Creating a cultural shift globally with Gucci Group

Over a period of five years, three of our team partnered with Gucci Group to create a cultural shift globally among the organisation’s top 200 leaders. The approach was a blend of 360˚ feedback, individual coaching and highly experiential leadership programmes. Rated exceptionally highly by participants, our work delivered successful outcomes for individuals, the brands and the Group.


Gucci Group wanted the top 200 leaders from across its brands (which, at the time, comprised Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Bedat & Co, Bottega Veneta, Boucheron, Gucci, Sergio Rossi, Stella McCartney, and Yves Saint Laurent) to undergo a cultural shift that would stand the organisation in better stead for the future, and create a greater sense of shared purpose.

Part of this task was to confront all participants – including the brand CEOs – with the possibility that “What got you here might not get you where you want to be,” (Gucci Group’s interpretation of Marshall Goldsmith’s famous phrase). We therefore needed to help people deal with that possibility authentically and with true courage.

The approach we took

The start of the work predates LeaderSpace. Richard initially worked with the Global Head of HR to create a unifying competency framework that captured the common DNA of the nine brands – one source of inspiration being Leonardo Da Vinci’s habits for high performance. He then created a bespoke 360° feedback tool for use with the brand CEOs and their teams.
At the same time, Sarah was working with the Head of HR to design a global leadership conference in Beijing, also inspired by Da Vinci. The client brought Richard and Sarah together to head a team of coaches tasked with providing 360° feedback and coaching to the leadership teams of all nine brands – a programme that spanned the US, Europe and Asia. Afterwards, Richard pulled together an anonymised summary of the key themes arising from 360° feedback and the associated coaching sessions – a mixture of statistical data and qualitative evidence that compared the Group’s senior leadership with those in other organisations.

Next, Sarah, Richard, Andy and a small team of independent facilitators co-designed and facilitated two 3-day leadership programmes for the Group’s global top 200 leaders, who attended both events in groups of 30-50. These challenging programmes blended two psychometric tools (MBTI and FIRO-B) with coaching and input on topics as diverse as stress, personal impact, and the leadership styles that are most effective at different points in the business cycle.

During this period, Richard, Sarah and Andy also ran sessions on innovation at the Group’s second biennial leadership conference in Miami, alongside high-calibre guest speakers such as Bill Clinton. It was a great piece of work – and one hell of a party!

You have an incredible ability to listen and to understand how we are trying to impact our business. You are methodical in your thinking … think creatively … and your enthusiasm is delightful to work with … I thoroughly enjoy working with you and would highly recommend you.
Karen Lombardo, Executive Vice President of Global HR, Gucci Group

The impact we had

100% of participants in the 360° feedback programme said they would recommend the programme to their colleagues, and other events were typically rated as ‘exceptional’.

The whole programme has worked to deliver greater cross-brand co-operation, career movement and promotions than ever before – and the Group’s growing reputation for leading-edge leadership development prompted PPR, the Group’s French owners, to bring Gucci Group closer into the fold.

The programme also contributed significantly to the legacies left by the Global Heads of HR and Learning and Development, and the Group CEO (all of whom have since moved on).