New Look is finding its 'emotional edge'

Alistair McGeorge: "if it ain't broke - let's break it!"

It's often said of business leaders that they get the advice they deserve. Many look for confirmation of their gut feelings and guess what, that's exactly what they get. Others talk of the imperative for independent consultative advice and proceed to edit the executive summary. And then, as we say in the trade, there's a very special breed of leader who suffers from love bites, always self-inflicted....they're impossible to work with and impossible to inform, since they'd already thought of everything themselves.

But having spent a lifetime working with any number of business leaders I've been completely blown away by the boss of my most recent consultative project. Alistair McGeorge - Executive Chairman of New Look - one of Europe's largest fast-fashion retailers, is one of the most open and transparently honest leaders I've ever worked with. But most incredibly, he's a bean-counter who actually gets-it! He understands the absolute need for 'emotional edge' in modern business and is prepared to sacrifice convention to achieve it. And to crown it all, quite unlike most accountants, he loves change. The bolder a decision is, the better he likes it. In fact he a perfect exemplar of one of my favourite mantras: if it ain't broke - break it!

I've been working with Alistair and his New Look team for almost a year now and we are starting to see the green shoots of success. I'm often asked for references when speaking at business schools and conferences around the world and I thought Alistair's recent kind words would serve this purpose:

“Working with Martin Butler has been a lot of fun and very rewarding for New Look.

He has helped us put customers back at the heart of the business and develop a much clearer understanding of what our brand stands for ...and why customers will choose New Look.

Changing a corporate mindset is never easy but Martin has become thoroughly engaged at all levels of the business, particularly at the key customer interface with our 20,000 employees in stores. His enthusiastic, engaging and challenging style has been key to delivering this change which has set us up for future growth and success.”

Thanks Alistair, no love bites there!