Smart Culture Building Blocks

September 20, 2015

Smart Culture Building Blocks

Was reading an article in Fortune by Jennifer Reingold about Angela Ahrendts, the senior vice president of online and retail stores at Apple.  For those unfamiliar, she was the CEO of Burberry before going to Apple. There are several terrific quotes about building a great culture and initiatives to make a difference by communicating well internally. They of course apply to all leaders. They’re all compelling.

 “If you’re going to employ people anyway, why not make them the differentiator? They’re not a commodity.”

“The more technologically advanced our society becomes, the more we need to go back to the basic fundamentals of human communication.”

“I didn’t dare say anything prior to six months. My dad used to tell me, growing up [citing Abraham Lincoln], ‘It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and relieve them of all doubt.’ So I kept remembering that and chose not to overcommunicate.”

Arendts also employed several smart leadership communications techniques. I am always on the lookout for new ways of communicating internally. In her first 100 days, she started a weekly video where she described the game plan to Apple store employees and reinforced their importance to the strategy and brand. The videos are brief and focus on three key messages, about all anyone can typically absorb anyhow. She also started Share Your Ideas, an internal app where people could post their ideas for improving things or complain. Apparently Arendts reads every comment and has a response to the individual within 48 hours. Interestingly, my first thought was how could she improve on the Apple stores but she is wisely improving on the Apple experience for the employee and customer first. She got it right.



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Leslie Gaines-Ross
Leslie Gaines-Ross

As Weber Shandwick’s Chief Reputation Strategist, I focus on the ever changing world of reputation. For the past 25 years, I have relentlessly observed, researched and commented on the rise and fall of corporate and CEO reputations.

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