Canvas for the Blueprint
Growing up in a working-class family in metro New York pushes one to be ‘wise beyond their years.’ It means pursuing responsibility early on, taking risks, and knowing whom to trust. Simpactful co-founder and Senior Partner, Bryan Stuke’s, love of taking on challenges, and strong interpersonal and leadership skills were always the motivating purposes in his life.
Recruited by Cornell University to play lacrosse, Bryan achieved academic success and honed his leadership skills. During his senior year, he received a phone call to interview with Procter & Gamble. Being the captain of the lacrosse team was an important factor to P&G back in those days.
The recruiter saw something in this soon-to-be graduate — someone with grit and tenacity who was not afraid of risk. In fact, when Bryan didn’t hear back after the interview, he called them. The hiring sales manager said, ‘I really like somebody who would take the initiative to make that call. That’s the kind of confidence and determination that makes for a good sales leader!’ And he was right.
Over the next 35 years, Bryan held numerous posts and positions of increasing responsibility, from the merger of Richardson Vicks to an ‘overseas’ assignment in Canada, where he learned what it meant to win over an organization. Ultimately, it prepared him to become the United States National Sales Manager for P&G’s Color Cosmetics business. This led him to a Global role as the Vice President of their Global Personal Beauty Care business. Bryan’s last assignment was as the General Manager of the Drug Channel, a coveted CPG role. During his last assignment, he also served as the Chairman of the NACDS Retail Advisory Board.
Blueprint for Change
As he reflects on his corporate career, Bryan sums it up in two words: Relationships Matter. His Personal Beliefs on how to lead and manage a business have transformed organizations and changed business trajectories.
His top 10 include:
- Do right by the people and the people will do right by the business.
- Open and honest communication is a product of trust. Trust is hard to obtain, easy to lose.
- Investing in individuals on a personal level speeds up business decisions.
- Individuals who are accountable and act as owners make a huge difference.
- Being responsive to your people’s needs allow them to be responsible for getting the job done.
- Leaders coach and teach others to be leaders.
- Going out of your way to find somebody doing something right produces far better results
- The true test comes from how we respond to our failures and mistakes, not making them.
- Being positive builds productivity and delivers results. Being negative does not.
- If you want balance in life, focus on the single biggest personal and professional priorities only.
Executing the Blueprint:
These beliefs not only codified the plans at P&G but transferred to his most recent partnership role at Simpactful, a consulting firm. He summed it up in a word: Practitioners. There are very few hurdles any client can present to Simpactful that our Consultants and Partners have not already encountered.
He recounts a story about speaking with a Simpactful colleague at a client’s national sales meeting. Bryan was from the Manufacturing side of the business, and his colleague was from the Retailer side of the business. The topic was joint business planning and because they came from ‘both sides of the desk’ they were able to give a 360-degree perspective on the topic and help solve some nagging issues the client was facing.
Future Prints and Plans:
As the pandemic moves to an endemic phase, there are many prognostications about the future. For Bryan, there’s a constant that will never change: It all starts with the consumer. They shop when, where and how they want. The goal for winning manufacturers or brands is to BE EVERYWHERE THE CONSUMER IS.
And if there’s one thing Bryan knows, the next generation will be as strong or stronger. They’re smart and very capable of learning. The emergence of the omnichannel and fast, data-driven decision-making requires high caliber, commercial athletes who are quickly able to adapt. COVID threw an additional curveball, which not only strengthened their resilience, but also drove compassion and will allow them to catch up. Training and development will be a focus, but more processes will be needed to provide guardrails and better onboarding. In short, when we teach them how to win, they will create their own Blueprint for the Future, enabling success for generations to come.