Helping NYX Thrive in the COVID-19 Disruption with Agile Ways of Working

About the Client

NYX is an innovative beauty brand, known for its high quality, economically priced professional beauty products that appeal to a young and diverse consumer base.

The Situation

Founded in 1999, NYX experienced skyrocket success with its product positioning and pioneering influencer marketing strategy. Because of its early success and future promise, L’Oreal, the world’s largest cosmetics company, acquired NYX in 2014.

In the years following the acquisition, NYX scaled its products to reach an even larger consumer base. 

However, with that scale came greater complexity in its operations. Delivering the right beauty products to the right customers, with the same high quality, and with the right campaigns at the right retail centers, had become a challenging balancing act. 

How could NYX improve its operational efficiencies in order to grow its market share and achieve its aspirational plans to become the preferred makeup beauty brand for Gen Z consumers?

NYX approached us with this challenge.

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Selected Us

NYX General Manager, Stephanie Binette, wanted to work with a partner who could translate agile concepts from the software world to help her operations, sales, and marketing teams to reduce roadblocks, improve cross-functional effectiveness, and feel a greater sense of empowerment and ownership when it came to problem-solving and decision-making.

Binette also wanted to work with someone who could provide personalized, ongoing support for her leaders and teams so that these new ways of working become part of how business is done within the organization. For this reason, NYX selected our organization. 

The Approach

In consultation with Binette, as well as Grace Ryu, VP of Human Resources, and Matt Todd, AVP of Human Resources , we co-designed and implemented 3 phases of an agile transformation over the course of 6 months. 

The engagement involved all 18 teams within the organization, including teams from sales, marketing, supply chain, finance, and HR. 

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The Results

Phase 1: Introduce an Agility Mindset and Behaviors 

Phase 1 Goal: Introduce the Agility Mindset and Behaviors Across the Organization

Phase 1 Approach: Team Agility Workshop 

Phase 1 Results: During the workshop, each of the 18 teams: 

  • Created a visualization at least 2 important workflows
  • Developed a prototype of an “agility board” to visualize the different stages and status of their most important work. 

Following the workshop, we sent out a feedback form to gather immediate reactions to the learning experience. Their reactions are as follow:

  • 92% agreed that they found the workshop “relevant to their work” 
  • 96% agreed that they found the content of the workshop “important to our success”
  • 96% agreed that they believe that they are “able to apply what they learned to their work” 

Phase 2: Integrate Agile Ways of Working in Everyday Operations

Phase 2 Goal: Equip teams to implement their new work systems to improve focus and increase the flow of value to their team’s stakeholders

Phase 2 Approach: Team Agility Coaching for Managers and Teams for 4 Months 

Phase 2 Results: After four months of agile team coaching, we found that: 

  • 90% of teams use a Visual Management Board to easily understand the stage and status of their work. 
  • 77% of teams lead Daily/Weekly Huddles to improve daily focus and prioritization.
  • 72% of teams run Monthly Retrospectives to debrief on past work and identify learnings for future work. 
  • 56% of teams track Productivity Metrics to quantitatively assess team efficiency.

Phase 3: Business Agility as an Organizational Strategy 

Phase 3 Goal: Develop a strategic portfolio at the ManCom level to balance strategic initiatives with everyday operational management

Phase 3 Approach: 2-Day Strategic Planning Offsite with the Executive Team and Follow-Up Sessions to Refine and Implement the Plan

Phase 3 Results: During this time, the ManCom:

  • Identified 3-year Breakthrough Objectives, with baseline and target metrics, that aligned to P&L goals
  • Conceptualized and prioritized strategic initiatives for the subsequent two quarters that align to the objectives
  • Developed a strategic portfolio that visualized the stage and status of initiatives for ongoing consultation in ManCom meetings 

Applying Agile Ways of Working to Move Through COVID Disruption

The global COVID-19 pandemic unfolded in March 2020. Would the newly adopted agile ways of working help the organization withstand the pressure of a major economic disruption? Here’s what we learned:

Matt Todd, AVP of HR, said,  

NYX has shifted. The brand is reaping the rewards of what was put in place. We’ve pivoted quickly and executed well during this time. If we had not gone through this agility journey, it would have been much harder for us.” 

Stephanie Cimon, AVP of National Accounts, said: 

This work has been tremendously helpful. During COVID, I realized we couldn’t do everything. What we learned helped me prioritize my energy on the things that matter most. I could not be more thankful.”

Lastly, Binette said, 

“For us, our agility engagement was the right thing to do and I am glad that we started when we did. There are a lot of people who are using these tools to help us through the current stage of disruption. I am proud of our progress overall. We have built a solid foundation to grow from.

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