Team building was not the most effective way to launch an Organizational Development effort, in the case of Ben and Jerry’s. There are two critical issues that must be dealt with before any kind of team building should be attempted. The first issue would be creating more of a consensus between the founders and the Board about the vision of the ideal organization and the goals of the OD effort. The second issue is the interpersonal conflict between Ben and Chico.
The consultant may have used Ben and Jerry’s idiosyncratic personalities to his advantage in order to gloss over the lack of agreement on the company vision between the founders and the board. The board members were asked to write down their differing visions on paper and the consultant performed a ritual of burning these to represent transformation and coming together of management and the Board. This is only a metaphor, and did not have the intended effect on either the Board or Ben and Jerry. Both Ben and Jerry still felt a separation in values between themselves and management after the team building retreat. This was demonstrated by the managers wearing “we are weird” buttons after the team building. Rather than the ritual burning of the ideas, the consultant would have better served the clients with an intergroup conflict resolution process. The division over the vision of Ben and Jerry’s had become dysfunctional and was creating conflict which polarized the two groups. The groups being the free-wheeling, hippy minded founders and the more business minded managers. This problem was affecting the productivity and effectiveness of the organization at large and must be dealt with and resolved before any interventions are carried out and lower levels of the organization. Management must buy-in to the OD effort, and if they feel that the founders are flawed in their business strategy, it will be impossible for management to carry out their wishes for the way they want their business to...
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