Life is Good Case Application More than a good story
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Life is Good Case Application More than a good story

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Jake and Rocket a cartoon guy and his cartoon dog, can be found on most of the apparel and other branded products sold by the Life is Good Company. With his perky beret (or other appropriate head ...

Jake and Rocket a cartoon guy and his cartoon dog, can be found on most of the apparel and other branded products sold by the Life is Good Company. With his perky beret (or other appropriate head gear), Jake has that contended look of being able to enjoy life as it is and finding reasons to be happy right now, and Rocket? Well he is just happy to be along for the ride. And what a ride it’s been for the two! They’ve been part of the company growth to over $100 million in revenues. Company co-founders and brothers, Bert and John Jacobs have a personal and Business philosophy much like Jake; simplicity, humor and humility. However both understand that even this philosophy they need to be good managers throughout the organization in order to stay successful.

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Life is Good Case Application More than a good story Life is Good Case Application More than a good story Document Transcript

  • Case Application More Than a Good Story 1. Jake and Rocket a cartoon guy and his cartoon dog, can be found on most of the apparel and other branded products sold by the Life is Good Company. With his perky beret (or other appropriate head gear), Jake has that contended look of being able to enjoy life as it is and finding reasons to be happy right now, and Rocket? Well he is just happy to be along for the ride. And what a ride it‟s been for the two! They‟ve been part of the company growth to over $100 million in revenues. Company co-founders and brothers, Bert and John Jacobs have a personal and Business philosophy much like Jake; simplicity, humor and humility. However both understand that even this philosophy they need to be good managers throughout the organization in order to stay successful. 2. Bert and John designed their first tee shirts in 1989 and sold them door-to- door in college dorms along the East Coast and in Boston where they‟d set up shop using an old card table in locations on one way streets so they could pick up and move quickly if they needed to. They used this simple approach because like many young entrepreneurs, they couldn‟t afford required business licenses. Although they met a lot of wonderful people and heard a lot of good stories during those early years, sales weren‟t that great. As the company legend goes, the brothers “lived on peanut butter and jelly, slept in their beat-up van, and showered when they could.” During one of their sales trip parties, Bert and John asked some friends for advice on an assortment of images and slogans they had put together. Those friends (some of whom now work for the company) liked the “Life is Good” slogan and drawing of Jake that had been sketched by the John. So Bert and John printed up to 48 Jake shits for a local street fair in Cambridge, Massachusetts. By noon 48 shirts were gone, something that had never happened! The brothers were smart enough to recognize that they might be on to something. And, as the old saying goes…..the rest is history! Since that momentous day in 1994, they‟ve sold nearly 20 million Life is Good shirts featuring Jake and Rocket. Bert attributes their success to his belief that the “ the „Life is Good‟ message, coupled with the carefree image of Jake, was simple enough to swallow, light enough to be mistaken for preachy, and profound
  • Page |1 enough to matter.” He goes on to say that, “Note that we don‟t say „Life is great!‟ We say life is good, period. These simple words, People connect with it instantly.” 3. Another important facet of Life is good is their commitment to good causes. And those aren‟t just “words” to Bert and John; they act on their words. They are passionately involved with Project Joy, which is a nonprofit organization that fosters the development of at risk children through the art of play. Bert says their partnership with Project Joy aligns with Life is good‟s philosophy. The financial commitment the company has made is supported by its Life is good Kids Foundation, which raises funds throughout the popular Life is good festivals and through sales of fundraising tshirts and books at its retail stores. 4. Today Life is Good, based in Boston has a product line of more than 900 items. The company continues to grow about 30-40 percent annually. Bert and John‟s style of managing is guided by another of the company‟s mottoes, “Do what you like, Like what you do.” As the company‟s web site states, “In addition to knowledge, skills, and experience, we look to hire people who possess the same optimistic outlook on life that Jake has.” It‟s an approach that seems to be working for Bert and John and for Jake and rocket.
  • Page |2 Questions of Case Application Question 1. As the top managers of their company what type of issues might Bert and John have to deal with? Be as specific as possible, which management functions might be most important to them? Why? Answer 1. The number and type of issues may vary from time to time or may arise as influenced by many factors, however, few of the issues which they might face is as tabulated under. 1. Issues. As the top managers of their company, Bert and John have to establish the plans and goals and make some big decisions, such as which market do they want to develop, how much money they want to earn next year, which partner they want to cooperate and so on. As the top managers of the company Bert and John might face following issues:a. Leadership i. Defining Leadership Style. Though leadership may be hard to define, but as one characteristic remain common i.e. all leaders must have the ability to make things happen. Thus being the top mangers they must maintain their will to control events, charting out of course and implementing with the power to get job done using the skills and abilities of employees. ii. Consistency in making Good Decision. Being at the helms of affairs they are expected to maintain steadiness in achieving intended goal. b. Egoistic Approach. At some point they may have experience of being unavoidably entangled in following egoistic approach. This has to remain in control in order to achieve the desired goals. Few of the factors indicating problems with an out-of-control ego are: i. Consistently poor morale. ii. Constant communication breakdowns iii. Bad hiring decisions iv. Acquisitions or mergers that go sour. v. High employee turnover.
  • Page |3 vi. Consistently poor quality vii. Loss of market share. viii. Vulnerability to competitors. ix. x. Decreasing profits from year to year. xi. c. Poor sales results. Consistently poor decisions. Motivational issue. No organization, be it formal or casual, will get far if its workers are not motivated. Workers who lack focus or are uninterested in the end goal are not usually very productive, and can often undermine a leader‟s efforts and authority. Sometimes, the fix is as easy as clearly communicating the mission. Being top managers they must work with employees to figure out an effective incentive structure. d. Cultivating Leadership Approach. Being at the top It is a known fact that the hardest parts of running any sort of organization is ensuring that those in superior positions are actually capable of leading effectively. e. Communication. At may face communication some gap point between of them time and they subordinate management. Effective teamwork depends on a culture of open communication, where superiors and subordinates can freely discuss progress and problems. Employees who feel that their bosses are distant or somehow “off limits” have a tendency to make mistakes that could have been avoided had parties felt more comfortable talking to each other.
