In 2007, the leadership team of Kraft Food Inc.’s developing markets identified Tang as one of their top 10 focus brands, and came up with an unusual strategy for boosting the brand’s sales back into the stratosphere: Tang leaders in key countries such as Brazil were given a “blank check,” essentially urging them to dream big and not worry about resources. The results have been astounding. In the last five years, Tang has doubled sales outside the U.S. and become a profitable, US$1 billion brand.
The secret of Tang’s turnaround was to free the team from resource constraints that could limit their imagination, inspiring them to achieve unprecedented results that would create a virtuous cycle of growth. This, of course, ran counter to one of the gospel truths in management, that people need to live within their means. Managers have always been taught that they have to work with the limited resources available. Unfortunately, resource constraints limit more than plans. They also limit the creative potential of people.
What if resources were not a constraint? If managers were free to dream and act big without worrying about busting their budgets, they would be limited not by resources, but by their imagination. We believe that business leaders can unleash tremendous untapped potential by unshackling their people and their businesses from resource constraints (while still, of course, holding them accountable for results).
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