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Philippa interviews Bracken Darrell, CEO of Logitech

On behalf of the Kalaidos Digital Academy, I had the real pleasure of interviewing Bracken Darrell, the President and CEO of Logitech. Bracken was in California and I was in Zurich joined by people from many different locations in our Zoom Room or watching the live stream. We talked about leadership - in times of Corona, in times of turnaround and in the future.

I found the conversation very inspiring so

grab a coffee (and a pen to make notes!) and watch the full conversation to let his words inspire you directly. It starts at approx. minute 11:00.


Read my summary of things that resonated the most with me ...

Firstly, what struck me was his absolute conviction that the way to remain relevant as individuals and companies is to be a learner and how critical it is for us all to develop the skill set and drive to keep learning and developing yourself.

“It’s more important to be a learner than a finance person, more important to be a learner than a marketeer. We need everyone to be a learner.”

In our conversation it became clear that he’s walking the talk at work:

For instance, Logitech doesn’t do performance reviews but instead views all events as learning events. Each quarter they look back at what worked, what didn’t and what they can do differently.

“It’s perfectly ok for things to not work. Things are not going to work all the time. If everything you are doing is working, your scope is probably too small you’re probably not taking enough risk. I wonder what we left on the table”

He also recommends we take words “success” and “failure” out of our vocabulary because they are just descriptions for something happened in the past. Something you did that worked. Learn from it. You are not "successful". Something you did that didn’t work. Learn from it. You are not a "failure".

In his own words (my favourite quote!)

“success is an alluring, terrible, attractive magnetic thing that everyone longs for. Once you have it you don’t want to lose it.”

And that leads people who consider themselves "successful" to waste energy protecting their perceived success and take fewer chances because they are mostly worried about saving face.

He encourages us instead to view everything you do as an experiment: Some big, some small - but all learning opportunities.

Particularly inspiring is that he is also walking the talk privately:

He shared with us that for many years now he has applied a planning tool that he used at work early in his career to his own development and private life. Each year he sets a vision, articulates his values and sets goals in several areas of his life recognising that

“work is not the only important thing in my life”.

He recommends that everyone uses the same kind of disciplined approach they apply to setting and achieving goals at work for all areas of their life aligned to their personal values.

“The person who cares the most about your development is you. Don’t wait for someone else to tell you what do.”

In those days of course, the tool was not available but now it's a great tool to support you in doing just what Bracken is doing. Having done it myself and really felt the benefit of doing it I know it works and LOVE that he so openly shares his similar experience.

Bracken is also a role model for lifelong learning. He believes that there is nothing we can’t learn if we put our mind to it (he's currently learning about quantum physics) and that the ability to learn is the most important thing we learn at school.

The important thing is to keep trying all the time - on the job and outside. In fact, things you learn outside your job when you apply them in it are the things that make you more creative, give you unique perspective.”

I asked Bracken about his leadership principles and he shared so many great things (just watch the video!) including and in no particular order:

  • Be bold, don't be afraid to make mistakes, make the decisions - don’t sit on them

  • Focus on growth all the time. Even in times of cost saving protect your growth investment

  • Design and design thinking

  • Make sure the right people in the right job. He said he spends more than 50% of his day on people

  • Listen to your employees and make it clear you expect people to speak up

  • Get better at Risk Management to be able to experiment

  • Treat people as if they were volunteers (and no he didn't mean not pay them!)

  • View all relationships as partnerships

The last two principles both serve as reminders that leadership is about inspiring people - on an equal footing - towards a common goal, ensuring people feel their work is meaningful to them and creating the right conditions so they can get on and do their job. Combine that with a genuine culture of experimentation and lifelong learning and you have a very powerful base from which your employees and your company can thrive. Seems like EmployAgility in action to me!

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