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Lonely Planet

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Lonely Planet

Lonely planet is one of the largest publishers of travel guide books in the world. The company was originally founded by an adventurous newly married English couple, Tony and Maureen Wheeler who travelled to Asia and then Australia in 1970s and after years of struggle the company grew internationally with success. In this essay, it is tried to study the environment of this company with the emphasis on management concepts which were studied in “Competitive Advantage through People” course. More specifically, the purpose of this essay is to consider Lonely Planet and apply the concepts of trust, intrinsic motivators and stakeholders management to it.

It is very important for managers to develop a better understanding of building trust in their organization, since lack of trust between employees and managers can reduce the productivity. Not only that, trust between staff people within the company itself can also lead to increase in trust of brand. The products of Lonely Planet were in the way that attracted many travelers in the world that influenced them to trust the Lonely Planet brand. One of the main slogans of Lonely Planet is “Honest, trusted travel content that spans the globe”. This exhibits that the company stresses significantly on both honesty and trust which has inspired travelers to explore the world for over 30 years by now. In other words, brand loyalty of Lonely Planet due to trust by word of mouth is attracted and encouraged many people to be its customer.

Undoubtedly, trust in the company can creates an environment in which creativity and innovation flourish. This is due to increase in collaboration and engagement of colleges with one another. As a matter of fact Lonely Planet seems to attract creative people. For instance Steve Hibbard in Lonely Planets with the welcome and support of founders restructured the organization to avoid turning the competitive advantages into liabilities due to globalization. He came to realize that “the people at Lonely Planet were more in tune with their customers than any of the customer focused organizations he had studied during the MBA.” He found that the culture of Lonely Planet is trustable. Also “the relaxed atmosphere at Lonely Planet” had even surprised the visitors which shows the professionalism of the company's staff. Also it is important to note that employees are generally younger people and editors who often work to the sound of their favorite music with the trust of their managers.

Intrinsic motivators are those motivators which come from inside of people in organization in contrary to extrinsic motivators such as rewarding with money and grade. Having a clear vision of what the companies want to achieve is one type of intrinsic motivators. Indeed one powerful tool to motivate people is to give them purpose. Daniel pink for example believed that one great factor of motivation for better performance is giving transcendent purpose than rewarding employees with money. He believe that we are not only profit maximizer but importantly we are purpose maximizer.

In the case of Lonely Planet, Maureen gives this advice to anyone starting their own business by saying “Find something that you love to do” or “ If you're doing it for the money, and you're doing all the right things laid down by accountancy principles, you might do well, but you wouldn't have any fun.” This is clear example that founders of Lonely Planet were looking for stimulating their employees with intrinsic motivators. Profit was important for Lonely Planet people but mainly “because it was the means to grow and do more for travelers”. This is what they believed. Maureen said in one incident that “I don't know if I'd like to travel without a reason, and I really, really like the books we do. I always did, right from the very first book.” Internal pleasure she gets is one reason that she was successful in her business. This internal pleasure is what people call “intrinsic motivation”.

Stakeholders management is the third concept of explanation in this essay. In the simple language, it is managing and getting help form internal staff and external people in one organization. Each stakeholder whether internal or external have some expectations which the company needs to manage. In the case of Lonely Planet the stakeholders are the managers, writers, publishers, customers, clients, travelers, etc. As the article mentioned, the employee in Lonely planet were almost all travelers. This means they can develop a better understanding of the expectations of the clients. Also “communicate and build relationships with your clients, customers and prospects” is one motto of Lonely Planet. This is one way that Lonely Planet effectively manage its clients as one type of stakeholder. As the article stated Lonely Planet engages the customer at every opportunity. This can be either with letter correspondence, by putting contributors names in books or by getting into the media at every opportunity.

According to the words of Tony Wheeler, they engage in the industry through “debates, travel summits, bookstore talks, radio appearances, etc. and engage the trade with long-term loyalty, mutually supportive arrangements, sales conferences, and square dealings.” This is another example of stakeholders management in the company. It is clearly evident that effective communication helps Lonely Planet to know the expectations of the stakeholders and to manage them effectively. Another interesting aspect of Lonely Planet is its relaxed environment. For example dress code is extremely relaxed in Lonely Planet. This friendly environment can help employees to understand each other better.

Three concepts of trust, intrinsic motivators and stakeholders management in Lonely Planet company were studied in this essay. It stated that trust can create productivity and innovation within the company. Intrinsic motivators have proven that sometimes is more successful than extrinsic motivators. Lastly some ways to manage stakeholders such as effective communication of Lonely Planets were discussed in this essay.…...

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