Wild Planet

By H. Grousbeck, Joshua Spitzer
2005 | Case No. E193
“Wild Planet,” E-193, presents the entrepreneurial history of Danny Grossman and the toy company he founded, Wild Planet. The company abides by a prominent mission statement: “Wild Planet makes innovative products that appeal to both parents and kids. Our products spark the imagination, promote creativity, and provide positive experiences without relying on violence. We strive to treat both boys and girls with respect and incorporate their input in everything we do.” Beyond the company’s mission and values, Wild Planet has consciously nurtured a collaborative, innovative, and fun culture. A carefully wrought decision-making methodology collects input from many employees while ensuring that decisions are made effectively and quickly. The case study then presents a test of the company’s culture with the fictionalized hiring of an SVP of marketing, a position that Wild Planet has had difficulty filling with appropriate candidates. The character, Nichole Carpenter, has impeccable credentials and performs her marking functions exceedingly well, but she has difficulty integrating her interpersonal style with the social and cultural norms of Wild Planet. This friction is evoked through three different incidents in which Carpenter accomplishes impressive results but does so in ways that might damage the company’s culture. Students, playing the role of the CEO, have two different opportunities to render feedback to Carpenter. They must address issues of coaching and feedback, organizational integrity, and conscious maintenance of a strong culture.
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