In the movie clip, “Invictus,” both the actors discuss how a particular poem, song lyric or even a speech can be inspiring and motivating to an individual leader or a team.
- In your life, do you have a particular poem, quote, speech, lyric or something else that is written that inspires or gives you courage to do something new or take a risk? Please describe what it is.
- If you can’t identify such a thing that inspires your or gives you courage, as a future manager, what would you do to inspire and give others courage to follow your lead (this is not forcing, but inspiring)?
- Tupac had a lyric that said, “life is what you make it to be.” I never thought about it when I was younger, but it made a lot more sense when I got older. This lyric has become inspiring to me because it has made me realize that I cannot sit back and expect good things to come my way, instead you must work hard for what you want in life. This lyric has changed my perspective on life, and it reminds me of the determination that is needed to make my life better. This new perspective has allowed me the courage to take risks I wouldn’t have taken before.
- To inspire others, I believe, you must lead by example. As a manager, no one will listen to your instructions or motivation if you are not setting a good example. To inspire others, in addition to setting a good example, I would find out what motivates them the most. One persons might be motivated by incentives such as money while someone else wants recognition. Whatever it is that motivates them, I would use to inspire. For example, if Jason is motivated by money, I would tell him that for each good customer satisfaction survey he receives he will get a $50 dollar bonus.
Simon Sinek and Rosabeth Moss Kanter are two of the most respected thought leaders in the world today about leadership and human interaction, please watch these videos
- Based on the videos, please discuss what did you learn about helping and inspiring others, remaining engaged despite the obstacles, building trust with individuals and organizations and being an authentic leader? (you only need to comment on a few items listed)
- Please discuss what you can begin doing differently than you currently are to increase your capacity to inspire others, build relationships and trust, remain focused on your goals, and/or be an authentic leader. (you only need to comment on a few items).
- You can have a compelling vision, rock-solid strategy, excellent communication skills, innovative insight, and a skilled team, but if people don’t trust you, you will never get the results you want. Rosabeth stated many good points in her speech, the overall message I got was there needs to be trust. To remain engaged despite obstacles is the essence of what a good leader does. In a leadership position, there will always be obstacles to overcome but if you can overcome those obstacles and keep your focus, it will exemplify great management to your team.
- I believe, to increase my capacity to inspire others, I need to change my approach as Simon Sinek suggested in his video. Making people believe in the why, as a priority, rather than the what; can create drastic improvements. This can create a great relationship and trust that was missing. If others believe in why you are doing something they have more investment and conviction to get behind you. Rather than thinking that I am just doing something because I have to, they will see that I have great confidence in what I’m doing which can spark the flame of inspiration in others. It would be important not to sell them on anything but rather genuinely believe in the why, others will then see you as an authentic leader.
TIMBERLAND—FROM BOOTMAKER TO EARTHKEEPER Walking a Green Path Timberland has built a reputation for creating simple, durable footwear and outdoor accessories. The company has developed a reputation as a leader in environmental stewardship. But, will Timberland’s recent sale to a clothing conglomerate change that? Getty Images Jeffrey Swartz is a straight-talking man. When asked how he felt about the sale of Timberland, the outdoor shoe and apparel company founded by his grandfather and formerly run by his father, to clothing giant VF Corporation, he replied: “It’s a magnificent day and Stakeholders Count During his 14-year stint running Timberland, Swartz made a successful career of putting the interests of consumers, partners, and virtually everyone on planet Earth ahead of his own, even in his last days at the family business. As business writer Marc Gunther notes, “It’s interesting—and very much in character—that as part of the acquisition, Jeff didn’t negotiate a contract for himself to stay on at Timberland, either as CEO or as an adviser. Executives of companies that are being sold often do that, but they are, in eff ect, using the leverage they have during a negotiation to take care of themselves, potentially at the expense of other shareholders.” 