Balancing Priorities at Clif Bar
Gary Erickson is a man of integrity. In the spring of 2000 Erickson had an offer of more than $100 million from a major food corporation for his company Clif Bar Inc. He had founded Clif Bar Inc. 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 epiphany—make a product that actually tasted good.” He looked 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 Bar—named for Erickson’s father—was 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.
Discussion Questions Without knowing Gary Erickson’s age, where would you guess he falls in the four generations of workers as delineated by Zemke? Consider the key work values in Table 5.1. (p. 153) Recalling that leaders are motivated to act consistently with their values, what values appear to be most important to Gary Erickson?
Hughes, R. L., Ginnett, R. C., & Curphy, G. J. (2015). Leadership: enhancing the lessons of experience(pp. 179-180). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.