Headquartered outside of Boston, Staples functions more than 2,000 office superstores and also serves its customers by means mail order catalog, e-commerce and contract businesses. One of the people behind the success of Staples is its senior vice president of marketing, Jeanne Lewis. Jeanne started with the company as an intern and formally joined after graduation as marketing manager in-charged of sales forecast and marketing field.
She showed outstanding leadership skills which do not only boost the profitability of Staples, but she was also able to create an interactive working environment among the companys administrators, staffs and SBUs (small business unit. ) In 1994, being a marketing manager and Director of New England Operations, she started with the company which is underperforming she sensed it rooted on lack of leadership. Jeanne went to work, made tough decisions, and within a 12-month period, her new team set aggressive store standards, she launched training programs and rejuvenated programs and performance.
One of her co-workers said that working with her has been a tome for professional growth, and that Jeanne works really hard, and her personality motivated them. At first Jeanne tends to manage tightly, but later on loosens the reins. She challenges her people and encourages them to challenge each other. The following year, Jean was asked to move to merchandising, in a short span of time, she and her team tripled direct product profitability. She earned the respect of her colleagues because of her penetrating mind and strategic skills.
She taught them to think outside of the four walls and be strategic, she was the first merchant to look on financials beyond cross margins, she was able to influence people and get respect because possess great insight, and she combined it with well with excellent personality. In 1996, the possibility of the merger of Staples and Office Depot took place. She was asked to move to marketing in place of Krasnow. After consideration she was chosen to be in charge of the marketing. They were awed with her track record in taking charge and mastering varied job assignments.
She had shown great leadership talents, business expertise, and drive. Lewis pondered the pros and con of this new break. Moving to marketing would correspond to a very different type of challenge, and she would now be accountable for a budget of several hundred million dollars and a staff of 100 people. During this time, she was almost performing double work, but still she was able to maintain an open door policy and made an effort to be approachable. She was always said to have a smile on her face and manages to stay positive even on a bad day.
The merging did not pull through, and Staples was left struggling to focus on profitability and to rebuild their business. During this time, Jeanne saw the challenge of uniting Staples departments; she saw the gap and is driven to close it. She wants to have open communication so that everyone knows what is going on with the other and for everyone to become focus on one goal. To attain this, she organizes regular meetings and provokes real interaction during joint discussions; she spearheaded the building of relationships among the departments.
She acted upon to bridge the marketing and merchandising departments; she managed these departments and has them connected and influenced as a result they are all groups of people aligned and marching in the same direction. As time passed, she was able to make big impacts to people; she brought the diversified company into one unified team. As Jeanne Lewis began to explore her thoughts informally, on how to develop marketing integration, she embarked on sharing her thoughts in relation to the direction she felt the marketing strategy in her part of the department might open up.
They all jumped in the opportunity to voice their views on the early process. Jeanne has these following warnings, first is to assess the draft versus the drag from the larger company. There is a need to draft the expertise and the good things that are taking place in the core business, without allowing them to drag people down or hold them back. Secondly is to assess the support that people have from the larger company. They need 100% support from the very top, to be able to cut through the larger companys bureaucracy. Her style is to make things happen quickly.
When she see things, either a new problem that someone has never figured out before, she would come up and say, heres the way to do it and that makes the change happen. As a leader, Jeanne Lewis portrayed work ethical behaviors which enabled her to achieve her goals and at the same time maintain healthy and open working relationships with her people. She demonstrated respect for autonomy. She does not let her freedom of choice to be neglected as well as that of others. Jeanne is fair, she treats people equally, and she is objective and impartial.
She avoids harm and sees to it to take every possible way to avoid physical, emotional, psychological harm or threats to ones self-esteem. She is true in every word, she keeps her promises and maintains loyalty and most of all she is beneficial, she does everything to contribute to the general well-being of others; either it is taking time out of her personal schedule or by simply treating everyone with kindness.
Reference: Harvard Business School. (2000). Jeanne Lewis at Staples, Inc, (A)(Abridge). DuBrin A. (2003). Leadership: Research findings, practices, and skills (4th ed. ). Pp. 167-171, 219-220.