Reflections on the Wisdom of Teams


Reflections on the Wisdom of Teams

At the end of an historic week for our brand, I have been reflecting on the idea of what it means to be part of a great team – the magic that can happen when talented groups unite around shared passions, and how leaders can inspire their teams to achieve incredible things.

I am a great advocate of the writings of Gary Hamel, the influential American management thinker. He has some brilliant insights into how teams come together, and what makes them thrive. A favorite quote is: “In business as in life, the difference between ‘insipid’ and ‘inspired’ is passion. With mediocrity fast becoming a competitive liability, success depends on new ways to rouse the human spirit at work”. With increasingly complex global businesses, I believe this concept of a ‘connected, inspired, passionate team’ has never been more relevant.

This hit me these past weeks as we again prepared for one of our most significant brand moments. Our runway show, which took place on Monday, is where we celebrate and innovate, engaging and exciting customers, partners, press, associates and anyone who wants to know what’s next for Burberry.

Much has been written about how runway shows have evolved from closed moments for fashion industry insiders to global events, shared through livestreaming with communities in every corner of the world. But what struck me over the past few weeks is the human story behind this shift – how our teams unite like never before to create extraordinary moments, season after season, each one more ambitious and compelling than the last.

On the face of it, this might appear to be something very specific to our brand, or to the fashion industry more broadly. But I believe it shines a light on lessons that resonate more widely – because in essence it’s about how shared passion can unite and align all teams, in any organization.

Historically executed by a small team in design, our shows now involve every department within the organization, from design to creative media, legal to marketing, IT to customer service. Truly epitomizing our ‘creative thinking culture’, our teams come together to blend product and innovation, art and science, emotion and intellect, intuition and experience to push boundaries and make their collective dreams a reality.

These are moments built on the shared values and collective energy of 11,000 associates around the world.

What they continue to teach me is that our biggest brand successes are only possible as a result of our highly energized, collaborative global team. Only by uniting more closely than ever can we keep pace with as fast as society is moving, exploring the blurring of the physical and digital worlds to continually evolve how we connect consumers to our brand.

This week’s very special collaboration between Burberry and Apple is a great example of what teams built on a foundation of trust and respect can achieve when they have the confidence to dream. Born from a shared foundation in craftsmanship and design, a mutual passion for the creation of beautiful and authentic products, and a desire to keep innovating to deliver immersive experiences to our customers, it was a very special moment for our brand and one which we believe has profound implications for how brands will engage consumers in the future.

Brands have the power – and I would argue the obligation – to guide and create a higher sense of purpose. When an entire team’s collective spirit is focused on a single moment, the result can be nothing short of magical.

Thank you to the global team at Burberry for continually inspiring one another to achieve great things.


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