Angela Ahrendts

Chief Executive Officer, Burberry


Comments from John Maxwell Interviewing Angela

  • She has been there 6 years and executed a very successful transformation of this company with more than 9000 associates globally.

How did this transformation happen?

  • I asked the question, How can we create the most modern brand?
  • We determined that trust is how we are going to transform company, we had to rediscover our core, reestablish our Britishness
  • We came from the trench coat, this was our heritage.
We made tough choices at the outset, those choices are the company we have become!
  • Our objective was to establish the most connected compassionate culture and then operate intuitively.
  • It is one thing to make a choice, but another to implement (John Maxwell)

How did you put these choices into practice?

  • As a leader it begins with people, put right people in right place at right time, it is all about the people
  • The transformation was built on trusting relationships, these relationships permeate the company’s culture
  • We flipped the leadership roles, tapped into the younger generation as the innovative generators and the older generation will guide and support them, but the younger generation will drive the innovation and the vision for the path forward.

What kind of culture did you want to build?

  • It is a great responsibility to build a great culture, you not only touch the people who work for you but also the people they go home to each night.
  •  Our job is to make the brand relevant so it stays around for the next 100 years, what is best for the brand, removes ego and self from the equation.
  • Burberry World-the website, this is how we were going to change 150 years of history and culture, 100s of people collaborated around the world to make this happen.

This process was greatest uniter for the team.

  • We kept asking: How do we keep creating this content, keep people motivated, keep it moving forward?
  • Get motive and content through a leader who goes around finding young new unknown bands to partner with them to keep them fresh and growing and this provides motivation and content that keeps them moving forward,keeps us on cutting edge of what is going on today.

Intuition is greatest output of trust in your culture, if you have trust intuition just flows through the organization!

  • You can’t prove something will work that has never been done, our people are not afraid to try stuff, you have to have culture where it is OK to fail in order to make progress and grow beyond where you are currently. We want our people to use their instincts. We value people using their feelings.

We value feeling over knowing!

  • World is moving so fast, our biggest challenge is to make sure our values are imbedded in the culture, never forget where we came from , we must remember our heritage and our values!
We don’t want to be just a great brand, we want to be a really great company!
This is our choice, our choice as leaders!

Our vision is that the true measure of our success is how many lives around the world can be touched by power of our performance!

  • The lessons I have learned  are: don’t get intimidated by how fast the world is changing, we are doing this the old fashion way with trust, no matter how fast things are changing stick to your core and build trust into the organization. We then trust our instincts!
Burberry’s Core Values
  1. Protect
  2. Explore
  3. Inspire

“Leadership is all about empowering and trusting your people. When you empower and entrust your people great things happen!” John Maxwell


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