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Organization Structures and Design

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Wisdom Learning From Others

> IT'S ALL ABOUT HOW YOU PUT THE PIECES TOGETHER

The next time you're in the mall check out what's happening in the Build-A-Bear store. You'll see lots of activity, excitement, and fun as kids and parents work together building memories.

The Build-A-Bear concept is simple but elegant: Pick out a bear or bunny or turtle shell that you like, add stuffing, and then outfit your pet with clothing, shoes, and accessories. Each pet is unique—soccer player, girl scout … you name it; it leaves the store personalized to the new owner's tastes and interests.

Every Build-A-Bear store is carefully organized. Guest Bear Builders move along the Bear Pathway from the Choose Me computer workstation on to Stuff Me and finally to Name Me as their personal creation takes shape. Sounds a lot like organizations, doesn't it? Until you get to the “making it personal” part. That's where organizations often struggle—how to bring together hundreds, thousands, even hundreds of thousands of people in arrangements that make sense and still allow for personal talents to shine through.

Build-A-Bear was started by Maxine Clark based on her retailing experience. She obviously had the talent, creativity, and drive to build a successful business. Her founding story is classic entrepreneurship. But Build-A-Bear's success is driven by classic management. ...

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