Michael Stanier is the CEO of Charles Tyrwhitt. Previously he was Chief Sales Officer of global sports retailer Adidas where he built a high-performing global retail team who quadrupled sales from €1bn to €4bn whilst substantially improving margins. Prior to Adidas he worked in a variety of leadership roles across the US, Europe and the Middle East at Gap, Timberland and Marks & Spencer.
What’s the best professional advice you have ever received?
“Stanier, lead through conviction and inspire your people” - advice I got from Admiral Sir James Burnell Nugent, a very inspiring leader.
What is the secret to building a high-performing global team?
- Conviction is key. You can root things back to financial benefit, but it has to be more than that. Show people it’s important to you personally. Our generation have an amazing opportunity to create jobs that transform communities - for example, what we did at Adidas in Russia mattered because we created over 20,000 jobs which positively impacted more than 60,000 people.
- Inspire people. You have to explain why you think any challenge you set is fair and reasonable. Reference role models across the organisation/industry who show what is possible. Provide context (e.g. we want to be the best sports brand) and help them wherever you can. If you have the right team, they should run ahead which in turn will inspire the leadership. It’s easy when you have conviction - if you don’t, it’s draining.
- Be present. Communication, communication, communication. Every day people will face a challenge they weren’t expecting, so you need to reassure them and be accessible (whatsapp, videos, e-mails, messages etc) so they feel you beside them wherever they are in the world.
How do you go about building a global culture?
If you don’t have a common objective, you won’t have one culture.
In a global environment, you are always dealing with different cultures (prejudices, history, language etc.) so bringing company values, mission statements and agreeing all of those, is the key starting point.
Culture can be built top down or bottom up and my experience is that it should be both but start with the board, then cascade to the senior leadership team and then to the broader organisation. Although the culture has been instigated from the top, the broader organisation should be able to feed into it creating a two-way street. It’s critical that everyone throughout the organisation feels they have contributed.
Once you have launched it, you must then live it and track it, triangulating across a variety of data points (e.g. internal employee engagement (NPS), best company indices, productivity, absenteeism, staff turnover etc). Inevitably you will find things not working which then need adjusting to the local environment - even though there is no such thing as one size fits all, the 80/20 reference is always worth remembering!
What has been your greatest professional mistake and what did you learn from it?
My generation were taught to own things from top to bottom, intake margin, exit margin and everything in between. In today’s global internationalised businesses, it’s impossible to leverage the bottom line with teams managing everything from top to bottom. At Timberland, I didn’t invest enough time in networking and moving myself from being a silo focused leader to being “matrix-comfortable”- that was a steep learning curve.
It’s a major challenge for people in small businesses looking to go global.
Your Nurole Experience
How did you hear about Nurole?
A former colleague recommended me.
What made you sign up?
The Charles Tyrwhitt CEO role - Nick Wheeler specifically!
How have you found the experience as a member?
Whole experience was 1st class - fast, decisive, supportive.
What advice would you have for other members applying through the platform?
Don’t waste time applying for things that you are not passionate about.
How would you explain what Nurole does in one sentence to someone who doesn’t know it?
Nurole uses data analytics to match jobs with talent.
About You - 10 Question Quick Fire
3 words the person who has worked most with you would use to characterise you?
Integrity, passionate, focused, inspiring. (Never could count!)
Homo Deus, Yuval Noah Harari.
Benjamin Steakhouse, New York.
Travelling through Sri Lanka with my kids.
"Impossible is nothing" - Muhammad Ali.
My children and the outdoors.
Herbert Hainer, Adidas Group CEO who taught me patience, pragmatism and how to lead globally.
Personal achievement of which you are most proud?
Giving my children the best start in life.
When does your alarm go off and how many hours of sleep do you have on average?
6am with 6-7 hours on average.
Best idea for a £10,000 investment?
Help your family achieve their goals.
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