Case Study Guidelines Motivation and Leadership Essay

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Toying with Success: The McFarlane Toy Company

Todd McFarlane, president and CEO of the McFarlane Companies, is an entrepreneur who understands the importance of product development. Comics, sports, toys, and rock-and-roll have all benefited from his creativity. When McFarlane’s dream to play major league baseball didn’t happen, he fell back on another interest he developed as a teenager—drawing superheroes. He faced the same question faced by all entrepreneurs: Could he make money pursuing his dream? He sent his sketches to prospective employers, and after 300 rejection letters McFarlane got a job freelancing for Marvel Comics. Working many hours for low pay, he made a name for himself and by 1990 was the highest-paid comic book artist
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Finally, the global influence on business impacts all the other environments. Knowing he can’t control the global environment, McFarlane focuses on managing what he can control.

Todd McFarlane’s purchase of Mark McGwire’s 70th home run ball for $3 million illustrates his willingness to take a risk and focus on what he controls. While many thought he was crazy, McFarlane saw an opportunity. He combined the ball with several others hit by McGwire and Sammy Sosa to create the McFarlane Collection, which was displayed in every major league stadium and garnered enormous publicity.
A portion of the proceeds was donated to the Lou Gehrig Foundation. Most significant, McFarlane began a relationship with professional sports that led to his obtaining the exclusive rights to nearly every professional sports team toy license.

Questions for Discussion
1. What personality traits do entrepreneurs like Todd McFarlane possess that distinguish them from other individuals? Individuals like Todd McFarlane possess traits like willingness to take a risk and focus on what he controls, entrepreneurship, and effective leadership skills. These skills long with his creative decisions from being a comic book creator, and many other things he has created, helped him gain the success he possesses because he had to will to take risks.

2. How have global competition and technology advances changed business conditions
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