When I attended Chick-fil-A Leadercast on May 4, I noticed many of the elements the event planner, Michael Williams talked about when I interviewed him for the last issue of Collaborate. But once I stopped analyzing the logistics of the event, I was able to focus on content and realized how applicable the leadership principles discussed on stage by the speakers are to all of us, no matter what stage of our career we are in.
The company hasn’t abandoned its iconic trench coat, but it has embraced a new, multimedia world. “I grew up in a physical world and I spoke English,” she told the audience. “My kids are growing up in a digital world and they speak social.”
Ahrendts flipped the company’s decision-making by developing two governing councils—one made up of the youngest employees in the company and the other of the executives. The catch? The younger council comes up with all the ideas and the executives execute it.
The result is Burberry World, a website that streams runway shows and store openings (like this one in Taipei, Taiwan, that shows how you can truly make a live event a multimedia experience), has a complete social network, launches up-and-coming British bands, lets you customize your own trench and more.
More than becoming a more forward-thinking company, the role reversals at Burberry created a culture of trust. “We’ve built a company where 9,000 people trust each other and use their instincts,” Ahrendts said. “The culture is so connected, it’s what makes a great company and enables us to innovate.”
As social media editor, I love Ahrendts’ approach because of its grassroots philosophy, but more because of the result: a community of sharing, trust and creativity. For me, outside ideas and inspiration come from our community. But rethinking your decision-making doesn’t automatically mean use more social media. Maybe a fresh perspective for you means thinking about a room set-up from an attendee’s perspective or asking a colleague in a different department for education ideas.
What are you doing to make sure you, your decisions and your events don’t become stale?