When James White assumed the helm at Jamba Juice Inc. on Dec. 1, 2008, nothing was certain except the need to recover from a sales slump that would require a significant change in direction during 2009. Most leaders in his position would have focused exclusively on implementing a financial turnaround, tightening the purse strings and flattening the organization, but White knew better.
He knew too much focus on traditional cost-cutting strategies risked overlooking the company’s formula for success the aspects of the company that had won it fans and sales in the past. He required a strategy that balanced its need for streamlined operations with a plan that leveraged its core strengths and preserved its distinctive company personality.
Learning from success
Jamba Juice had a history as a high-engagement company, involving employees at all levels in carrying out the company’s mission and strategies. For certain, the company’s previously high rate of customer satisfaction and brand loyalty had been a direct result of the commitment of the front-line work force. But some of this engagement had been lost with the recent period of uncertainty and financial crisis. This cultural shift had a direct, negative impact on the performance of the individual stores. White knew a highly involved work force had once been a core competitive strength of the company, and it would be the key element in a successful turnaround strategy.
White assigned, Steve Adkins, senior vice president, to recapture this strength.
“We needed to demonstrate engagement, energizing others to go beyond our past,” Adkins says. “In order to execute the changes being made to our operational structure and marketing strategies, we needed to equip the employees, namely the store and shift managers, with the leadership behaviors to lead their stores through the changes.”
Because White did not have the luxury of time, he hired a group of change agents. He selected Bright Side Inc., a Cleveland-based behavioral strategy consultancy, a team with a legacy of guiding leaders and organizations to become masters of change.