I don’t know how many of you are Honest Tea fans, but I had some for the first time when I was down in Texas; and it tasted really good. They jumped out into the market with their branding of using organic ingredients and some funky combinations of flavors. This kind of explains their higher prices.
Now I will confess that I have never really cared that much if something that I ate was organic or not (I know, I know), just as long as it was good. But in Honest Tea’s mission and CSR statements, we notice that it is more than just making tea. Some of their goals are noble. But the questions are: What happens when the company grows? Can they still be true to the vision and mission?
About a year ago, the Coca-Cola company bought about 40% stake in the Honest Tea’s company. There were concerns by some people that a big company like Coca-Cola might ruin its image or quality. Since then, sales have increased and celebrities like Oprah and the President have requested more of the tea.
As I was thinking about this, I realized that some of the issues are very similar to when churches begin to grow. In the infancy stages of a church it is so easy to stay true to the vision and mission. The biblical community has the feel of a family and everyone has a say in everything (“mom and pop shop” kind of feel). But as the church begins to grow there are factors that can challenge the mission and vision. With growth comes the need for great organization and certain structures to be put in place.
But is growth and “staying true to your roots” (a.k.a. values) mutually exclusive?
Can an organization or a church stay true to their roots even though there is growth? I believe it can, but it requires constant communication of the vision and mission, constant check-ups for assessment, and constant discipleship for reinforcement of values.
There have been times when organizations and churches are hijacked by a handful of people; therefore it is imperative that the leadership of that group remain diligent and make sure that the core DNA of the group is not compromised.
You can read up on the Honest Tea article here.