Transforming a Culture toward Innovation, Commitment, and Accountability

ETA/Cuisenaire was a respected supplier of manipulatives to text book publishers and P-12 educators. But text book sales were declining and publishers were increasingly filing Chapter 11. Sales and profits had been declining at a compounded annual double-digit rate for five years, and workforce moral was suffering.

 

Strategic Action:

 

  • Led key stakeholders in the development of a 3-Year turnaround plan leveraging the company’s core strengths, focusing on teachers and school administrators. Also worked company-wide to define a compelling purpose and core values for the company.
     

  • Re-branded the company ETA hand2mind - hands-on learning for growing minds, to telegraphically communicate its purpose and its unique positioning in the market.
     

  • Immediately addressed poor customer service ratings by re-engineering the order fulfillment process, significantly reducing time to fulfill and improving customer service ratings.
     

  • Elevated marketing and sales support of core brands, and ramped up innovation after years of new product lethargy.
     

  • Initiated a partnership with Purdue University and Texas A&M to develop and launch a new-to-the-world hands-on learning STEM program, designed to introduce pre-school through 5th grade students to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. This new innovation received accolades from early childhood development experts for its ability to inspire educators and develop critical thinking skills in students. It was immediately adopted by leading early childhood educators such as Bright Horizons.
     

  • Innovated the teaching of fractions with a new, award winning iPad app as part of a unique, wrap-around teaching solution.
     

  • Reduced operating expenses 16% in twelve months, and improved supply chain throughput by 58%.
     

  • Renovated the culture and improved morale by rewarding performance and results, prioritizing talent development, attracting new talent, pruning poor performers, instilling cross-functional teaming, and significantly improving communication. This was achieved while executing two 10% reductions in workforce

 

Result:

  • Following continued declines during year 1 of the plan, achieved a 29% increase in sales and returned the company to profitability.
     

  • Achieved increased workforce alignment and commitment as measured by quarterly surveys.

“Jude takes a hands-on approach to recognize and develop talent at all levels. During our partnership for the last three years, I gained valuable experience on how to be a stronger leader through Jude's mentoring, and I recommend Jude to any organization looking for a leader who can drive change and innovation at all levels.”

- Bill Chiasson, President at ETA hand2mind

 

"There are only a few people that I have ever worked with who have a great strategic business talent and Jude is one of them. He can quickly evaluate business intelligence and articulate a plan and a vision that will accelerate success. Jude is as comfortable leading change in sales organizations, product development and marketing as he is in the boardroom. Jude is a leader with integrity, able to inspire teams and get results. I highly recommend him."

- Dan M. O'Brien, Chief Executive at Tech Image

 

“Jude is an inspirational leader who is actively involved in his team's success and growth. He transformed the organization into a highly engaged and innovative workforce. His strength lies in his ability to forge personal relationships and articulate a unified vision for all…His willingness to try new approaches to problems, innovate and his open door policy and full support of cultural initiatives created a feeling of appreciation from the corner office to the warehouse.”

- Julie Jacobs, Human Resources and Talent Acquisition Executive.
Organizational Development Consultant & Executive Coach

 

 “Jude is a visionary leader - grounded in the needs of the client yet with an eye on latent needs and untapped human/technical capital. He is masterful at locating and finding talent and redirecting and reimagining focus areas. Our work together was meaningful, productive, and well received.”

- Ervin Knezek, Chief Education Officer at lead4ward