a consistent message. So when you’re discharged from one facility we have a standardized brochure and teaching information that’s given and again that information is available throughout the system, so that when the patient reports back to their primary care provider and appears to need a little reinforcement of the education or maybe has a knowledge deficit in a particular area and that happens, because when you’re getting ready to be discharged you have so many things on your mind as a patient, you can’t possibly comprehend everything. And so that provider in the hometown can also pull up the same information. And it’s really very reassuring to patients because they actually see the same information and then it can help them ask us questions or ask the provider questions about a point that they didn’t quite understand. >> You know, Intermountain Healthcare really prides itself in being innovative and we’ve looked at what the discussion has been across the country. Tele Health Services is really a key that we’ve identified and invested in in Intermountain Healthcare. We have currently 26 projects across the enterprise where we’re trying to find technical solutions to be able to provide better care to the patients. We have Tele Critical care, we have Tele Psych, we have a variety of other tele health initiatives that we’re trying to initiate to provide care at the rural facilities that can’t afford a neonatologist or a hospitalist and to be able to provide that expertise to the physicians in those areas so that they can understand how to address issues in a better way to have better outcomes for the patients. Another exciting project that we’ve got going on that I’m really excited about is the Parent at Home Project. What we’re doing is that in a NICU you often have babies that stay an extended period of time in the facility, so what we’re doing is we’re going to provide them the ability to be able to see their infant from home, from work or any other type of device and they’ll be able to stay in touch then with the physician more closely to know how their baby’s progressing, and so that is just going to be a wonderful tool. In addition the information that we have within our system is also provided to our home health division. So as our home health nurses are visiting patients at home, they’re going to have the full history and physical of the patient and the care that they received in the hospital to be able to provide better patient care to the patients that they visit. >> We know that healthcare is rapidly changing and healthcare today will be very different from healthcare in five years. We don’t quite exactly know what that looks like but we do know that we will become more integrated across the continuum, really partnering with the patient and reaching out and being more involved. We have a lot of opportunity there. There are challenges with hand offs and I think that’s one of the things that we’ll be working on and I think we’ll be able to do a lot better.
- What is horizontal communication? (300 words)
- How is the horizontal form of communication more prominent in Intermountain Healthcare? (300 words)
City of Greensburg, Kansas: Leadership
Summary: The morning after the powerful EF-5 tornado whipped through the area, everyone knew Greensburg was gone—perhaps forever. But in a subsequent press conference, Mayor Lonnie McCollum announced that the town would rebuild as a model green community, and named Steve Hewitt as a full- time administrator to make the changes. While Mayor McCollum offered a vision for rebuilding Greensburg, it is Hewitt who stepped up to ensure that the vision became a reality. Hewitt quickly went to work on a plan for rebuilding. City workers give Hewitt high marks for his handling of the crisis. Like most good leaders, Hewitt hasn’t been afraid to ruffle feathers as needed.
Task: Read the “City of Greensburg, Kansas: Leadership” case below and then consider the following questions.
>> I hit the command center about 11 and started dealing immediately with the search and rescue and first responders. I’m Steve Hewitt, I’m a city administrator for Greensburg, Kansas. On dealing with utilities from gas to electrical issues, to water issues, to safety issues, to rescue issues.
>> I was really, really concerned at that time that we might have a real high death count. Hello, I’m Lonny McCollum, I’m formal resident of Greensburg. Maybe that Saturday afternoon or Sunday that we were having a news conference and that’s when I said, well, I see this as a real opportunity for this town. You know, just for the simple fact that we can build back energy efficient homes. But you’re going to make some mistakes in the early days like that you’re just going to. And, you know, you do the best you can. And fully realize you’re going to do right things, you’re going to do wrong things. I resigned as mayor because, you know, they didn’t need me. They had good leadership. I just thought maybe it was time that, you know, I took care of some other people besides just enjoying leading another crusade.
