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Jared Belfer MGI 602 Cirque Du Soleil What is Cirque's product and business strategy?

Comment specifically on how the product and strategy provide a competitive advantage Cirque du Soleil was formed in 1984 by a group of street performers in the city of Quebec City, Canada. The company today is best known for putting on innovative, creative, high end, nontraditional circus shows all over the world. Cirque started as a very small group of 73 people, touring only one show at a time. It didnt take long for the company to boom into an organization that had over 2,100 employees, including 500 artists by the year 2001. The company was originally owned by two men Lalibert and Daniel Gautier, in which Lalibert was responsible for the creative production of the company, while Gautier took on the business side of the company. In 1998 Lalibert bought out Gautier stake in the company, and helped Cirque truly form a product and business strategy that has provided the company with a great competitive advantage. Although people within the company claim that they are not a product company, were an artistic works company, the product that the company provides is a circus show that is unique and different. The shows that Cirque has created combine street performers, clowns, acrobats, and gymnasts which when set to music, create theater and dance dramas. Outside of the creative strategy which has been inherently built into many aspects of the organizations, one of the strategies the company had for their shows was that that it could transcend cultural boundaries, whether it be the music of the shows, staffing, content, and even customers. Putting these creative and globalization strategies together, the company wanted to provide an experience for their customers that no matter who may be in the audience, everyone would walk away with an experience like no other because of the imagination and passion that the performers were displaying on stage. The business strategy, like the product strategy, has helped Cirque set themselves apart from all other circuses. Some of the key aspects which have helped create the business strategy for the company included that creativity takes place over everything, a genuine concern for all employees, and not attempting to be a traditional circus. Because Cirque created a culture that allowed their artists to put their dreams into reality on stage, had employees and executives

who had strong company loyalty, and a product that had never been seen before, Cirque was able to create a new demand for their product which has gone uncontested by any real competition. With this unique product drawing in crowds all over the world, the shows have turned into a luxury good, but the company has always tried to make going to their shows affordable. Because of these components of Cirques business strategy, they have been able to set themselves apart and have helped the company be successful. How does Cirque's Workforce Management support its business model? Include your view of their approach to motivation by referencing the article Employee Motivation: A Powerful New Model. Cirques workforce management supports the companys business model in a few ways largely because of the culture that the company has created for itself, and the impact it has had on many aspects of the company. The most important thing in which the workforce management of the company does in order to support their business model is making sure that they bring in talent that can be successful for both for the company and for the employee themself. Outside of bringing in the right type of employees, the workforce management is able to support their business model by finding ways to support their employees in order to satisfy the underlying motivational drivers. In the article Employee Motivation: A Powerful New Model, four motivational drivers are discussed which are believed to boost employee motivation. These four drivers include the drive to acquire, the drive to bond, the drive to comprehend, and the drive to defend. The article then explains the different levers which can be used by an organization that will help meet these motivational drivers. The first motivational driver which is discussed is employees drive to acquire. This driver is based on the notion that all people are driven to acquire some type of scarce good, which will bolster an individuals sense of well-being. The lever which can help support the drive to acquire is reward systems. Some recommended steps that could be used to successfully reward employees is to differentiate good performers from average and poor performers, clearly tie rewards to performance, and to pay employees at a competitive level. Cirque had some difficulty finding ways to truly reward there employees, but found their own ways to do so. The case stated that the salary being paid to employees was on the low end, compared to competitors in other forms of staged entertainment. But in turn Cirque found alternate ways to reward employees because of the creative attitude of the organization. These alternative methods of

