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Suggested answers of the tutorial questions Case 10.1: Seagate Goes “Eco” • Team building costs $9,000 a head. Plenty of companies try to motivate the troops, but few go as far as Seagate Technology. For a company generating $10 billion a year in revenue, allocating $40 million to training and development of its employees may seem reasonable, but allocating almost 5 percent ($1.8 million) of that budget to one event for 200 employees out of a worldwide total of 55,000 might raise some questions. Are these senior executives on a privileged retreat? Or the CEO's favorite hunting trip? In this case, neither is true. Imagine 200 type-A engineers, PhDs, and MBAs all voluntarily competing in an event that's a cross between Survivor and The Amazing Race, and you start to get a sense of what “Eco Seagate,” a weeklong team-building event in South Island, New Zealand, is all about. The event is the vision of CEO Bill Watkins, who held the first Eco week in 2000. In 2009, over two thousand people applied for the event—some for the first time, and others had been trying to make the event since the beginning. Its purpose? To build “a collaborative, team- oriented company.” He also thinks it teaches his people about priorities. Watkins kicks off the event the same way every year: “Everyone here's going to die … at some point.” They know they're here to build teams, but for Watkins there's as much to be learned about self-actualization as there is about collaboration. He continues: “Are you doing what you want to do in your life? Or are you just blowing through? I'm challenging your life right now. What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail? Would you take a trip around the world? Run a company? If you're not doing what you want, that's where I want you to go. This week is about doing what you want to do for every week of the rest of your life.” Volunteering for grueling mountain treks, bike rides, kayak races, and a Tyrolean zip line across a 200-foot-deep gorge may not be your idea of a typical employee motivation program. There are no employees of the month or designated parking spaces, and there are more power bars than gift certificates given out during Eco week. However, the impact of the event is uniquely personal. Some may be inspired to change their lives in a dramatic way. Others may leave great memories on South Island. A few may be prompted to leave altogether: Charlie Sander joined Seagate at the same time as Watkins. He was 49 when he ran his fourth and final Eco. “This particular Eco was about aspiring to goals,” Sander remembers. “I had a dream to run my own company. By the end of the week, on the plane back, I decided this is the time.” In January 2009, after five years of a flat stock price, Watkins announced his resignation.
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