Ludmilla and Igor, the founders of Iggy’s Bread of the World, had a fairly defined objective of the type of communication network they aspired to create in their growing company. As the case study outlines, the mission statement clearly emphasized that the owners wanted to cultivate a very communicative and caring environment. The following excerpt from that mission statement illustrates many wonderful characteristics designed to achieve that goal; “Our priority is to learn to work well together, and to create an environment that fosters communication and personal growth. Honesty, mutual respect, sharing and caring for the people and the planet are the values on which our business is based.” Both of the founders had a passion for their business and wanted to recreate this enthusiasm in their workforce. They believed in demonstrating positive energy and partnering with the staff by instilling confidence as the precursor to a trusting relationship. Ludmilla was genuinely interested in assisting her employees and used many methods to advance each one of them both professional and personally. Ludmilla also understood the prior histories of her employees and showed extraordinary empathy for the staff’s personal journeys. She had her own version of an employee assistance program to try to prevent any negativity to seep into the company or their product. The Ivonovic’s also made sure that there was sufficient interaction between the co-workers and shift-workers both on and off the clock and that cross-training was not only encouraged, it was Ludmilla’s “ultimate goal” as noted on page 6 of the case study. She also educated the workers pertaining to the entire process of the business so that they could understand the importance of their efforts and feel proud of their accomplishments. The case study does not mention if the interaction between the staff and the owners changed after Ludmilla left to raise her children but I have to believe her absence in conjunction with the addition of new employees had to have had some negative effect on the staff. Immediately after the new management team was hired the communications at the company changed drastically and quickly became much worse than before the team was assembled. The new executive group was attempting to organize the communication of the corporation in vertical silos with each department oblivious to the actions of the other. Matthew McRae, the recently-hired COO, is quoted in the case study as stating that he understood that the Ivanovics’ had “respect for their employees” but he did not demonstrate this as a part of his management style. The Ivanovic’s fear of losing the uniqueness and value system they tried so hard to establish was becoming a reality due to McRae’s team management approach. Whereas Ludmilla or the other managers made themselves available to the employees, even for personal problems, the staff felt secluded from the new management personnel. The existing workers did not agree with making so many changes so quickly and also questioned if the new group appreciated the distinctiveness of Iggy’s. We learned in Slide 7 of “Communication” that taking the time to “reflect” on yourself to analyze if your style of communication is increasing or decreasing your influence can be very powerful and is a necessity for effective communication. I am assuming since McRae was very successful in his leasing business and he is instructing his new team to use a direct approach at Iggy’s that he is comfortable with this technique. Without regard to the style that the Ivanovic’s used, McRae’s team was endeavoring to introduce this method at Iggy’s and this approach is being resisted not only by the hourly workers but by the existing management and owners. The employees of the firm, particularly the seasoned workers were accustomed to being able to make their own decisions and having a more independent work environment. The workers were also...
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