Chick-fil-A Leadercast 2012

On Friday, I joined 125,000 other leaders around the world in a one-day event designed to help leaders grow. Although I am clearly biased (it IS the CHICK-FIL-A Leadercast), I thought it was a really good day. The theme was around the choices we make as leaders.

We heard from Tim Tebow, Pat Lenchioni, Marcus Buckingham, Soledad O’Brien, John Maxwell, Andy Stanley, Urban Meyer and more. Although I could do a post on what I learned from each of these leaders, for now, I want to focus on what Angela Ahrendts said about her experience at Burberry.
Burberry is an organization that was founded in 1856 – that’s right, 1856! And you think your organization has a calcified culture – she came in as the CEO about 6 years ago just after the company’s 150th anniversary. She knew the company needed to change, so she immediately launched an amazing journey of transformation like I’ve never seen before. Not that the results were so astonishing, although they were amazing. It was her methods that amaze me more. She shared with us some of the most challenging leadership ideas I’ve heard in a long time.
Here are a few of the things she said…

Trust would transform the company.

They wanted to be led by intuition.

They would value feeling over knowing.

They wanted a democratic ethos.

They wanted to be a young-old company

After her intentions were clear, here are a few of the things she did...

She named a Chief Creative Officer.

One day a month, a team of the most creative YOUNG people meets to create the vision for their future – what would it take to be relevant in today’s world? What would Burberry need to become? Then, the senior leadership team meets to determine how to implement the vision! Think about what I just said. I’ve never heard anything like that before. The young set the vision, and the old execute it. Isn’t that backwards? Not if you want to create the culture that Burberry wanted.

In 9 months, they rebranded and re-launched the Burberry brand. By the way, they did this in 50 countries and 8 languages.

Angela and her team have embraced the reality that “Social” is the language of the next generation, and they are learning to speak it fluently! They’ve also created a site on which over 5 million people have posted photos wearing a Burberry Trench coat!
Angela’s parting words to the Leadercast audience: “Don’t get intimidated by the speed of the world. However, the faster we move, the more important it is to remember our values.”
The Burberry values are Protect, Explore and Inspire. Angela and her team are certainly living their values and have revitalized a global brand along the way - Well done![GLS_Shield]


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