Create the Right Set of Organizational Values

Is your organization staying true to its values as it grows?


Former CEO of Burberry, and currently Apple's senior vice president of retail and online stores, Angela Ahrendts discusses how to ensure that your organization's values are embedded as you go through changes and growth.

"The faster and more innovative we become, it is so critical to never, ever forget our heritage, our values and where we came from."

Listen as Angela shares her experiences and challenges, along with solutions and best practices for leading your organization through change and growth.

Interviewer: What leadership choices, Angela, are you seeing and thinking and feeling that you need to be making next as Burberry turns that corner?

Angela: You know this is the biggest question, I think, for all of us. The world is moving so fast. You know, I always say at the company that I grew up in a physical world, speaking English, but my kids are growing up in a digital world and they speak social. I think it's the biggest challenge for companies, institutions, governments, parents. Life is moving, technology is forcing to move so fast. As it moves so fast, how do we make sure that the values are embedded though. I think it's this real balancing act. We always say at Burberry that the faster and more innovative we become, it is so critical to never, ever forget where we came from; to forget our heritage, to forget our values. I think it's the exactly the same thing. I think that is one of the greatest challenges we all have to face going forward.

There are a couple things we're doing. One is, we've said that if this next generation, if this is their language, if social is their language, then why don't we become social? Why should the next generation workforce come into our country and have to turn off and learn to speak our language? If that is where society is going maybe we need to become a social enterprise, and we need to speak that language. So we're actually in the process of turning ourselves into Facebook. It's exactly that platform, where anybody who comes to the Burberry brand can be a part of a bigger, wider community. Again, we made a big choice a couple years ago. We said that we don't want to be just a great brand. We want to become a really great company.

Interviewer: Oh yes. Beautiful.

Angela: We feel that is how you add, as big as we get, we feel it becomes our obligation to add social value then and to leverage everything we have to do that so we created the Burberry Foundation. If you go onto Burberry World then its one of the first things you see, and if you happen to purchase something on Burberry World you are reminded right before you checkout that 1% of that profits from that purchase went to Burberry Foundation and we play into Youth Space. We financially support mentoring, volunteering, etcetera to help this next generation workforce.

This is our choice, and it's our choice as a company. It's our choice as leaders, and we feel it's our obligation. We have a quote we use inside a lot. We had a book written on our culture last summer, and the final sentence at the end of the book says that our vision is that the true measure of our success will be how many lives around the world can be touched and transformed by the power of our performance.

Angela Ahrendts

Angela Ahrendts is the senior vice president for Apple Retail, a global leader in consumer electronics, who she joined after being the chief executive officer of Burberry, the global luxury company distinguished by its 155-year Britis...

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