>> I mean, the most compelling story is when he quit and he quit because he was really frustrated at people’s inability to see this vision of what was possible and what could be. Which, in fact, we’re now realizing. I’m Daniel Wollok [phonetic], executive director of Greensburg Greentown. Lonny is a very passionate, inspiring, emotional guy. He took it personally. Steve Hewitt, on the other hand, is one I think of as an almost like a cold blooded athlete of who you want taking the last shot in the basketball game.
>> So we just need to talk, we’ll talk about [inaudible].
>> He’s very calculating, strategic, he does have a big heart and he connects to people that way. But he’s much more analytical. He has incredible capacity and endurance. And that is what suited him perfectly for the role in this community to help bring it back.
>> I will tell you the struggle this community is at. Lot of TV cameras around, a lot of media attention. And a lot of people want to be heroes. You know, the heroes are every guy that shows up every day at my office. They work every day. Those are heroes. Those are true heroes. Heroes aren’t the ones who stand in front of the cameras and say we’re going to do this as much as the heroes are the one that are actually doing it. I don’t like the politics. It comes with the job. We did not need an election during a recovery process and now I’ve got three now counselors and one new mayor. They’re good people, I think. But why did we need that? I don’t think we did need that. But that is, it is what it is and I don’t like politics and I don’t like dealing with new people and I don’t like dealing with the new direction. I’m now my third mayor in one year and I think that’s ridiculous. But it is what it is, and I have to work with these people and we’re going to get it done.
>> Steve. Hi, Ruth. Oh, absolutely, it would be great to talk to somebody who. Our goal is to go to back up generation power plant, yes.
>> Steve is the one that has been the face of Greensburg, he’s been in front of the media telling the story about Greensburg, has been there since day one. I’m Kim Aldefer [phonetic], and I’m the recovery coordinator and the assistant city administrator for the City of Greensburg. I would say prior to the tornado he dealt with a lot of manager type issues as far as the day to day on the city level. But after the tornado, he had to hire different people to handle those different manager-type duties. And that’s my role with the city. Everything that Steve does, I also know about. And so he’s very open as far as information and knowing that somebody else has to know what’s going on. That not one person can handle it. And he’s very good about delegating authority. He gives you the authority to do your job. He doesn’t micromanage. He’ll set out goals and, you know, that’s what you need to do. And he really doesn’t have time to micromanage anybody.
>> More than ever I have allowed my department heads to be true department heads. Take their guys and take their team and lead. And to work with them and give them a true direction and a true plan and say, hey guys, we need. These are our goals, we need to accomplish these things. Now take your staff out and do it. We had a staff about 20 before the storm. Now we have a staff about 35. We didn’t have a full time fire department, we got a full time fire department. Got a planning department. I got a community development department. I’ve got new people, new positions, and new departments. You know, you’ve got to not just be that team leader but you also got to be that, you got to do that, you know, counselor, that friend. And also you got to be tough to be the boss. Because you know what, we got to get this done, get it done now. But they also are dealing with major issues.
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They’re trying to build their own homes back. I didn’t have any staff leave. They all came back. And that’s a testimony of what true teammates who believe in a leader. Listen, I have to, I’m only as good as a team. And, you know what, the fact that they’ve all stood behind me. You know, I really appreciate that because, you know, that’s the only way we’re going to get it done. You know, I dealt with people early on who said I don’t want building codes, I want you to leave me alone, I’m going to do what I want to do. And I said, no. I said you’re going to build it right, you’re going to build it to code. Make a safer, better community. We’re not going to have this patched together. You know, we’re not going to have this free for all. We got to be focused and dedicated. We have to have goals, we have to have a plan. I think I’m young enough and dumb enough, to be honest with you. I’m dumb enough not to care what people say. And I’m young enough to have the energy to get through it. And I really feel like I’m the guy that was here at the right time to get us where we’re at today. You know, there’s going to be a time when I am no longer needed and I understand that. And the town will tell me that. But right now I think I am the right guy to help us and I’m excited about that. I’m humbled by that, but I’m arrogant enough to see that, you know what, you know, let’s get this thing done. And I think I’m the guy that can do it. And that’s, so probably no leader that’s influenced me except for many leaders. And to say that, you know what, I want to be the guy that sticks his neck out there and says you know we can do it. You don’t like it, chop it off, get somebody else. But you know what, while I’m here, we’re doing it this way and going that direction because that’s the right thing to do.
1 (a) Where does Hewitt’s leadership fall on the Managerial Grid discussed in the chapter? (300 words)
- What deficiencies or shortcomings would you identify in Hewitt’s leadership? (300 words)
Numi Organic Tea: Value Chain, IT, and E-Business Task: Read the “Numi Organic Tea: Value Chain, IT, and E-Business” case
below and then consider the following questions.
>> Brian Durkee: Well, Numi is a triple-bottom-line company, which means our focus is on people, planet and profit.
Hi, I’m Brian Durkee. I’m the Director of Operations for Numi Organic Tea, and a big part of my role at Numi is to really manage that. And it’s beyond just taking care of the employees. Numi has 50 employees in the US. But the people who dedicate the majority of their time on Numi products, that number probably exceeds 300. And those are the people that I have to indirectly look out for.
The overview of how our products are produced is that we are a tea company, we are sourcing products from primarily underdeveloped countries, which is why we’re very big on fair trade and we insist on that and our supply chain model.
We don’t move business overseas, or we don’t do business overseas to reduce cost and to try to exploit a system. Tea is very labor-intensive, and it’s something that the US is just not interested in getting involved with. I think some of the biggest challenges in China is getting the people in China and the managers of the factories to understand how we want things done and to make sure, one, our quality is there; and two, the level of a sustainability that we expect in a supply chain. How are they handling their waste? How are they packing our products? And three, how are they treating their workers? That’s one of the reasons why we spend a lot of time in Asia. The owner of the company and myself spend a lot of time there meeting with factory managers, meeting with the workers, doing our own discovery process with the workers. And we are not trying to change their culture by any means, but we are trying to improve the standard of living for them.
>> Ahmed Rahim: They want to work with us, and I think they see the size that we can grow to and the size of business we can give to them. They see that these are Numi’s values. Hi, I’m Ahmed Rahim. I’m the Co-Founder and CEO of Numi Organic Tea. We have to give them the power and the understanding of what they’re buying into. Because just to say “You have to do this” is… they can still do it with resentment but if you’re explaining to them “Hey, if you do this… you know, this is what you’re doing too to help the cause. Sure you’re going to make some money off of Numi, and you’re going to sell us a lot of product, but it’s really important for them to understand why you’re doing it, and for them to really buy into it and to get excited about it.
>> Brian Durkee: In 1999 we began working with our [inaudible] supplier. And we’ve grown with him tremendously, and we are his largest customer. I believe we’ve always been his largest customer. We spent a lot of time this year out there helping him improve his factory and providing him money and funds to get better workers, to get better work conditions and to get a better factory in place. And he’s starting to implement changes himself. And that’s when we we’re having some success; if we can leave a mark and then we can leave the situation and have continue to improve itself.
We finally, after a lot of trying, we’ve got these boxes done; they’re going to be done with a recycled content now. And one of the things I need to run by marketing…
>> Is that the 65 or 85%?
>> Brian Durkee: It’s going to be a minimum 85%. >> Wow!
>> Brian Durkee: But what we can’t do, because of the mill’s obligation, and for legal purposes, the mill cannot publish, the percentage on the box, as you see here. So what we can do is to put on the box a tagline that says “This box is made from recycled fiber.”
^M00:03:36 And my personal goal for Numi is to become among the elite as far as how we manage a sustainable supply chain. We’re looking at the most sustainable methods of packaging our goods, transporting our goods and producing our goods. And we are able to accomplish that by not using cello-wrap on our boxes, by using sustainable materials in our supply chain, and by minimizing our overall waste and footprint.