  • Page |4 f. Creating Team Unity. Being Leaders they are often responsible for helping build unity between staff members. It can take a bit of time for workers to develop trusting relationships with one another, and the role of a supervisor or managers is to set the proper framework to encourage these relationships to grow. 2. Most important management function. There are five basic functions tabulated as under: a. Planning. This function involves mapping out exactly how to achieve a particular goal. b. Organizing. After a plan is in place, a manager needs to organize her team and materials according to her plan. Assigning work and granting authority are two important elements of organizing. c. Staffing. After a manager discerns his area's needs, he may decide to beef up his staffing by recruiting, selecting, training, and developing employees. d. Leading. A manager needs to do more than just plan, organize, and staff his team to achieve a goal. He must also lead. Leading involves motivating, communicating, guiding, and encouraging. It requires the manager to coach, assist, and problem solve with employees. e. Controlling. After the other elements are in place. He needs to continuously check results against goals and take any corrective actions necessary to make sure that his area's plans remain on track. 3. All managers at all levels of every organization perform these functions, but in this particular case Controlling would be the most important function, which gives the basic drive to run the business. Because Life is good company is a mature company, which has mature rules, middle managers and first line managers. It also has mature markets. As the top managers, the most important function is controlling now. Question 2. Using descriptions from the case, describe Bert and Jhon‟s managerial style. Would this approach work for other organizations? Why or why not?
  • Page |5 Answer 2. Bert and John‟s managerial style is managing people who take action. It can work for other organizations as well. For Bert and John, they set up the motto and enhance the company‟s culture to let employees feel themselves to be constructive parts of the company. Question 3. How do you think the company‟s motto “Do what you like, Like what you do” might affect how mangers manage? Be specific. Answer 3. The motto “Do what you like. Like what you do.” might affect that which kind of employees the managers want to hire and how they encourage their employees to work hard. The motto is a kind of company‟s culture. And it can help employees to identify the company. It can be claimed that the motto Do what you like. Like what you do works as a catalyst in the positive growth of the company. Question 4. What managerial challenges might there be in having friends work for your business? How could these challenges be kept inconsequential? Answer 4. The challenges in having friends work for your business might be hard to manage. Sometimes they don‟t think you are the boss, they think you are just their friend. But it is easy to deal with talk to your friends and make sure they know their roles. Let them know here is the business, and there are rules in the company. Everybody should follow the rules, nobody except. Question 5. Would you want to work for a company like this? Why or why not? Answer 5. To answer that would I work for a company like Life is Good? yes would be my reply. Foremost of the reason would be that the company promotes and maintain a stress free environment for all employees. This good management style encourages the employees to learn new things and improve their performance and thus leading to a positive productivity note. Question 6. In what ways would the Life is Good managers (corporate and retail stores) have to deal with the challenges of customer services, innovation and sustainability? Be specific in your description. Answer 6. Managers at Life is Good are requires to utilize their skills and bring on the right amount of motivation to run the company.
  • Page |6 1. Challenges. Mangers might have to deal with following challenges: a. Achieving Goal. There are goals associated with objectives, and if organization is aggressive then those goals require more than the typical amount of effort. It‟s going to take some careful planning to figure out how to apply organization‟s people and resources to achieve an aggressive goal. Managers have to have to motivate people, remove hurdles, and focus on the things that are most important. b. Getting the best out of employee. To take on this challenge the manager may have to adopt following steps:i. Treating every employee with respect. ii. Help employees align their personal goals with their work goals. iii. Provide a work environment that is appropriate for the work and conducive to employee well-being. iv. Encourage employee communication and cooperation c. Dealing with Underperforming Employees. Right and periodic provision of motivation and counseling by the managers will help the employees to improve upon their performance. d. Hiring the Right People. To have the right person for a specific job is one one of the major contributor to company‟s performance. It must be noted that an interviews may not predict a good work and work habits of interviewee, however its going beyond the interview which is crucial. e. Crises Management. Planning is a part of managing, but when a crisis hits, manager have to be able to deal with it calmly, quietly and without being overwhelmed by stress. f. Continuous Improvement. There‟s always a room for improvement or a change in a process, a better working environment, better employee motivation, more focus on the essentials. A manager must seek out these improvement through research or periodical overviews of workplace and respond correctly. 2. Importance of innovation. Innovation is a critical factor in a growth of a company, and it means doing things differently, exploring new territory and taking risks. Innovation can be the application of new ideas to the products, processes, or
  • Page |7 other aspects of the activities of a company that lead to increased “value.” For a company like Life is Good managers must be abreast with the latest ideas and global trends. 3. Importance of sustainability. Sustainability is the ability to maintain a certain status or process in existing systems or company‟s ability to achieve its business goals and increase long term shareholder value by integrating economic, environmental, and social opportunities into business strategy. For a company like Life is Good it becomes important because all the goals they pursue, and all the actions taken today will affect it in the future. Before sustainability can be fully integrated into a company‟s core business, though, top managers have to take following important actions: Shaping consumer tastes to build a stronger market for sustainable products. Training management, employees and the next generation of leaders to deal with sustainability issues. Communicating with investors to create a better understanding of the impact of sustainability. Measuring performance on sustainability — and explaining the value of business in society. Working with governments to shape clearer regulation and create a level playing field.