Brilliant Reads: how to transform – with inspiration from the FT & Burberry, speed reading and social audits

Transformation is about people – and it must be company-wide

How businesses approach transformation is transforming. Most companies now know that traditional organisations must change to succeed in the customer-driven world – but how to go about it is not so clear. This piece from Ron Miller outlines the shift from incubator driven transformation programs to those that consider the organisation as a whole from the offset. The logic of keeping innovation in small pockets is sound – the temptation to shut down new ideas is very real and they need to be protected. However, as Miller explains, it is fundamental that the people who may shout down new ideas and processes are brought on board – and given the appropriate training and understanding if any transformation program is going to be a success.

Digital transformation requires total organisational commitment
Tech Crunch 8 mins

Christina Scott – the CIO who led change at the FT

In this interview focused on her imminent move to News UK, parent company of The Times and The Sun, Christina reflects on her four years at The Financial Times. She attributes her success at the FT to a focus on customer needs and taking data out of silos. In her four years at the newspaper she is credited with transforming technology from a blocker to a lever for real and sustainable growth. Progress includes adoption of a successful paywall model, constant improvement of internal systems and taking data from the closed world of analysts into the everyday work of the whole company. Speaking at our Dots conference in 2015, Christina addressed the difficulties of making the shift from a broadcast company (focusing completely on the print edition) to becoming a customer first digital organisation. As in Ron Miller’s post above, Christina concludes that the key to a successful transformation program is always in the people who are working within the company – and with your customers – every day.

Why the business world should be looking to Burberry for inspiration again

When Angela Ahrendts joined Burberry in 2006 the company was without a clear vision for growth. By the time she left to join Apple in 2014 the iconic British fashion house was seen as an industry leader, not just in design but in business. By consolidating the company’s product lines, and pulling the customer experience up to the same high standard across all touchpoints – digital, in-store and in numerous countries Ahrendts had transformed Burberry.

Last week the brand announced a huge change to the way it operates – a change that is 100% focused around the consumer. Burberry has taken a step back from the accepted norm of the fashion calendar and abandoned the industry focused spring/summer autumn/winter shows – followed by a 5 month wait for products to be in stores. The brand will bring together both the mens and womenswear collections into two single shows a year entitled ‘February’ and ‘September’. The products will then be available in stores that same day. This fundamental change is a result of 6 years of experimentation by the brand in the digital space – Christopher Bailey credits the 2010 live streaming of the Burberry fashion shows as the first step on this journey. At Brilliant Noise we have seen that innovation in the teams closest to the customer – marketing and content, can lead to effective and long lasting transformation across organisations.

Burberry aligns runway and retail calendar in game-changing shift
Business of Fashion 12 mins

Tips for speeding through non-fiction

According to advice given to Peter Bregman by a college professor, getting through non-fiction books is about understanding rather than immersion. Unlike the otherworldly experience of a great fiction book, non fiction can be approached with this methodical – and fast – technique.
Start with the author – familiarise yourself with their biography and work.
Read the title, the subtitle, the front flap, and the table of contents.
Read the introduction and the conclusion.
Read/skim each chapter.
End with the table of contents again – relive the flow of the book.
Throughout the process take notes and critically consider what you are reading. Far from being a lazy technique this is actually a great way to engage with the work and develop a deeper understanding of the author’s argument.

How to read a book a week
HBR 5.5 mins

Boosting productivity by understanding your colleagues’ instinctual reactions

We’ve already told you about Caroline Webb’s fascinating book How To Have a Good Day. In this article for McKinsey Caroline takes us through three techniques used by leaders to ensure their colleagues have the best – and most productive days. It’s important to set a great example by taking time offline to focus on difficult tasks and having regular breaks (you might recognise the ‘Antony’ quoted here!). Ensure that each member of the team understands their role and value – especially when bringing in new members. Maintaining an attitude of discovery within your team is also a highly effective way to work. If the focus is always on negative aspects of a project people may retreat into a defensive mindset. Something as subtle as starting each meeting with a recap of recent success can maintain the positive, discovery mindset and ensure everyone has a more productive day.

How small shifts in leadership can transform your team dynamic
McKinsey 12 mins

The key to brilliant customer-focused content strategies

Social media audits are crucial to creating the content that your audience finds relevant, useful and entertaining. In this post, Brilliant Noise consultant Dave Standen takes you through the process of a social media audit, why you should do it and what it’ll mean for your business. Thinking about the content you have produced and its results is a valuable use of time before you invest more budget in production.

Unlock your content’s potential with a social media audit
Brilliant Noise 6 mins