Leadership

Lunchtime Links: Is This the End of the Twinkie?

What sort of takeaways do you see from the dramatic fall of Hostess Brands? Also: Why CEOs tend to be optimists.

Now seems like a good time to get to the store to buy some Twinkies.

When an iconic company fails, many questions arise: were there failures of leadership? How did outside forces (in this case, an employee union) affect the outcome? Could someone with a different approach have done better? And was the brand itself really serving its customer base or employees correctly?

We deeply regret the necessity of today’s decision, but we do not have the financial resources to weather an extended nationwide strike.

That and more in today’s Lunchtime Links:

Hostess Brands chooses liquidation: One of the most iconic baking brands in the world—the company behind Twinkies, Wonder Bread, Ho Hos, and numerous other famous products—announced today that it would be shutting down as a result of a fight with the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union, which did not agree to many of the cuts the company was looking to make. “We deeply regret the necessity of today’s decision, but we do not have the financial resources to weather an extended nationwide strike,” Hostess CEO Gregory F. Rayburn said in a statement. Meanwhile, the union blamed failed management in a press release.  The company will sell its brands and assets to other companies. Did it have to be this way? What can be taken from this situation?

A job for optimists? Could optimism lead you to the CEO’s chair? That’s what a new study from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business suggests. The study says 80 percent of CEOs are “very optimistic,” while CFOs are a little less optimistic, at 65 percent. “The executives are a vastly different breed than the average person,” according to professor Campbell Harvey, who spoke to Forbes about the study. In practice, do you find this true?

Speaking of leadership traits … According to Laura Otten, Ph.D., writing on LaSalle University’s Nonprofit University Blog, there are many traits that go into being a good leader, including strength with interpersonal dynamics—which, by the way, is not the same as being a people person, according to Otten: “Those savvy about interpersonal dynamics are keen listeners and observers of others; they understand that success is always the result of the interplay of multiple people working together, formally or informally; they know composition of groups matters; and they know how to facilitate, from afar and in-your-face, and achieve the best dynamic. This is way beyond being a people person.”

Did tech do Romney in? While politics always has a little bit of chance and probability to it, sometimes a technology breakdown can hurt your organization, too. That’s what BusyEvent’s Brian Slawin (who emphasizes that he’s not trying to make a political rant) writes about the Romney campaign’s Project ORCA, which failed to do its job on election day: “As it turns out, that dependence on technology and the overly tight security around the app completely prevented volunteers from talking to ACTUAL people about their duties for election day and scuttled their best laid plans,” he writes. He takes the lesson a little broader, saying we shouldn’t get so focused on gadgets and tools that we forget about the people involved.

Ever feel like the tech gets in the way at your events? How do you make sure the focus remains on the people involved? Let us know in the comments.

(Christian Cable/Flickr)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

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