As the top managers of their company, there are many issues that Bert and John must deal with. New issues arise on a daily basis when managing any organization. However, I believe that Bert and John have already encountered and dealt with the issues that were a threat to the company’s success. Such issues may have included; the business outgrowing its staff, developing a system which best fit the company’s needs, and also implementing a system the company will not outgrow. At the beginning stages of the company I believe the most important management function would have been planning.
The management function that I believe is most important to Bert and John today, is leading. They seek out employees who possess the same attitude about life as they do, which is that “Life is Good”. Bert and John’s style of managing is guided by another of the company’s mottoes, “Do what you like. Like what you do” (Robbins & Coulter, 2012). It is even stated on their company’s website that, “In addition to knowledge, skills, and experience, we look to hire people who possess the same optimistic outlook on life that Jake has.” They encourage a carefree work environment and I believe that has a lot to do with their success.
Another reason I feel that leading is the most important management function to Bert and John is because of their strong commitment to good causes. Their commitment to raising funds for non-profit organizations is surely an inspiration to their employees. “A manager that is an inspiration means that employees will follow that person because they believe in what the manager is doing and they are trying to help the company achieve its goals” (Rothbauer-Wanish, 2009).
Bert and John’s managerial style is much different than what most people may be accustomed to. While they are looking to expand the company, they are not doing it for personal gain. They seek out employees who share their same outlook on life, which is that “Life is Good.” While this approach has proven to be successful for Bert and John, I don’t believe this same approach would bring such success to other organizations. The reason being, that many organizations do not have the luxury of projecting such a carefree work environment, because their mission requires a more serious approach.
The company’s motto “Do what you like. Like what you do” might affect how managers manage because the message itself is uplifting. This motto encourages employees to get involved with the company on a more personal level. I believe that this motto and the overall vibe of Bert and John’s company has a lot to do with its success. I have never worked in a company where the top concern was if I enjoyed my job, but I sure would like to one day.
If I were a consultant hired to take this company forward, my first suggestion would be to keep the company motto and carefree message the company currently has. I’m sure that Bert and John would agree. As Bert stated in an interview with Allister & Paine magazine, “From a business standpoint it’s extremely effective because there’s a magnetic emotional connection to those three simple words and it’s something that all of culture is starving for” (Allister & Paine, 2011). My second suggestion would be to participate in social networking. Bert and John seem to have a mindset of staying true to the individuals they were when they lived in their van and sole tee shirts on street corners. I would stress the fact that social networking is an excellent marketing tool and that by utilizing it they would not be “selling out.”
Any other suggestions I have would not be to change the company’s structure but to build on the framework that is already in place. I feel that Bert and John have made the company the success it is today because they truly believe in what they are doing. Hewlitt’s Global Research found the five characteristics of the best employers are: 1) Inspired leadership, 2) Unique company culture, 3) Focus on growing talent, 4) Strong sense of accountability, and 5) Aligned HR practices and excellent execution (Hewitt Associates LLC, 2009). These are all characteristics that Bert and John possess, which has a lot to do with their company’s success.
Since 1989 when Bert and John designed their very first tee shirt to the present they have turned their idea into a multi-million dollar company. They went from setting up a card table on street corners and living out of their van to organizing fundraisers that bring in millions of dollars for non-profit organizations. Their journey is definitely “More than a Good Story,” and an inspiration to anyone who aspires to own their own company.
Allister & Paine. (2011, November 7). Life is Good. Allister & Paine. The Digital Magazine for21st Century Executives. Retrieved from http://alisterpaine.com/2011/11/07/an-interviewwith-the-founders-ceo-of-life-is-good/ Hewitt Associates LLC. (2009). What Makes a Company a Best Employer? Retrieved fromhttps://ceplb03.hewitt.com/bestemployers/pdfs/BestEmployer.pdf Robbins, S.P., & Coulter, M. (2012). Management (11th ed.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey:Pearson Education, Inc. Rothbauer-Wanish, H. (2009, June 9). Leading as a Management Function. BusinessManagement. Retrieved from http://suite101.com/article/leading-as-a-managementfunct
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