>> Ahmed Rahim: If you are working with chemicals, but you’re taking care of the farmers, but then you’re polluting the farmers with the chemicals. So every single aspect of the supply chain you can use virgin paper and tear down thousands of trees, whereas you can use paper that’s been post-consumer waste and reuse it and put beautiful packaging on it and it looks great. People would have no idea that it was post-consumer waste. So the whole supply chain from beginning to end product, to the shelf, is so important for us.
>> Brian Durkee: So we need to have a good forecast, we need to have a good plan in place. We can’t simply pick up the phone and order these materials. As far as profit, obviously a big part of my job is to make sure we are profitable. I have to manage the cost of goods, I have to manage the production processes. So we are always looking at ways to save cost, which is kind of counterintuitive in fact that you are trying to spend money to improve the sustainability of your product, you
are trying to spend money to improve fair trade, and you are trying to spend money to improve the quality of your product, but you also looking for cost reduction. And that’s one of the biggest challenges that I’m faced with.
In the early days we actually managed most of the business with Excel spreadsheets. We actually operated the business with QuickBooks, which a lot of small companies do. And now we’re servicing customers like the Costcos, the Targets, the Safeways, and we’re distributing product to 22 countries worldwide. So our systems are very necessary to be compliant with all the different countries and the different languages and weights and measures and international regulations.
We manage all of the importing, all of the quality control, all of the sampling, all of the purchasing and inventory. We have three third-party partners that we work with: one is here in California, one is up in Canada, and we are beginning to work with one over in Asia where the tea is grown. If we were to own our machinery, we have not only to put up that capital, but in addition we would have to deal with fluctuating costs as far as downtime, machine time, worrying about the volume of products we’re making, where at this point, our materials go there and we simply contract them to put in the tea bags for us per our specifications.
So about the time I came on, we started introducing the ERP system. We have inventory management accounting system, where we manage our inventory in multiple countries all through the same software program. We simply push a button and say, “We need make this product,” and the system pulls all the lots, all the materials for us in multiple locations, and know that it’s accurate and know our value of our inventory and know the cost of goods very clearly.
It really has helped reduce our costs, it’s helped improve our customer service, and most importantly, it’s helped us manage our business more efficiently. And it gives us complete visibility of what we are trying to do, and it keeps everyone on the same page. So anyone can log into the system and see exactly what’s going on and where we are. That’s a big part of our transition, from going what’s in people’s minds to going and replacing that with process. And when you replace that with process, that’s when you can really grow.
- ) Based on this case study, what issues with China-based suppliers require Numi’s managers to use influence and persuasion tactics? (300 words)
- How does Numi get suppliers to comply with its policies? (300 words)
Honest Tea: Organizational Structure
Summary: Honest Tea (U.S.) is a bottled organic tea company based in Bethesda, Maryland. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Coca- Cola Company. Honest Tea is known for its organic and fair trade products and is one of the fastest growing private companies. Honest Tea started off with a handful of employees bringing out five products, three of which are still in the market. Today the company has over 35 package varieties of not only tea but other beverages as well. Honest Tea caters to a group of customers that prefer organic or low-calorie beverages over other types of beverages. Honest Tea finds that it must continually adapt to changing circumstances and environments. Initially organic or low-calorie tea was the only product, but the firm has expanded to various other beverages. Honest Tea believes that growth is continuous; the firm should never consider that they have finished achieving what they set out to accomplish.
Task: Read the “Honest Tea: Organizational Structure” case below and then consider the following questions.