rewarding employees include holding company parties, providing training opportunities, and giving employees the ability to let their creative side out whenever possible. The next motivational driver which employees seek is the drive to bond. The drive to bond within an organization allows employees to feel proud of being a part of the company, which in turn helps motivate employees. The lever which organizations can pull in order to promote bonding is culture. Organizations should create a culture that fosters mutual reliance and friendship with coworkers, support and promote teamwork, and encourage sharing of best practices. The culture within Cirque at almost all levels, from the artists who spent months on the road, to the employees working at headquarters, all felt a sense of pride and camaraderie in being a part of the company. There is a sense of family, friendship, and most employees hold a personal relationship with workers of Cirque as well as the organization itself. Teamwork and collaboration are seen throughout the organization as well, and helps foster this culture which has truly set the company apart. The third motivational driver is the drive to comprehend. This driver is based on the fact that people want to have a sense of the world around them in order to make events comprehensible and suggest reasonable actions and responses. Employees want to be challenged, and given the chance to grow and learn. The drive to comprehend can be achieved by pulling the lever of job design. Organizations should try and design jobs that have distinct and important roles in their organizations, and design jobs that are meaningful and give employees the sense of contribution. Because the artists were being given the ability to express their creative abilities on stage, while at the same time providing audiences with an experience they would never forget, they were given a sense of having an important role in the company. The employees were challenging themselves day in and day out, and when they felt that they were not being challenged or there creative drive wasnt being met they were giving opportunities to change what they were doing. The final motivational driver is the drive to defend. This driver is based on the fact the people naturally defend themselves, their property, their accomplishments, their family and friends, and their ideas and beliefs. This drive leads to feelings of security and confidence within a companys employees. The drive to defend can be reached by pulling the lever of performance management and resource allocation processes. Organizations should attempt to increase the transparency of all processes, emphasize their fairness, and build trust by being just and

transparent in granting rewards, assignments, and other forms of recognition. Cirque attempts to treat all employees at each level of the organization as equally as possible, providing equal opportunities and chances to create, grow, and excel in the organization. 3) What are the challenges that Cirque will need to address if it is to remain successful? As successful and profitable as Cirque has been over the years, facing old and new challenges are something all companies must deal with as they move forward and try to maintain their success. One of the biggest challenges which Cirque will face is the ability to find new and unique talent that can fit in with the organizational culture that is in place. Because Cirque designs their shows based on creativity, and the ability to have their artists challenge themselves, it can be hard to find talent that are motivated by those very characteristics. On top of that, cultural aspects play a major role in finding new talent. Because Cirque finds talent across the globe, individuals cultural upbringing can make or break a new artists success in the company. Cirque must find ways to be able to integrate and make new talent feel comfortable in this new and different lifestyle. Other challenges which Cirque may face going forward include diversification, not losing the soul of Cirque, new competition, and increasing ticket prices. Diversification can be a challenge in that as the company continues to mature, they must find new ways to set the company apart and allow the company to grow. Related to the company maturing, is that the challenge of keeping the soul of Cirque alive must be considered, as more business people are being integrated into this thriving business. Competition is another challenge which must be dealt with, as others try to duplicate Cirques success, competition will always be a challenge going forward. High ticket prices is another challenge that must be addressed because, increasing prices will prevent new audience members from enjoying their shows, and will give the company the reputation of only being there for well off individuals. 4) How does the WFM/HR value chain apply to Cirque? The workforce management value chain consists of four types of outcomes, stemming from 4 different aspects of an organization. The first part of the workforce management value chain is employee outcomes, which come in the form of attitudes and behaviors. These employee outcomes lead to organization outcomes which consist of productivity and quality of the product the organization is offering. If an organization can be productive and produce quality products, then strong financial outcomes will occur, which include costs, revenues, and

profits. The final outcome of the workforce management value chain is the market based outcomes which include the stock prices, and profit to equity ratio of an organization. This workforce management value chain can be applied to almost any organization, including Cirque du Soleil. The attitudes and behaviors of Cirques employees has been one of the strong points for the company because of the freedom to express yourself attitude that the organization promotes. Most employees work with a sense of pride and with a positive attitude which helps benefit the productivity and quality of shows that the organization provides for the customers. The quality and productivity of Cirques shows have been one of the other strong points for the company, in that the shows have had long successful runs, throughout different regions of the world, and have left audiences speechless. These organizational outcomes have in turn provided the company with strong financial outcomes, which can be seen in how large the company has grown and through the profits they have been able to generate. With strong financial outcomes, most organizations can see the benefits of those outcomes in their market based outcomes. Although Cirque has remained a private company, ongoing debates on whether or not the company should go public or not has been brought up because of the financial successes the company has had.