Among the experiences that Rob Barnhart credits with having prepared him for a CFO role was an executive training program in which he participated when he served as director of FP&A for defense contractor BAE Systems.
Known as LEAD, or Leadership Enhancement Accelerated Development, the program put a spotlight not on technical knowledge or management best practices but on each participant’s soft skills, Barnhart recalls.Read More
“There were literally clinical psychologists sitting in on meetings who would later reflect on your behavior and give you advice on how you could have been a more effective communicator,” says Barnhart, who also credits one of his own earlier talent development efforts with helping him to advance down the CFO path. At the time, Barnhart was heading FP&A at Fanatics, a company specializing in sports merchandising,
“The question became: How can I make sure that I don’t have to level up or bring new people in and put them over people as the challenges get more daunting?,” explains Barnhart, who notes that at the time, Fanatics was evolving from a single e-commerce site to a multichannel global business.
“There were people whom I brought in as analysts who today are directors and VPs in the business—this happened during my tenure, so I’m really happy about that,” remarks Barnhart. –Jack Sweeney
CFOTL: Tell us about SimpleTire. What does do, and what are its offerings today?
Barnhart: It’s an online e-commerce site, of course, for purchasing tires. The juxtaposition that we have is that we want to give you unrivaled access to a huge breadth, depth, selection, and extensive network of inventory and installers. We also want to make it radically easy for you to use the site, to select the right tires for your vehicle, and to have confidence in your purchase. We just recently did a pretty big site relaunch. It’s really a user-centric, kind of data-driven model to create a better customer experience, to curate the merchandise, and to chaperone you through the purchasing experience, so that by the time you are about to pick your installer and have the tires delivered there to be installed later, you feel pretty confident that you’ve made the right decision despite the pretty large paradoxes of choice and how infrequent and how large the purchase is.Read More
In addition to this confidence-inspiring customer experience, where you see reviews, you’re confident that you’ve searched enough different tires that are the right fit for your vehicle and that you’ve got the right price, such that you know you’re not going to walk away with a bad deal—there’s that side of it. There’s us asking you, “Hey, what do you drive? What year is it? These are the top five best tires, if you want to see those, or we can show you a lot more, if you want. What do you want?”
As we shepherd you through this experience, we can determine your preferences as a customer. We know that you’re either the show-it-to-me, I-want-to-know-my-top-five type or you’re the I-want-to-see-it-all, I-want-to-know-that-I-did-an-exhaustive-search type. You don’t really get this experience when you’re in a four-wall retail store. You’re pretty much beholden to whatever inventory or biases that that physical retail spot has with regard to certain brands, certain units. It’s that confidence in walking away knowing that you had the right assortment, that you got the right deal, that we want. And then, by the way, we’re going to be with you all the way through to your installation experience, following up with you and making sure that it went well and you’re now on your way in the way you wanted.
VALUE QUOTE: “We’re really focused on building out four strategic pillars of the business. Everybody is now aspiring to have the KPIs and the detailed actions of the teams aligned. I’m finally the closest I’ve ever been in my career to seeing this happen on a truly tactical basis.”
SimpleTire | www.simpletire.com | Philadelphia, PA