Angela Ahrendts spills the secret behind Apple’s success


Angela Ahrendts' strategies are paying off in a big, bad way.
Photo: Apple

Apple Store retail guru Angela Ahrendts says that the secret behind Apple’s success is its culture, telling an interviewer that, “The company was built to change people’s lives.”

The dedication to keeping not just customers, but also employees, feeling like they’re part of a greater mission is paying off in a big way, too — with Ahrendts noting that last year Apple Stores had their highest employee retention rate in history, with 81 percent of people staying put.

In a conversation with Fast Company‘s Rick Tetzeli, Ahrendts is questioned on whether Apple Store employees feel a “shared pride” in Apple. She answers:

“The thing I didn’t know before I came in — a month in, I told my husband, ‘I now know why this is one of the most successful companies on the planet: Because the culture is so strong. The pride, the protection, the values.’ The company was built to change people’s lives. That foundation, that service mentality, that drive to continue to change lives—that is a core value in the company.

And Tim [Cook] then has added his on: He says it’s also our responsibility to leave it better than we found it. So you have these two amazing pillars and a culture built around that. It’s the same in retail and in [Cupertino]. That is the underlying mission, and how could you know that unless you’re inside? But it is deeper than you would ever imagine.”

While part of Steve Jobs’ genius was his ability to turn buying a model of computer into a lifestyle or world-changing mission, Tim Cook has subtly shifted that rhetoric while at Apple — adding a social conscience that Jobs never expressed so strongly. When Ahrendts says that Apple is a “company … built to change people’s lives” it’s reminiscent of Cook talking about Apple being a “force for good in the world.”

During her tenure at Apple, Angela Ahrendts has overseen the opening of multiple new Apple Stores (particularly in China), the tree-lined design overhaul of existing Apple Stores, and smaller changes like recording weekly video communications for retail employees to keep them connected to the direction the company is headed.

Based on the impressive staff retention rates, it seems like it’s all having a positive effect, too!

Source: Fast Company