Gene Tipps Is Ready for the Future
Gene Tipps has a motto: “be brilliant at the basics”. On the surface, it seems simple, but once you sit with it for a bit, it’s profound. It also exemplifies Tipps’ approach to navigating the future of Plexus Worldwide. The new CEO of the health and wellness leader took over the helm from Tarl Robinson and Alec Clark in October of 2022. His first project was to do an in-depth analysis of the company’s systems and processes.
“Most companies don’t do regular self-auditing,” says Tipps. “Long-term planning, day-to-day tasks, product development – these take up a significant chunk of people’s bandwidth. But much like your car, it’s important to go for service and tune-ups. Otherwise, you could be operating with issues that you’re unaware of.”
This type of insightful leadership supports the growing need for C-level executives to work in a fluid, cross-functional manner, so that their individual perspectives benefit the entire organization. Tipps is a perfect example of how this approach not only brings value but can revolutionize a company.
Coming from a direct sales, global operations, and technology background, Tipps brings a level of rigor to his role that many CEOs are lacking. He has spent years developing “adaptive compartmentalization”, or people grouped by synergistic skills and capabilities per project; the next project could be the same team, a modified version, or something completely different based on goals and requirements.
“We can get stuck into this notion that job descriptions are this immovable behemoth when we should be looking at how the individual’s talents can best support specific work and the organization as a whole,” says Tipps. “Once you liberate yourself from a rigid thought process, you can see employee value and create meaningful engagement.”
This focus on engagement is one of Tipps’ three E’s – engagement, efficiency, and excellence.
As a direct selling company, Tipps also directs his attention to another type of engagement – that with independent distributors, or Brand Ambassadors. It’s a delicate balance that Tipps navigates with ease – providing a superior experience for the ambassadors, actively listening to their feedback, and ensuring that they have the proper knowledge and tools to build their businesses.
“As the people on the ground, the Brand Ambassadors provide a unique perspective into market trends and customer demand,” highlights Tipps. “Combined with our data-driven insight and scientific expertise, we are a dynamic and robust team. It’s our responsibility and honor to position the Brand Ambassadors for unparalleled success.”
The second “E”, or efficiency is also a natural focus for Tipps.
“Processes and policies build up slowly over time, but they easily become entrenched,” notes Tipps. “But executives need to challenge themselves with determining how something can be streamlined, how it can engage employees more deeply, and how it can be improved to create a better product. We can’t be afraid to upend the status quo if all the data is pointing to a new way being an improvement.”
Tipps also encourages insight to come from all levels of the company. He regularly welcomes his employees’ ideas in meetings, on Microsoft Teams, and at the water cooler. And unlike many CEOs who are stuck on vertical hierarchy, he wants all people at Plexus to take ownership.
“Passion isn’t quantitative, but it is critical to brilliant work,” explains Tipps. “When an employee has an idea that is valuable, and they can bring it to fruition, that’s a powerful combination. Why wouldn’t they take the lead?”
And the end goal is Tipps’ final “E” – excellence. What differs about Tipps is that his definition of excellence is far-reaching and exceptionally broad. He isn’t satisfied with just having an excellent product offer. He is determined to make Plexus Worldwide the best at everything they do.
“Our products are phenomenal – backed by science, using the highest quality ingredients, and formulated for results. I would even be as bold to say they are the best on the market,” says Tipps. “But excellence can’t stop at product. Every action, every department, every touch point needs to be brilliant.”
Tipps’ vision is a company that gets the highest possible marks for everything it does – customer experience, product development, sustainability, corporate social responsibility, and employee engagement. And based on his start, it doesn’t feel like a stretch.
Quick Facts about Gene Tipps
- Joined Plexus Worldwide in 2018 as Chief Operating Officer
- Took over as President of Global Operations in 2021
- Over twenty years of experience in the direct selling industry
- Served as Chief Operating Officer at Yevo and Senior Vice President, Operations at Lifevantage