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Tasty Products, a billion-dollar multinational company, has for more than 25 years has developed, produced and distributed organic food products to major retailers (e.g., Whole Foods; Costco, Safeway) throughout the United States. These products are noted for their salutatory effects, including stable blood glucose levels. Tasty Products has recently decided to launch a new line of products.
It will develop, produce and distribute all-naturally flavored protein bars to its new and existing clients. This new line of all-naturally flavored protein bars will necessitate the establishment of a new division to develop, produce, market and distribute the product. A new Executive Vice President will need to be selected to establish and lead the new division.
Your company, Wiz Consultants, has been retained to help Tasty Products’ Human Resources Director make the final selection from the candidates she has previously interviewed and narrowed to three (3) possibilities. She has prepared a detailed written profile for each candidate.
Tasty Products’ Human Resources Director has explained to you that she has been directed to find the best person to establish and run the new division. The Human Resources Director further explained that the protein bar industry consists of many well-established companies. Accordingly, the ideal candidate will need to be able to learn quickly and be able to handle a number of complex leadership and management tasks.
These complex management and leadership tasks include the following: developing innovative strategy, creating well-made products, effective product marketing, developing and managing the processes and procedures for employees to follow and creating and articulating a clear vision for the new division. Strong leadership will be the key to the all-naturally flavored energy bars’ success.
The Executive VP will be the face of Tasty Products’ new brand to existing and prospective clients (e.g., Whole Foods, Safeway, Costco, and the like). A key to success with existing clients and prospective clients will be the ability to communicate to them “What makes Tasty Products naturally flavored protein bars special.” The new Executive VP must be viewed as a person of integrity and an innovative problem solver.
The Executive VP must be seen by current employees and newly hired employees and their managers, who will all work in the new division, as a leader who understands and supports the the culture, values and traditions of Tasty Products. In a short period of time, Tasty Products’ leadership expects the new Executive VP to have met the leadership and management expectations discussed above and have the new division running efficiently and productively.
In summary, Tasty Products’ desire is that the new Executive VP for the Energy Bars Division will have the array of excellent management and leadership skills necessary to lead the new division.
Your specific role is as follows:
Analyze the three (3) candidate profiles the HR Director has provided to you.
Explain the strengths and weaknesses of each of the candidates.
Select the top (3) candidates and rank order them 1, 2, and 3. One (1) is the highest rank.
Explain why you would select the candidate you did as being your number first choice.
Explain, using your judgement, what each of the other 2 candidates lacked.
Candidate Summary of Transcripts
TJ has spent the past 13 years working for Star Lite Foods, a mid-sized, $220 million in annual sales, vegetarian food distribution company, headquarter and operating its largest facility in Arizona. She started with the company working on the production line that selected the vegetables suitable for distribution throughout the western section of the United States. For the next 4 years, she worked in a variety of management jobs overseeing production.
TJ then worked for 7 years as a Regional Manager in Idaho responsible for increasing the production of vegetables on farms that Star Lite used as sources for vegetables needed for their own vegetable production. During her run as a Regional Manager she was responsible for making visits to farms to help each farm in the Safe Lite network develop a business plan. The focus of these business plans was to help each farm develop a vision, mission, and general operations plan to help ensure production was stable.
TJ credits her success in that role to her ability to get local farmers to work together, as opposed to independently. She created a program, Community Communications, to keep farmers up to date on farm news affecting the region and to encourage the building of cooperative relationships. TJ’s staff set up a blog and website and expanded social media channels to supplement her Community Communication initiative. These enhancements enabled the latest up-to-date sources of information for farming related issues and encouraged the cooperative development of strategic goals and plans.
TJ was promoted and has served for the past 3 years as Star Lite Foods Vice President of New Product Design and Marketing Department. She proposed focusing on making quality products that can be sourced from local vendors. She stated that once established, the company could initiate a move to being more environmentally and attentive to the well-being of consumers. TJ has long advocated for natural products, whenever possible and the need for more nutritious and healthy food lines. Management sees TJ as clever and creative.
TJ proudly stated that she likes to surround herself with good people. TJ indicated she likes to delegate because she feels her team of workers needs the freedom to make decisions. She feels people produce more and like work better without strict guidance. She is hands-off. TJ boasted that the team was instrumental in helping Star Lite obtain a double-digit increase in market share.
TJ is well-liked by her employees. She communicates what is important and has a good sense of timing. They, at times, describe her as distant but when they seek her judgment or she offers an opinion, they respect it. TJ is very open to conversations with others and is known to be truthful and subtle. She often indicates she’d like to think about the issue or question before she answers but she always follow-ups, even if it is a day or so later. It is apparent that TJ likes people. TJ will not tolerate employees that don’t work well with others and she is very comfortable working with everyone.
TJ is confident that her hard work to advance her career and track record in a variety of complex jobs make her very capable to take on the new role. TJ earned her B.A. in Business in a part-time program at a local college in Idaho.
