Archive for the ‘Innovative Ideas’ Category

Morning Star is a California-based tomato ingredient processing company founded on the principles of self-management. Employees at Morning Star initiate communications and coordinate activities without direction. No one among the company’s 400+ employees takes orders and nobody gives orders.

In the December 2011 edition of Harvard Business Review, Gary Hamel explored how Morning Star has created an organization that incorporates managerial discipline without hierarchy, titles and managers, achieving market-centric flexibility. While the concept of self-management may seem unfathomable to traditional thinkers, Morning Star has embraced this concept for over two decades, becoming a global market leader with 2010 revenues of over $700 million.

Annually each Morning Star employee negotiates a ‘Colleague Letter of Understanding’ with the associates they work with the most, to determine responsibilities. Each employee also has their own personal mission statement, which they are driven by. Employees are responsible for obtaining the training, cooperation and resources needed to achieve their mission. All employees are given access to the same system wide data, preventing information silos. Also all employees can spend the company’s money if they show return on investment and NPV calculations to demonstrate the business case behind their spending. In addition, overloaded employees have the flexibility and power to decide to hire new employees and all new hires go through a training session on self-management. Compensation decisions are based on individual contributions and determined by peers – building a good reputation is key.

The Advantages of Self-Management:

  • No time is wasted supervising others, increasing efficiency.
  • The lack of bureaucracy, results in faster decision-making, increasing the organization’s flexibility.
  • No centrally defined roles results in broader more complicated roles. Employees get to focus on what they’re good at, with unlimited scope to take on new responsibilities as their skills and experience increase.
  • Employees are empowered to imagine, innovate and contribute. Spontaneous change occurs from employees having the freedom to get involved anywhere where they think they can add value.
  • Employees value the freedom given and being treated like adults, increasing their company loyalty.

The Challenges of Self-Management:

  • Not everyone is suited to the Morning Star culture, particularly individuals that like to be told what to do and those that like to tell others what to do.
  • Cultural adjustment – takes time. New hires from traditional hierarchies will take time to adapt to the self-management environment.
  • Accountability can be challenging – everyone is responsible for peer regulation to ensure quality and service are maintained.
  • Lack of titles and promotions can make it extremely challenging for employees looking to transition in to roles with other companies.
  • In order to ensure the self-management culture is maintained growth through mergers and acquisitions is difficult to accomplish.

So what do you think? Would you want to work for a company with a self-management culture? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Photo Credit



Read Full Post »

There is an Irish folklore from the 5th century, which tells the story of how St. Bridget negotiated with St. Patrick to allow women to propose to men on February 29th. Her argument was that since February 29th had no legal status, traditions should have no status on this day either. Today leap day is not just about folklore and can represent a great opportunity for businesses to create innovative marketing strategies to attract their customer’s attention.

While not suitable for all types of businesses, many restaurants, hotels, theme parks, car sales companies, radio and TV stations and others are taking advantage of this one in a 1461-day opportunity. Organizations of all sizes can take advantage of leap day by offering sales promotions such as 29% off, flash sales, discounts, coupons, contests, birthday offers for leaplings and other promotions.

Below are some examples of my favorite 2012 innovative leap day campaigns:

Honda’s “2012 CR-V Leap Year Contest”

Honda has created a leap year themed advertising campaign to promote the 2012 CR-V.

Honda’s website for this campaign enables people to create lists of goals they hope to achieve before they take the next major leap in their life. To inspire you to get your list started, Honda is hosting a contest where all lists submitted will be judged on their activity, variety and feasibility. The grand prizewinner will win a 2012 Honda CR-V and free gas for a year.

Disney Theme Parks: “One More Disney Day”

My favorite of all the leap day campaigns is one more Disney day. On February 29th for the first time ever both the Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom in Orlando, FL and the Disneyland Park in Anaheim, CA will be open for 24 hours.

The campaign’s big question: What would you do if you had one more Disney day?

If I had one more Disney day I would head to the Walt Disney World Resort and relive some of my memories from my days on Disney’s Cultural Representative Program. I would head to the Disney Studios and ride Rock n’ Rollercoaster and Tower of Terror, before heading to Epcot’s World Showcase to walk around my old workplace and buy some overpriced but delicious British chocolate. I would then head to Animal Kingdom to ride Expedition Everest and watch the Lion King show. Once the other three parks were due to close I would head over to the Magic Kingdom where I would stay until the early hours of the morning hitting all the mountain rides and watching the incredible 3D Mickey’s Philharmagic.

Also on leap day Disney will be offering free “one more Disney day” mouse ears to the first 2000 visitors at both Magic Kingdom and Disneyland. In addition, there’s a sweepstake to win a trip to either resort but as you can probably tell I would really like to win so I’m not going to share the details, though they are really easy to find!

Anabella Hotel’s “29 $29 rooms” 

Located in Anaheim, CA the Anabella hotel were quick to react to Disney’s “one more Disney day” announcement by creating a complementary offer. Through their Twitter and Facebook accounts the hotel offered 29 $29 rooms for the night of 02/29, which went on sale at 10 a.m. on February 7th. The Anabella hotel’s leveraging of their social media platforms, helped make their promotion a big success. All 29 rooms sold out in less than 15 minutes.

WIRK Radio: “Take Leapers to Lunch”

Southern Florida’s country radio station 107.9 WIRK has offered to take anyone whose birthday is on February 29th to lunch at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse on leap day (a cap may be imposed at some point). Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in North Palm Beach will open specially for this lunch. No doubt the radio station will include this event in their broadcast and this promotion seems ideal for radio or TV stations.

So what do you think? Could your business take advantage of leap day by creating an innovative marketing campaign? Share your thoughts below.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts

%d bloggers like this: