Why the TAP Project may be a new model for a midlife career change

You had a prestigious 30 year career in the beauty industry as a Senior Vice-President for brands like Ralph Lauren, Giorgio Armani Beauty, Valentino, and many more.

How did you know that you were ready to ROAR into a new chapter of your life?

Growth requires change. I was fortunate to work on memorable brands with iconic people.  When you can look back with humility, learnings, and gratitude, for the organizations, brands, leaders, and teams you have served, you enable the opportunity to grow. From my perspective, the timing of when best to make a change aligns with an honest reflection of your influence as a leader, as well as your clarity on what you will do, won’t do, can do, and can’t do. If you’ve been true in your thought process, the next steps of realization and reimagining become very apparent. You can recast a vision, build upon the insights of your past, and ROAR forward.

You developed a very timely new business model called the TAP PROJECT. I would say that it is an idea that is right for the time. Tell us a bit about the PROJECT and how did you come up with this idea?

The initial inspiration for Tap Project has its roots in superhero stories. The coming together of a team of accomplished individuals, each with their own “superpower” dedicated to making a positive impact with a focus on the principles of talent, analytics, and performance. The idea of Tap Project evolved based upon numerous discussions with talented, successful professionals who were experiencing change and were inspired through their expertise to make a meaningful difference after successful careers. During the pandemic, companies began to consolidate their organizations, including eliminating or downsizing roles of experienced team members. We felt the timing enabled the opportunity to positively impact entrepreneurs, emerging brands, and leading market share companies.

As we all live and work longer, the workplace is going to go through massive change. One of the areas that is being discussed is how seasoned C-Suite executives will no longer work in full time jobs, but rather in a type of high level “Executive Gig Work”. Is the TAP PROJECT set up to take advantage of this with clients? What’s your view on this phenomenon?

The pandemic has clearly impacted the way people work, as there is an appreciation for the freedom and flexibility that the Gig Economy provides. I read a statistic that by the end of 2023, the Gig Economy will reach $455B, from $208B in 2018, and that by 2027 about half the U.S. population will have engaged in gig work (source: statista.com). My view is that a 25-year career with the same company in the traditional sense will dissipate, as both companies and the workforce will continue to explore the value of less commitment, and the benefits of flexibility and independence. One tradeoff I see in all of this is the compromise of continuity and mentorship within organizations.

I believe the TAP PROJECT is timely to the gig economy, with scalability in service coming without the financial obligations that come with C-Suite commitments. We offer a range of talent and experience, including certified coaches, adaptable to smaller companies who are challenged for resources, or larger companies who are operating with gaps in talent and mentorship.

Through the evolution of the workforce, we will remain focused on accelerating performance. Our destiny rests with our capacity to remain relevant, provide mentorship to teams, and add value to clients. We believe the elevation of leadership, brand strategy, and execution are essential to accelerating performance towards reaching your vision.

The TAP PROJECT has assembled an incredible group of executives in a broad group of business disciplines. How did you all come together as a team?

We came together based upon a unifying passion for performance, conviction that we have expertise to offer, and could add value to companies, brands, and teams. It started with the appreciation we have for each other. At different points, most of us worked alongside one another. While we are diverse in competencies – Sales, Creative Marketing, General Management, Human Resources and Education – it is our collective values that supports our convergence. Values like passion for products, people, commitment to intelligence, integrity, initiative, teamwork, and providing innovative performance solutions. Despite the accomplishments of the team, there are no egos in the group. That, in and of itself, is a distinctive superpower.

Your focus is on what you call “Pillars of Service” in Organization, Brand Strategy and Key Account Management. Give a few examples of how your team works in these areas.

From our experience, beyond exceptional products, high performing teams have the ability to leverage leadership, strategy, and execution towards the customer experience.  Our client journey starts by understanding their current state, financial targets, and vision for both their brands and organization. It is then that we identify and align upon the areas of growth, as well as opportunities related to their leadership, strategy, and execution.

We have provided guidance to clients on the organization of their teams, the operational workflows related to forecasting and promotional planning, and insights into their distribution strategy, from clicks to bricks.

Commitment to the customer experience, service, and the values associated are really being tested these days. Have you been on the phone and heard “due to unusually high call volume, the wait time is……”?

Our conviction is that customers still value an interpersonal connection, one that goes beyond the logistics of delivering packages on time. We believe technology should enhance functionality and service, not simply replace it.  An executable and well defined strategy for customer experience still matters, and needs to remain a priority for brands and organizations.

We have worked with clients on the importance of defining the principles of M.A.P.P.P. (Merchandising, Activity, People, Presence, and Performance) for their brands, execution, and customer experience. We believe these principles are foundational for relevance and growth.

What is the big vision for the TAP PROJECT in 3-5 years?

I love the quote in your book by Edward J. Stieglitz, “The important thing to you is not how many years in your life, but how much life in your years!”

As a startup group, it is necessary to be quite focused on the present, connecting with people to understand the opportunity to serve their needs. Our goal is to differentiate ourselves through exceptional service and measurable implementation. For us, the milestones are not rooted in years, but in results, evolving into a full-service agency supporting the acceleration of performance, adding value to our clients, their brands, and teams through the passion, expertise and commitment of our team.

Edward R. Fox, Founder-The TAP Project, efox@thetapprojectinc.com 

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