People & Strategy Summer 2017 Vol. 40 Issue 3 - 59
el of the organization. It is difficult for
a company to remain entrepreneurial if
it is over-processed.
P+S: How do Stella & Dot's independent
business owners impact the culture of
the company? Are they separate?
Jessica: They are absolutely part of
our culture. These individuals are
entrepreneurs who set their own hours
and pace, and don't have any quotas
or territories. The thing I am proudest of is that Stella & Dot is not just
about selling a great product. It's also
a community that lifts people up with
a strong aura of positivity and support.
I believe that our business owners not
only get incremental income, but that
they get skill set development and gain
personal growth within our organization. We actively lead by example at a
central command level, but also provide a tremendous amount of coaching
and leadership development within our
field. Everything that we do at central
command, we do to ensure we have delivered value and utility to our customers and business owners. One of the
ways we do this is by being a mobile,
social-driven technology company.
P+S: Technology is a huge part of your
company. How do you leverage technology given that you have a distributed
workforce, a rather lean central function,
and are selling to a distributed
Jessica: Stella & Dot is a technology
company. While people always come
first, we are a technology company
that has developed a proprietary social
selling platform. Stella & Dot is a fullfledged innovator across our mobile
apps and ecommerce system because
we have a unique way of selling. We
built that platform, and it is very
critical to our strategy. We are always
creating unique solutions for our users.
In addition, we utilize existing technology platforms, such as Facebook and
Zoom. Through these mediums and
others, we are able to remain closely
connected to our field and maintain a
relationship. It is integral to our business model that we have that level of
intimacy and connection.
P+S: Elaborate more on the way
technology helps Stella & Dot's business
model retain close relationships with
such a distributed workforce.
Jessica: Our business owners choose
to work with us because they want to
work when they want and earn what
they need. Oftentimes, our business
owners also have full-time jobs and
busy family lives. Sometimes, they are
working with us for the challenge and
passion, but most of the time it is because they are working for incremental
money for an incremental need. Our
business owners are working on their
phones, on their lunch breaks, or while
they are multitasking. As a technologist, I love that about our challenge
because it is not enough to make working for Stella & Dot simple. It really
needs to be delightful, because you are
getting these individuals on their own
time, when they are often tired from
the demands of their already-busy life.
P+S: Does Stella & Dot use artificial
intelligence, machine learning, or data
analytics? If so, what role do they play
in the business model?
Jessica: We do a lot with data analytics. We have a powerful model in which
we collect data from all of our customer transactions throughout the world,
which we then are able to use to notify
and prompt our individual business
owners around what products would
be the best fit for their customers. We
also use it to help solve some of their
most common questions later.
P+S: When you think about the business model you created, the culture
that you have and want to protect, and
your book's message of helping others
find their extraordinary, how do all
three strands tie together?
Jessica: The beautiful thing about
being in a mission-driven business is
that while there will be good days and
bad days, the mission makes climbing
the hill worthwhile. In writing my book,
Find Your Extraordinary, I was attempting
to express my belief that an ordinary
person can create an extraordinary life
for themselves. I think there are core
traits of entrepreneurship that you can
use to create more than a business, but a
life. I have six Ps of the entrepreneurial
spirit that I believe help an individual
create the life and business they want.
By far, the most important P is people.
People are everything. My success is not
a byproduct of what I have been able
to do, but rather it is a result of helping
others become successful along the way.
I think this is true if you are founding a
business, just graduating from college,
or advancing inside of a large company.
It is not enough to make
working for Stella &
Dot simple. It really
needs to be delightful.
P+S: What sort of advice would you
give to legacy organizations that need
to transition from their legacy playbook
to a more digitally nimble approach?
Jessica: While I believe that legacy is
important, what is more important is
constant change and evolution. You
either change or you die. Change
isn't innovation, but life in business.
I would say to a legacy organization,
focus on where you are going and what
you are becoming, not on what you
P+S: In an organization like Stella &
Dot, what is it that you as CEO and
founder need from HR?
Jessica: Your people partner is a critical partner for the CEO, as is the CFO.
This trio of people is going to create
and shape the organization. At Stella &
Dot, our general managers and my creative partner play a big role in that as
well. Ultimately, you need great leadership development. These development
initiatives should not be owned by one
person, but by a group of people strategists who are constantly helping all our
leaders cultivate the growth in people
that enables our culture. This is an
incredibly critical role. The quest is to
get the right team, get better every day,
and never settle with where you are on
VOLUME 40 | ISSUE 3 | SUMMER 2017