Inspiring Leadership: Julian Richer, The Ethical Capitalist

February 10, 2020

As part of the firm’s mission to bring commercial business skills to charities, we want to engage business leaders with the fact that they have a vital role to play in solving the challenges of today’s society. To this end, we are holding a series of talks delivered by amazing leaders from the business world, so that we might inspire ‘conscious leadership’.

In April, we were thrilled to welcome respected retail entrepreneur, Julian Richer, to give the first in this series of talks.

Julian is the founder of Richer Sounds, the UK’s biggest hi-fi and home cinema equipment retailer. His style of leadership has been highly praised and he now advises heads of business such as Marks and Spencer CEO, Steve Rowe. He’s written several books the most well-known being The Richer Way and his latest book The Ethical Capitalist was launched last year to promote ethical capitalism and has already received many favourable reviews.

During the talk, Julian passed on some of his tips for successful leadership. Here are some of his thoughts:

  • Have a mission statement. Where are you heading?
  • Make work fun. Only make rules if they’re really needed.
  • Give people recognition – this can be easy to overlook
  • Communicate! Listen to your troops.
  • Reward actions which achieve what you have asked for.
  • Show and demand loyalty.
  • Keep developing your teams – delegate and ensure you have a structure for weekly communication. Then let them get on with the job.
  • Be determined and lead with a sense of urgency. Julian thinks of it as a siege mentality.
  • Get feedback, measure customer service.
  • Work-life balance is still important, however senior you are.
  • If you ‘re in a scrape, get on with it. Even if you try 100 things, keep trying. It’s like trying to do a u-turn in an oil tanker. Eventually, you might be able to turn things around.
  • Leaders need to be brave and lead from the front. Be honest when you make mistakes.
  • Don’t procrastinate when decision-making. If it’s a ‘no’, say so quickly, don’t leave people hanging on.
  • Suggestion schemes drive innovation and employee engagement. Colleagues can make a big difference in the evolution of an organisation (rather than a revolution).
  • Time management is important. Write things down and follow up on commitments made.
  • Meetings – have as few and as short meetings as possible, with a minimum number of people.
  • Don’t send contentious emails after 6pm or after a drink!

Responsible Capitalism

Julian strongly believes that business leaders should be encouraged to behave ethically and that those that don’t, should be called out.

He talked about the balance between capitalism and ethics. Capitalism is based on greed and to date, it’s been easy for leaders who make more money to gain more power. He believes that employers have a duty towards their employees and society as a whole, and that the tide needs to turn against greed and towards a moral purpose.

Finally, Julian said that ethically run businesses are invariably more efficient, more motivated and more innovative than those that only care about the bottom line.

Join us for our next Inspiring Leadership Event with Elif Safak

Elif Shafak writes, speaks and thinks about the difficult, big, important issues of our time and does so, to quote the New York Times, “with vision, bravery and compassion.” Elif will join us to discuss how business leaders can (and should) put moral responsibility in the community before profit and will help us to untangle the challenges and contradictions we will face as we try to build the moral purpose companies of the future.

Click here to sign up.