Mickey Drexler/J.Crew

I could teach an entire MBA course using as source material the 20 September 2010 New Yorker profile of J.Crew CEO Mickey Drexler—titled “The Merchant: It’s All About the Eye—And the Numbers.”

In shorthand form, I have extracted a list of some of the items that are central to Drexler’s approach. I present them here, and as a PowerPoint slide.

  • Bias for instant action/Towering impatience with in-action
  • Impatient but not brutal
  • Relentless/Speed-of-light experimentation; more ASAP if works, drop if not
  • Vibrates with energy (literally)
  • Always on the prowl—anywhere, everywhere—for ideas
  • Lots of team-standing-around-making-instant-assessments-decisions—all contributing
  • Likes working with women more than men because F more intuitive than M
  • Dresses like the brand—at 66
  • Offense, not defense
  • Communicates all the time [removes fear from hearing “famous” CEO]. Everyone, including most junior, made part of the decision-making team
  • Listens attentively regardless of age/seniority
  • Obvious in his transparent respect for young employees
  • Trusts intuition plus fanatic about the numbers
  • Expects everyone to know their numbers cold from memory
  • Always aware of “the business case”—as well fashion-master
  • Aggressive pricing
  • MBWA/Managing By Wandering Around
  • Open with everyone, from youth to folks at Earnings Call
  • Constant customer contact/Dialogues with customer/Reacts instantly to customer feedback
  • Willing to act (experiment) based on one datapoint
  • Engages with most junior people
  • At 66, comfortably uses “hot” words like “Cool” “Wow”

There is no doubt that these notions are especially fit for retailers. Yet I will unequivocally assert that this list with little modification applies to any flavor of business.

(For what it’s worth, I’m also attaching this in PowerPoint.)

Tom Peters posted this on October 28, 2010, in Leadership.
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