Learning From Others: Morning Star Tomatoes

Learning From Others: Morning Star Tomatoes

There aren’t that many new and innovative management styles in the world today, but I recently heard of one.  Morning Star Tomatoes (which generates $700M per year processing tomatoes).  Want to know what there management structure is?  They don’t have one.  There aren’t any managers.

Instead, at the beginning of every year each employee has an opportunity to implement projects.  These projects should be in pursuit of the company’s overall goals and you are required to show your math in the form of an ROI and NPV calculation.  However, if you think you know how to revamp the production process and want to lead the effort, go ahead.  You’ll need a convincing argument and you’ll need to get other people to work for you.  Let’s say that your project requires 20 people, you’ll need to get 20 people to sign Colleague Letters of Understanding (CLOU)s.  That means those people will have to think that your project is the best way for them to spend their time in pursuit of the company’s goals.

It’s an innovative idea to spice up a fairly static type of business.  There’s a lot more detail in the HBR writeup.