Minicase, Balancing Priorities

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Question 1:Without knowing Gary Ericksons age, where would you guess he falls in the four generations of workers as delineated by Zemke?



Question 2:Consider the terminal and instrumental values in Table 5.1.Recalling that leaders are motivated to act consistently with their values, what values appear to be most important to Gary Erickson?


Question 3:Clif Bar, Inc. possesses a definite set of organizational values.If you visit the company website (), you will see evidence of these values:Fight Global Warming and Register to Vote are just as prominent as information about the product.Knowing some of the values of Gary Erickson, how closely aligned do you think the organizational values are to the way the company actually operates?


SEQ CHAPTER h r 1Case: Balancing Priorities at Clif Bar

In the spring of 2000 Gary Erickson had an offer of more than $100 million from a major food corporation for his company, Clif Bar, Inc. He had founded the company in 1990 after a long bike ride. Erickson, an avid cyclist, had finished the 175-mile ride longing for an alternative to the tasteless energy bars he had brought along. “I couldn’t make the last one go down, and that’s when I had an epiphanymake a product that actually tasted good.” He took a look at the list of ingredients on the package and decided he could do better. He called on his experience in his family’s bakery and after a year in the kitchen, the Clif Barnamed for Erickson’s fatherwas launched in 1992. Within five years sales had skyrocketed to $20 million. He considered the $100 million offer on the table and what it meant for his company and decided against the deal. He realized that the vision he had for the company would be compromised once he lost control, so he walked away from the $100 million deal. The company is still privately held.

He has stuck to his vision and values ever since. His commitment to environmental and social issues are evident in everything he does. On the environmental front, his company has a staff ecologist who is charged with working to reduce Clif Bar’s ecological footprint on the planet. More than 70 percent of the ingredients in Clif Bars are organic. A change in packaging has saved the company (and the planet) 90,000 pounds of shrink-wrap a year. And the company funds a Sioux wind farm to offset the carbon dioxide emissions from its factories. On the social side, Erickson launched a project called the 2,080 program (2,080 is the total number of hours a in one year). Through the 2,080 program employees are encouraged to do volunteer work on company time. Recently Erickson agreed to support employees who wanted to volunteer in Third World countries with salaries and travel expenses.

Erickson is also committed to his team. He thinks about things like, “What should our company be like for the people who come to work each day?” He sees work as a living situation and strives to make Clif Bar, Inc.’s offices a fun place to bethere are plenty of bikes around; a gym and dance floor; personal trainers; massage and hair salon; a game room; and an auditorium for meetings, movies, and music. They can also take part in a flexible workweek, a , financial assistance for , and a dependent care assistance program. Dogs and babies are welcome in the office, and casual dress is encouraged daily

As the company grows, however, maintaining such values may not be easy. Clif Bar already has 130 employees, and revenue, well over $100 million, has been increasing rapidly, e.g., more than 20 percent between 2004 and 2005. “We’re at a point where we have to find a way to maintain this open culture while we may be getting bigger,”says Shelley Martin, director of operations. “It’s a balancing act.”

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