Bobbi Jo

Lions & Lambs (Part  12)

Bobbi Jo and her husband own a midsize company with about 70 employees in a niche business.  Bobbi Jo is the effervescent and outgoing one and her husband is not the most approachable person, at least until you get to know him.  They have built their company from an idea and now have established a premium position with about a 15% market share in a good but limited national market.

Effervescent might be a reserved characterization for Bobbi Jo.  Warm, engaging and exuding positive energy she is also a person that is quite difficult to say “no” to and she knows it.  When you first meet Bobbi Jo, you would not necessarily perceive the depth behind the woman.  With her short blond hair cut in a style that accents her petite features well and suggests “cute” in spite of the conservative, well-tailored clothes she prefers.  She is a natural beauty using little more than lipstick and mascara as enhancements.  

Bobbi Jo has an optimism that can be applied to nearly every situation or challenge and impossible is not a part of her vocabulary.  Within groups, she takes on several roles; cheerleader, promoter and ombudsman.  She is highly task oriented and keeps the groups focused on the objective at hand.  She’s a quiet leader to the degree that most people do not know they are being led until they are fully engaged in Bobbi Jo’s current mission.  She also likes juggling many of these groups simultaneously, bringing balance and interaction as needed. 

Her husband may be at the top of the organization chart but she is involved in every aspect of the business right from concept, marketing and human resources to hiring and strategic planning.  Bobbi Jo’s work in the company is important and for most would be all consuming, especially since there are children under 18 at home.  Yet, somehow she finds the time to lend her talents and energy to community organizations.

One community organization desperately needed help growing the number of people who used their products and services.  Over the years there had been growth and decline that came in waves, usually related to leadership, economic climate or environmental climate that had a huge impact since a lot of the use was weather dependent.  Bobbi Jo saw the problem and decided to turn it around.  

She created a committee so that she could build a team to help her.  She invited people who were workers who could and would contribute time, energy, ideas and resources.  Each person was engaged in a part of the project, making a commitment to Bobbi Jo to execute their part as needed.  This was probably one of the defining differences in her success and really showed her strengths.  Everyone before her tackled the project by themselves or simply asked others to do what they could.  She brought organization, her “can do” approach and a razor sharp focus on the objective with reporting and high accountability.

The committee has taken on a life of its own, growing each time a need arises and talent is found to work on a requirement.  Some are formally a part of the committee and others are resources tapped as needed.  In the history of the organization, there has never been so many people working on this core project together and by plan.  The most interesting part is that there are very few dollars expended.  A part of those on the committee who are employees are focused on expanding usage within the areas that they are responsible for within their jobs.  They are learning, stretching and focused.   Most of the committee is made up of volunteers who are, in most cases, also customers and people who use the products and services of this community resource.  Each contributes their time, talent and effort and with her gentility, Bobbi Jo holds them accountable.  These volunteers are influential leaders in the community and many are also owners or a part of leadership in their own companies.

It is interesting to see an initiative that started out at a meeting with one person standing up and saying, “I will take on that challenge” to seeing a virtual business being built, organized and run like the kind of machine companies should be.  Bobbi Jo may seem like a lamb when you first meet her but it does not take long before you realize that she is a lion in her attack, using every type of hunting skill to meet the goals she has set.  She may be sweet and southern in her approach, but don’t be fooled, you will find she is a force.


ddough said...

Like this one. Reminds me of someone we both know. Just not petite & blond.

ddough said...

Like this one. Reminds me of someone we both know. Just not petite & blond.