>> The ideas for Honest Tea started back in 1995 when I was the Yale School of Management. And my professor Barry Nalebuff was doing the case study of the beverage industry. And we talked about what was missing and where the opportunities were. And I certainly knew I was missing a drink that had a mid to low calorie profile. At the time all the bottled teas had sort of 100, 120 calories per serving or zero calories and artificial ingredients. And I knew that I was thirsty for that. I’m Seth Goldman. I’m the Co-Founder and TEO of Honest Tea. It wasn’t until a few years later after I had graduated from the School of Management, had moved down to Bethesda, Maryland that I came back to the idea, had enough experience working in the private sector and maybe a little more confidence in my own abilities to say I think I am ready to do something about this. And, of course, Barry was the first person I reached out to. It was, for both of us, our first, you know, entrepreneurial undertaking. And at the same time, it was a really good combination because he kept his day job. He’s still a professor. But he was the Chairman of the company, and I was the TEO, the person, you know, getting everything done. And it was great to be able to turn to him for advice, to get his input, and yet he also had enough distance from the business, he wasn’t involved in every day to day decision. He wasn’t feeling the same pressures around cash flow that I was feeling. And so all throughout we continued to grow the business and had a really symbiotic relationship. This company actually is really based on economic theory. We basically came to this whole category as a challenger. There was a missing opportunity, a point of difference, and we really were able to capture it. There were a lot of points where the strategy and the alternative thinking really
were put to work. We were doing things differently in almost everyway. We were, you know, making a tea with a lot less sweetener. We were sourcing ingredients differently, purchasing different ingredients, making the product differently. It was a little bit like, “Who wants this drink?” And it was a little like crickets out there. Not many people had that appetite for that. And we kind of learned that, you know, we were on the bleeding edge. We, it was challenging to grow. We have our original business plan posted on our website at HonestTea.com, and what’s striking about it is what we describe there in terms of the brand vision is really brought to life. I think what we aspire to is really what we’re building. What’s notable in terms of what’s missing in that business plan is any discussion of distribution and production, which turns out in the beverage industry is pretty important. When we got started, it was really hard to find bottling plants willing to produce our product. And so we owned a third of a bottling plant outside of Pittsburg. And it was just a huge drain of money, of attention, of energy, and it was barely staying in business. And it wasn’t making great product for us either. And so I think about how much time I put into keeping that plant afloat. If I could have been putting that into building the brand, it would have been a great, a much better use of my time and building something, you know, building a bottling plant was not building the value of this brand of this enterprise. And so it was really after we were able to sell off our interest in the bottling plant that we were able to, that I was able to really accelerate the growth of this business.
When we started it was really me working out of my house. We brought on some interns. And then we had three employees in our first year. We brought five products to market. Three of those products are still on the market. Today though we have over 35 different package varieties. Of course in the beginning it was all tea. Now we have juice drinks. We have a wine called Honest Fizz. We now sell tea that can be brewed in restaurants. So, in terms of scale it was grown dramatically. I’ve always been responsible for making sure this organization has the resources it needs to grow. The advantage I have is that because in the beginning I really did everything, I’m able to jump into a room into a conversation on any topic whether it’s the accounting system, production, tea filtration, sales, marketing, and understand, you know, sort of what the landscape is. Know the issues. Know the ramifications of it. I mean the strongest asset we have as a company, as an enterprise, is our culture. And it’s a transparent one. You can see it’s very, literally, you know, there’s not privacy here. And our leadership gets what we do, and they pass that on. If someone comes in who has a different mindset, they usually don’t last long. You know, this is very entrepreneurial. And if you are sort of looking for your closed office and your spending account, you’re in the wrong place.
We attract a certain kind of person, and we probably repel a certain kind of person as well. And that’s a good thing. But all along the way, we’ve been innovating. And for us it’s what we call mission driven innovation. So, we always try to find ways to advance our mission, in this case, you know, offering healthy, low-calorie
products, supporting a more sustainable, agricultural system and creating economic opportunity. And every time we can find an innovation that takes us further on that mission, we’ll bring it to market, really a continual process. We’re never, it’s not a destination. It’s not an end point. We’re never going to, we never should be satisfied that we’ve achieved what we’ve set out to accomplish because if we have we’re not, you know, being ambitious enough.
(a) Does Honest Tea have more of an organic or mechanistic structure? 300 words
(b) How can you tell? 300 words