2 And while Swartz can be confident that he left his family’s 60-year-old company on high moral standing, he has to wonder about Timberland’s future. When VF Corporation acquired Timberland for $2.3 billion, the brand became just another holding for one of the world’s largest clothing companies whose stable of nearly two dozen brands includes The North Face, Nautica, and Vans. 3 Boot, Brand, Belief Timberland describes its eras of evolution in terms of “Boot, Brand, Belief.” Boot depicts Timberland’s roots as the Abington Shoe Company, purchased by Jeffrey Swartz’s grandfather, Nathan, partially in 1952 and then fully in 1955. For decades, the company specialized in tough-as-nails boots, only branching out to shoemaking in 1979. When he took over in 1986, Sidney Swartz (Nathan’s son and Jeffrey’s father) extended the Timberland Brand internationally and added clothing, accessories, and women’s and children’s shoes to the product lineup. And when Jeffrey assumed the post of CEO in 1998, he stamped the family business with his Belief in social justice, environmental sustainability, and corporate social responsibility. 4 While Nathan’s “do one thing and do it right” focus and Sidney’s years of continuous corporate growth built a robust company to inherit, Jeffrey’s deep moral convictions defined Timberland among its competitors perhaps more than any of its products ever did. “If I think there’s a big gap between belief and execution in corporate governance,” Jeff rey once said, “I also think there’s a big gap in what I espouse and how I live. And I investigate both gaps daily.” Th at means asking the right questions. “As always, the decisions aren’t hard—the questions are hard. If you have the right questions, and you have the right people that care—and we do have bright, caring people—you will almost always get a right answer.” 5 Timberland’s emphasis on social responsibility began as early as 1989, when it partnered with Boston’s City Year, an “urban Peace Corps,” to promote community service. But it took declining profits and a stagnant economy to inspire Timberland to forge its current identity as a protector of the earth. Says Mike Harrison, Timberland’s chief brand officer: “We really had to dig deep and figure out how to create demand. In doing that, we reached back to what the brand had always stood for. We went back to what we’re known for, which was an authentic outdoor brand with a very strong heritage of social responsibility and environmental sustainability. So, out of necessity, we made a decision to refocus on our strengths.” 6 That refocusing ultimately spawned Timberland’s Earthkeeping campaign. Defined as “taking actions that enable us to be good stewards of the earth,” Earthkeeping encapsulates the environmental virtues that Timberland has both espoused and lived in recent years. While it may be hip for companies to adopt a green posture, Timberland deeply committed itself to sustainable and environmentally and socially conscious business practices. Earthkeeping initiatives include using partially or wholly recycled materials in manufacturing, using reclaimed materials in retail stores, and giving employees 40 paid hours each year to volunteer in their community. 7 Profits and Values The question now is how things may change in the future now that Timberland is part of VF. As Swartz said in the days preceding his departure, “When you change the signature in the bottom-right corner of the paycheck, that means they will get to make decisions that I now get to make.” 8 Betsy Blaisdell, Timberland’s senior manager of environmental stewardship, said: “Bottom-line results are obviously critical—if we cease to be profitable, we cease to exist—but if we earn them at the expense of our values and commitment to be a responsible corporate citizen, we’ve failed.” 9 For his part, former CEO Swartz said shortly before his departure. “You can run a for-profit business and be mindful of basic human rights and your environmental impact. You can run a for-profit business in a way you’d be
“Timberland – From Bootmaker to Earthkeeper,” please thoroughly read the case.
- When reviewing the case, what do you believe CEO Jeffrey Swarz did effectively as a leader?
- Please discuss if you would you like to work for a leader like Swarz or organization like Timberland, Why or Why Not?
ZAPPOS They Do It with Humor Zappos.com customers are known for fierce loyalty, and it’s easy to see why. CEO Tony Hsieh has built a billion-dollar business by providing happiness to customers and employees. Even fellow businesspeople get happy while seeking to learn more about Zappos’s unique blend of humor, compassion, and high-quality customer service. How does Zappos do it?
When Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh was the featured guest on The Colbert Report, host Stephen Colbert grilled him about Zappos’s phenomenal success and rabid customer loyalty. Hsieh replied that it’s Zappos’s goal to deliver “WOW” in every shoe or clothing box. Today, the company is consistently ranked highly as one of Fortune’s ‘Best Companies to Work For’. 1 Unusual Leader, Unusual Employer Zappos.com was launched in 1999 as the brainchild of Hsieh and founder Nick Swinmurn. Within just a few years the Las Vegas-based firm caught the eye of Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. He liked what he saw so much that he bought the firm for Amazon’s business stable, pledging not to interfere with Hsieh and Zappos’s unique way of doing business. The blog search engine Land calls Zappos “the poster child for how to connect with customers online.” 2 And under Amazon, Zappos has maintained its focus. The company’s relentless pursuit of the ultimate customer experience is the stuff of legend. Zappos offers extremely fast shipping at no cost and will cover the return shipping if you are dissatisfied for any reason at any time. For Hsieh, the Zappos brand is less about a particular type of product and more about providing good customer service. He has said, “We could be in any industry that we can differentiate ourselves through better customer service and better customer experience.” 3 He has even ventured that he could see the Zappos name on things as large as airlines or hotels, as long as the service was up to his exacting standards. A Culture to Th rive In Zappos’s success comes down to the company’s culture and the unusual amount of openness Hsieh encourages among employees, vendors, and other businesses. “If we get the culture right,” he says, “most of the other stuff , like the brand and the customer service will just happen. . . . We want the culture to grow stronger and stronger as we grow.” Named “The Smartest Dude in Town” by business magazine Vegas Inc., Hsieh believes employees have to be free to be themselves. That means no-call times or scripts for customer service representatives, regular costume parties, and parades and decorations in each department. Customer service reps are given a lot of leeway to make sure every customer is an enthusiastic customer. Sharing the Fun Hsieh believes so strongly in the Zappos culture that he’s on a mission to share it with anyone who will listen. In a program called Zappos Insights, “Company Evangelists” lead tour groups of 20 around the Las Vegas headquarters. Office cubicles often overflow with kitschy action figures and brightly colored balloons, giving participants a glimpse of a workplace that prizes individuality and fun as much as satisfied customers. Staffers blow horns and ring cowbells to greet participants in the 16 weekly tours, and each department tries to offer a more outlandish welcome than the last. “The original idea was to add a little fun,” Hsieh says, but it grew into a friendly competition “as the next aisle said, ‘We can do it better.’” 4 Th e tours are free, but many visitors actually come for paid one- and two-day seminars that immerse participants in the Zappos culture. Want to learn how to recruit employees who are committed to your company culture? You’ll get face time with Zappos HR staff . Yearn to learn what keeps customers coming back? Ask their Customer Loyalty Team. Hungry for a homecooked meal? The capstone of the two-day boot camp is dinner at Tony Hsieh’s house, with ample time to talk customer service with the CEO himself. 5 Those who want to learn Zappos’s secrets without venturing to Las Vegas can subscribe to a members-only community that grants access to video interviews and chats with Zappos management. Ask nicely, and the company will send you a free copy of their Zappos Family Culture Book, an annual compilation of every employee’s ideas about Zappos’s mission and core values. Hsieh has his own tome, too—Delivering Happiness. Zappos’s Next Act So, what comes next? As Zappos grows within the Amazon umbrella, which is constantly growing as well, and as Hsieh devotes more time to community service and his writing and speaking engagements, can the Zappos culture survive growth and a possible leadership transition? Will Zappos continue to remain prosperous and keep its reputation as a great employer? Is Hsieh’s unique brand of leadership so built into the firm’s practices that Zappos will stay the same even under a new CEO?
“Zappos They Do It with Humor,” please read the case carefully.
- What does Tony Hsieh do that you believe makes him an effective leader?
- Would you like to work for a leader like Hsieh or an Organization like Zappos, Why or Why Not, please discuss.