Spotlight On Growth: Leopard

Sherri Leopard, founder and CEO of Leopard, a B2B marketing communications agency, asked Jana Matthews to help her company get back on a healthy and sustainable growth curve. Jana suggested that Leopard develop a three year plan and build a disciplined planning process with goals, strategies, action plans, and accountability.

We first met with Sherri and her Executive Team to help them draft a mission, define the company’s values, and create a three-year vision for the company. These became the foundation for growth.

Every stage of growth changes a company. There’s no reason for a CEO to navigate those changes on his or her own.

Next, we facilitated a meeting in which the CEO presented the mission, values and vision to all Vice Presidents and Directors, followed by a group discussion of the vision and the goals, strategies, and tactics required to achieve it. By the end of the meeting, all but one person was in alignment — and that person left the company soon thereafter. The Leopard team began planning in earnest.

As Leopard began executing on the first year’s plan, the company began to grow. But after moving to new facilities, growth plateaued. As we began to prepare for the mid-year planning review, we diagnosed some problems that were inhibiting growth related to culture, people, and leadership. We presented the issues to Sherri, and then met with the Executive Team to discuss the problems and get agreement around the solutions. Changes were made, issues were resolved, and the company finished the year strong.

Over the next 12 months, we helped Leopard develop more detailed annual plans, track progress, address interdepartmental problems, personnel issues, and continue to grow. We worked with the leadership team to set goals, develop strategies, create, execute, and measure department-level plans. We met quarterly with them to review progress, identify problems early, and encouraged the team to hold each other accountable for the achievement of what they said they would do.

We also helped Sherri and her team understand how the role of the CEO changes as the company moves through successive levels of growth. She began handing over some of her day-to-day responsibilities to the leadership team and focused on achieving her three-year vision.

Sherri became convinced that changes in the market were going to have a negative impact on Leopard’s ability to achieve its three-year plan and that being acquired was the only way for Leopard to continue to do exciting projects with large, corporate clients. Several companies expressed interest in buying Leopard. When the acquisition by Ogilvy One North America was announced, the executives said they were impressed with the discipline, execution, and exceptional teamwork that had enabled Leopard to keep growing.

Our holistic approach to planning includes developing a strong foundation, creating a goal-oriented plan, measuring and tracking results, coaching the CEO, and holding people accountable. This approach strengthened Leopard’s position as a leading B2B marketing communications agency and enabled them to create a culture that continues to attract and retain talented people who are passionate about growing the company.

In Their Own Words

Jana’s insights have made a huge difference along our journey...The skills and discipline we gained working with Jana were invaluable.
Sherri Leopard, founder and CEO, Leopard, an Ogilvy company

The Jana Matthews Group is committed to unlocking the growth potential of each of our clients. Contact us to discuss how we can help you grow your company.