Leadership vs. Management based on Innocent Drinks
Leadership is the act of setting a new direction or vision for a group while Management is controlling or directing people according to the already set principles. Innocent drinks as a company has embraced a Leadership culture in their approach to business as opposed to Management style. Various elements of Leadership skills are reflected throughout the organization which has seen it grow from a stall at a music festival in 1998 to a huge business with a turnover of Â£ 76 million. Innocent drinks has employed a technique of focusing on the people, they have given priority to satisfy customer needs and innovated a drink to satisfy that particular need. The introduction of a natural and healthy drink was unique and the use of customer feedback to gauge the market gave them an edge over their competitors.
Through the leadership approach they were able to develop a product as opposed to maintaining what the market already had. They identified a niche in the market, researched and developed a product to satisfy the identified target market which was the young professionals and the co-workers. The unhealthy eating habits triggered an idea of a healthy drink which was turned into a business venture and became a market leader in that segment ahead of others in the same industry.
As leaders the smoothie brand was an original invention of Innocent Drinks out of their own creativity, they were able to develop a drink which is 100% pure with fresh ingredients and no fruit concentrates as opposed to imitating what was already available in the market which could have been the case in a managerial approach in doing business.
According to Bennis, W. (1989), managers accept the status — quo while leaders challenge the status-quo. Innocent Drinks could have maintained the status-quo by running a manufacturing plant and produce their own drink as was the case in the industry but having embraced the leadership style, the status-quo was challenged. They allocated a lot of time to persuade partners to come on board and work with them, and much emphasis was given to managing the business and driving the brand into the market as opposed to engaging in the production and running the business at the same time, a decision that pushed them to what they have become today.
Customer views are very essential in any business and should be taken with great importance in order to remain long in business and to develop a brand for the future market. Most companies do not take customer opinions, thoughts and ideas importantly. At Innocent right from onset, they have embraced customer feedback as a tool to drive its product, brand values and strategic direction. They have engaged the services of the customers in brand naming through an easy and interactive channel of communication to take their advices in every activity of the company in order to stay abreast with the ever changing customer tastes and preferences. This long-term perspective is a characteristic of leadership style as compared to a manager whose goals are short-term and works towards achieving short-term goal with unclear vision into the future.
Managers have always relied on control to handle their duties whereas leaders inspire trust on people. At innocent the employees are empowered and they have embraced the culture of creativity, the employees feel involved in every aspect of the company’s decision making hence a sense of company-wide commitment to success. The company has monthly and weekly forums to debate on issues where all employees have a chance to participate in the decision making process by sharing their views, opinions and thoughts on issues that are of major concern to the company. The employees have various talents and different skills in different areas, they have employed smart people, this strength has been used to drive the brand to what it is by engaging all the employees to pool their skills together and make Innocent products successful.
Managers do things right while Leaders do the right things. By doing things right one is usually bound to follow certain rules and not deviate from the set rules and standards. Most managers do follow that trend because they are answerable to someone and procedures have been laid down. By doing right things one is not guided by certain standards but is equally important and beneficial to the company. Innocent Drinks has rolled out several brand extensions including free music festival and Innocent Foundation which is a grant giving charity that in partnership works with other community-based organization and NGOs where it sources its produce, this conveys the values of honesty and integrity the brand stood for at the beginning which is a clear indication of leadership (Bennis, W. 1989).
In conclusion as Richard Reed, Jon Wright and Adam Balon the founders of Innocent puts it, certain principles might have worked for them which does not necessarily mean they can work the same way when replicated into a different business. Management characteristics can still be beneficial and can be blended with leadership for the success of an organization.
Bennis, W. (1989), Leadership. Retrieved 12th April 2012 from http://www.managementupdate.info/management-leadership
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