Corporate

How John Frank is Managing Big Changes

July 30, 2019

From Head of Americas Professional Services to Vice President for the Americas Consulting Team, John Frank has been leading Adobe through a major transformation since 2015. To get a better look at how John’s been spearheading the charge, we started from the beginning. Here’s how John kicked off his Adobe Life.

After eight years at Hitachi, John was ready for a change. He liked doing big things like disrupting markets or building a business within a business. So when Adobe reached out with a big proposition, he jumped.

At the time, Adobe’s services business was growing rapidly as it acquired new products and the professional services that came with them. As a result, the company’s services business was more like several independent businesses, which isn’t ideal for a customer looking to maximize their investment in Adobe as a partner. John was brought in as Head of Americas Professional Services to spearhead a massive transformation to integrate those businesses and start delivering unified services across the company—in other words, making sure Adobe could be a true partner, not a vendor.

“Many customers had multiple Adobe solutions and they wanted to understand how to bring those solutions together to drive their desired outcomes,” John says. “Success, for us, used to be ‘go live.’ But for customers, that’s only the beginning—and we needed to be there with them for the whole journey, starting at go live.”

As any manager knows, process is only part of the battle in managing a massive change; the biggest part is the human part. John’s first step was to help everyone understand why such a big transformation was necessary. Fortunately, his team was receptive.

“In Adobe’s culture, people are extremely passionate about the brand, so when you explain how this transformation is going to solidify the brand, they get it,” John says. “It’s a company that’s always receptive to transformation because people understand that change is an extension of the brand itself.”

John also brought some key wisdom from his previous work and applied it at Adobe. “Just because I had a vision in my mind, that didn’t mean it a was a straight line,” he says. “I had to leave space for my leaders to influence the outcome, and I had to communicate clearly to them so they could communicate clearly to their teams. I also had to exhibit empathy for the challenges we were all going through, because it’s never easy.”

John also relied on a marketing campaign to brand the project and recruit the right people. After four years, the transformation is still in progress—but the progress is significant. When he started, he led a team of 250. Today, he’s the Vice President of the Americas Consulting team, and the size of the professional services business has grown by more than a factor of five.

For John, the experience has presented a unique opportunity for personal growth and learning.

“I’ve gotten good practice at bringing all of the stakeholders together for a common cause and accepting that things might get worse before they get better,” John says. “But if you’ve created the right strategy, you know you can stay the course and it will land you on the right outcome.”

Interested in joining the Adobe team? Check out available career opportunities at Adobe or read more stories about Adobe careers.