Learn More About Our Managing Director Across the Pond—David Lucas

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You’ve already seen part 1 of our Q&A with David Lucas, but there is still more to learn. Read below to hear what David thinks about Change 4 Growths values, what led him to a career in change management and what he likes to do for fun!

1. Can you share your views about the impact the values of Change 4 Growth will have on how you lead the new team in London?

There is a ready-made blueprint for how to build, develop and lead a successful, fulfilled team. The plan is to continue Beth Thomas’ principles and practice in the UK with which I wholeheartedly agree.  A crucial dimension to this is engaging the right people in the first place. People with the qualities and personality that match the culture Beth has developed. To be clear, the C4G values include honesty, openness and trust which we apply both internally and externally. So, every member of the team will be expected and supported to adopt and live these values. Any member of the C4G global community should be able to walk into another office and immediately feel at home – belong as a result of these values being constant.

2. You have a background in humanistic psychotherapy. How will you use that background and education to enhance the solutions provided to clients in the UK?

I think the crucial characteristics of the study I carried out were the development of self-awareness – being more conscious of how we react to people and events – to situations; recognition of what it means to take personal responsibility for how we respond; to building ways to manage those responses that generate a better and more productive experience for all concerned. This offers considerable insight into the way that people can be engaged, in how leaders can learn to improve their approach to others to generate the best results. It also influences the quality and results of those essential collaborative communications and processes so vital to the development of frictionless omni-channel retail. In a way, it’s change management at the micro level, feeding into change management at the organizational level.

3. Can you give some examples of Organizational Change Management projects you’ve led?

There are many, but here are 3 that spring to mind.

I was retained to support a £bn turnover in a retail organization through a journey of change from a multiple channel to an omnichannel operation. The key tenets of this were organizational re-design including structure, roles and responsibilities, process re-design for integration, and behavioural re-alignment. It was crucial that the e-comm, marketing and buying and merchandising functions understood how to plan and trade across seasons in a collaborative manner. We needed to remove friction, build in speed and agility and ensure a new focus on the customer, not the company, as the centre of the universe. This was a Board-sponsored initiative and contained all dimensions of organisational, process and cultural change. To put it simply, the project moved them from an attitude of ‘over my dead body’ to one of ‘together we can make this happen.’

Another example is the active development of a supply chain capability to ensure that significant time and error were removed from a garment production process. In short this was achieved via collaborative workshops that brought four levels of the supply chain - yarn, fabric, garment and brand, together to identify and trouble shoot process, systems and communications delays. Together, we removed 6 weeks from the 16 week process which allowed the brand to work closer to the season and respond more accurately to trends.

I am also proud of a project carried out for a direct to consumer retailer who wanted their B&M function to take greater responsibility for product profitability to net contribution level. We achieved this by re-organising the team structure into more focused ‘pods’ each of which had their own P&L and reporting dashboard. The initial discomfort with such a clear level of responsibility changed to a healthily competitive attitude between teams as they became more familiar and comfortable with their responsibilities and accountabilities.

4. What led you to the focus on retail in your career?

I think more luck than judgement to be honest. In the 1990’s I was lucky enough to become involved in a UK government sponsored retail initiative aimed at developing faster, more integrated retail supply chains. This was a national open programme of development across over 200 fashion retail and supplier organisations. Inevitably much of the methodology employed became the subject of specific, in-house projects to turn principles into practice and embed in organisations to suit their own models and operations. From there I became ever more deeply involved in the world of retail planning, operations and of course change management.

In the last few years I’ve been involved in change projects across Merchandise and assortment planning, development of fast fashion and quick response models, Inventory management, as well as cultural re-alignments to the integrated omnichannel model.

5. What do you enjoy in your spare time?

I love cooking, travelling and experiencing different cultures. Music of most genres is very important to me. But the most important is time with family and friends – I think our relationships with people are the source of enjoyment and inspiration.

6. Do you have any hidden talents?

I guess my guitar playing and music composition. Hidden, because I don’t perform in public. But I love the creative process. It isn’t about being as good as Eric Clapton (just as well really), it’s about the therapeutic process and sense of achievement of writing a new piece from scratch. In a word, creativity.

If you missed part 1 of David’s interview you can read it here. Don’t forget to follow Change 4 Growth on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to stay up to date on our latest news.

Valerie Klette-Cusher