L. L. Bean
LL started Bean’s Frozen Heath 15 years ago. LL started Bean’s Frozen Heath in his basement. The company distributes its products throughout the United States and Canada. Sales are currently $360 million annually. Tasty Products agreed to purchase Bean’s Frozen Heath. LL’s innovation in moving his standard selling of freshly produced vegetarian to local supermarkets and specialty food stores to frozen and pre-packaged goods he could market and sell throughout the US and Canada, led to rapid growth — both in terms of sales and employees, which currently exceed 250.
He was known for his charismatic leadership style and hands on management. Although popular with employees and managers he was known to be focused and driven. His primary areas of focus were strategic planning, marketing and product development. Employees characterized LL’s company as a pleasant place to work and one where they were treated fairly.
LL agreed to stay on in a leadership capacity with Tasty Products for 3 years, but his exact role has yet to be determined. He thinks leading this new division would be a good fit.
LL’s agreement makes accommodations for several of the key managers and key employees (sales, marketing) to work for Tasty Products. Their roles have yet to be decided but LL would have a say in that. The relationship among these key employees is informal, everyone calls each other by their first names, and they like to talk about business and work well together. LL indicated that he expects everyone to jump in when a task needs to be done.
LL often says, “there are thinkers and there are doers. Doers get the job done. If we make mistakes, we’ll fix them. Perfection is the enemy of the good. And, in business to stay ahead of the competition, taking risk is necessary.” He sees himself as a doer and driver of others. LL frequently held town hall meetings to rally the troops and communicate vision. He is very direct and blunt in his one on one. Often there seems to be little reflection before he speaks.
LL admitted that while he depends on the people that comprise Bean’s Frozen Health, that he likes to be immersed in the business and always wants to stay informed as to what is happening within every department. He likes to walk around and chat with people although he does not like to waste his time or the time of others.
He also shared that he has limited formal educational experience with marketing since as the company grew he used in-house personnel and top-of-the-line marketing firms but he believes that that since he has been leading Beans’ Frozen Health through its growth stages that he could easily manage Tasty Products new venture. He boasts that he is a proven innovator and entrepreneur.
As a proven innovator and entrepreneur having stated and built a large company, LL feels confident, he is the best candidate. LL dropped out of college in his senior year to pursue his business.
J. C. Penney
JC started his role at Tasty Products 12 years ago. Based on his prior 18 months of experience overseeing production for a small (1m) in annual sales protein bar company, JC was hired as a production manager at Tasty Products San Diego facility. His detail-oriented efficiency became widely known throughout Tasty Products and, for the past 4 years, has been working for Tasty Products as the Deputy Director of quality control and all production throughout the U.S. and Canada. He focuses on helping ensure all natural and organic products are environmentally friendly and appeal to consumer price points.
JC is highly regarded within the employee ranks as a fair manager. He applies policies and procedures in a very even-handed manner. JC at times can be seen as distracted by the details of production and quality and tends to get deeply involved in other areas of line operations. He has led a number of committees to plan new product development and distribution but has not yet been delegated those tasks as a recurring part of his current role. JC has hired a group of highly educated employees.
JC’s employees comment that he seeks a lot of data before rendering an opinion or a direction to follow. JC is known to be ethical and trustworthy. He never reacts immediately to what is being said and likes to take time to research most things before he replies. JC likes to say, “the devil is in the details.”
He holds monthly staff meetings but generally these are with specific groups on specific topics that he asked certain employees with expertise in those areas to report on the meetings. Management places a great deal of confidence in what JC suggests and recommends.
JC sees himself as both a manager and mentor who focuses on employee development. For example, in the technical areas of production and quality control JC provides very hands-on guidance and expresses exactly what he’d like to see the end product or report look like. JC is seen as a deep thinker and one who acts when he is certain of the next step. He is known to be someone management can rely on to solve complex technical issues. His opinions, however, in all aspects of the company are valued by management.
JC admitted he does not have any marketing or sales experience, but he has had a role in overseeing committees that made recommendations in those areas, including developing the new naturally flavored protein bar line of products. He has a strong desire to see the company become a leader in the protein bar market.
JC noted in his cover letter that although he has more hands-on experience in some areas of the new Executive VP role than others he believes, nonetheless, he would be a good fit for the new position because he is committed to Tasty Products. He understands the company’s vision, mission, and core values. JC stated he has demonstrated the managerial and leadership skills to guide the team to success.
JC believes his proven record at Tasty Products, his engineering background and advanced education as well as the respect he is accorded by employees and management at Tasty Products make him an ideal candidate for the new role. JC has a degree in electrical engineering from Penn State and an MBA from Wharton.
You have been asked to review the three candidates and make a recommendation for the Executive Vice President position. The new Executive VP will have a lot of responsibility in managing and leading.
You will evaluate each of the three candidates considering each candidate’s full body of experience and how their experience aligns with HR Director’s expectations for the new position as well as how each candidate will lead within the context of Tasty Products desire to create all-natural brands of various products.
Use the following headings and instructions to complete the project:
Rejected Candidate (second choice)
Explain the reasons Wiz Consultants second choice candidate was not selected.
Rejected Candidate (third choice)
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