Rebuilding Results and Reviving a Winning Culture with a Boomerang CEO

Situation

Whenever a business faces a challenge, there are two ways the leadership team can react. They either come together or move apart. Strong leaders use this opportunity to rally their teams around a shared, credible, and inspiring vision of the future. They then build the capacity to execute it.

When Vicky Tsai returned as CEO at Tatcha to revive the cosmetic company’s slowing growth, she knew that a radical about-turn was needed. Vicky founded the company in 2008 and led the team in its first few years through exponential growth. She knew that bringing her team together around an updated strategy would restore Tatcha to its former glory. By aligning her team around a common cause, she could hope to revive the company’s culture and bring revenue numbers back to healthy levels. Vicky also knew that Trium was the right partner to help. 

Challenge

The company’s positive momentum had taken a hit in the last two years, and it was up to Vicky to revive its fortunes. The challenge was considerable. Tatcha had enjoyed 85% annual growth before being sold to global consumer goods giant Unilever, and its upward trajectory had begun to falter.

This stumble was the result of a strategy that was unresponsive to the changing way consumers were buying skincare while being unrepresentative of Tatcha’s brand essence. The way Tatcha was executing its channel strategy and brand positioning no longer delivered results.

It was time for Tatcha to regain its place as a leader in luxury skincare on the world stage.

Resolution

Trium embarked on a two-pronged approach to address the company’s challenges: the first was to assess the situation. We then worked across Tatcha on a plan and roadmap to develop a new shared vision that aligned with the values that had given the company its original luster. Underpinning this work were a series of leadership sessions focused on what was working and what wasn’t. Vicky outlined a vision of what was possible for Tatcha, and the team responded with concrete ways of realizing that ambition. Through a number of strategic conversations, the team aligned on a shared roadmap and new ways of working. These conversations also reinvigorated the collaborative culture that was once so strong at Tatcha.

The second was to provide in-depth coaching with Tatcha’s incoming CEO. These sessions were designed to assure she’d reach her strongest possible re-entry to the company. Coaching helped her evolve her approach from an early-stage founder to a leader of an established, global company. Thanks to these coaching sessions by Trium Partner Doug Randall, Vicky embarked on a journey of personal transformation. She began to lead without the burden of imposter syndrome often experienced by women of color in executive leadership roles. This empowered her to pivot a company headed towards organizational fatigue, and assure its long-term future. Vicky recognized the importance of assessing company challenges and making a plan, while working in-tandem with a coach:

“Trium's tools give you an efficient, fast, accurate picture of what is going on. The executive coaching focuses on how you’ll show up as a leader.”

Drawing on Trium’s experience diagnosing and addressing Tatcha's challenges, Vicky and her team were able to not only meet, but exceed the company’s performance pre-acquisition:

“By the end of the year, we were back on top [...] We tripled our growth rate, took the company to number one with our most important retailer and fixed our supply chain. Most importantly, our culture was stronger than ever, and our parent company had more confidence in us than ever.”

Her shift in mindset and renewed focus on workplace culture has also reinvigorated her colleagues’ optimism for Tatcha’s future. Vicky has recruited, integrated, and mentored a world-class leadership team positioned to guide Tatcha into the future with grace and beauty – just like its brand.

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