Juiced: How Bright Side Inc. catalyzed the accelerated turnaround of Jamba Juice

James D. White, president and CEO, Jamba Inc. 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.

Increasing awareness, identifying the gap

Bright Side started with Adkins and the operations leadership team. Together, they defined the company’s current state, envisioned a future state and identified the gaps that kept them from achieving their aspirational targets. Then, leaders were asked to boldly look for the personal behaviors that kept them from achieving the desired future state. It was here that many on the leadership team became aware of their uninspiring leadership style and realized the need to re-establish their level of engagement with the work force. How can the store employees be expected to live the vibrancy of the Jamba brand if their leaders lacked energy?

Although unfamiliar and somewhat uncomfortable, Adkins and his team fully embraced this new behavioral imperative. They let their enthusiasm for the possibilities cascade through the business. Adkins wrapped every message to his store managers with intentional and genuine passion.

“The energy I was displaying was contagious,” Adkins says.

Simplifying the message 

They let this new vitality permeate not only the informal communications within the company but also the ”Excellence Program: Recipe for Inclusion,” the in-store operating manual. If the company leaders wanted their managers and store employees to behave differently, then they required a new behavioral model for communicating the message.

Using bold images and the vibrant essence of the brand, the operations team communicated tactical aspects of the turnaround strategy, which included new product launches, refined marketing messages and a reduction in store expenses. Visually, the company communicated its new action-oriented philosophy.

Enabling accountability through ownership 

To build sales, Adkins asked his store managers to move from being order-takers to active participants in the customer’s experience. Instead of telling the managers precisely how to carry out this initiative, however, Adkins demonstrated the leadership behaviors that gave others the creative freedom to execute on this new strategy.

Store managers responded to Adkins’s request with energy and enthusiasm. Managers initiated suggestive selling. They began educating customers on new menu items and recommending complementary products. More significantly, they modeled these behaviors for their store employees. Employees were encouraged to develop their own approach to engaging the customer and coached on opportunities they may have missed, such as preparing a loyal customer’s order before they reached the front door.

By communicating his confidence in the store managers, Adkins provided a clear objective, thus unlocking the leadership potential in each of them. The managers responded by owning the strategies they developed and taking personal accountability for the results.

Mastering the world of accelerated change

Bright Side helped Jamba Juice leverage its core strength — a highly engaged work force. Together, they built a companywide culture that was invested in the development and successful execution of the new company strategies. Together, Bright Side and Jamba inspired the employees to reconnect with the essence of a brand born out of the pure pursuit of happiness. By introducing new habits and behaviors, Jamba became a culture of possibilities and growth.

Since Bright Side’s involvement with the company, Jamba Juice has experienced a true turnaround, enjoying positive results across the business:

  • Store ratings have increased by double-digit percentages in service, quality and overall customer experience
  • Brand awareness has increased significantly
  • Product launch times have been cut by 50 percent

The Bright Side difference 

“The big difference between Bright Side and other consultants is that they helped us build leadership behaviors, skills-based training and action learning as core competencies,” Adkins says. “We integrate that into everything we do now. That is Bright Side’s legacy at Jamba.”

While most change management resources address human behaviors on some level, none can isolate and translate leadership behaviors into so many far-reaching, business-relevant consequences. Bright Side specializes in building the entire behavioral system:

  • Introducing leadership behaviors
  • Linking these behaviors to business outcomes
  • Coaching behavior application to build habit strength
  • Providing execution support to ensure rapid business outcomes

“The Bright Side method brought us greater alignment,” White explains. “It brought the company a common language that allowed each individual to move more rapidly in the execution of their responsibilities.”

How to reach Bright Side Inc., (440) 543-1800 or http://www.bright-side.com/

How to reach Jamba Inc., (510) 596-0100 or http://www.jamba.com/ 

® Copyright 2010 Bright Side, Inc. All Rights Reserved 

Read more about White and Jamba Inc.