At Fortune’s 2022 Brainstorm Design conference, Logitech president and CEO Bracken Darrell shared his journey to becoming the company’s top executive not once, but twice. When he was first considering the role of CEO at Logitech, he went up to the board and told them he wanted to build a long-term company.
In reality, he knew that he would transform the company and make it into a design company if he stepped up to the role.
The Early Days
When Darrell first arrived, Logitech was an engineering company. Two years into his role, he openly started talking about making the company into a design company.
Darrell shared that the engineers reacted by thinking he would “ruin this company” and turn Logitech “into a fashion company.” The reactions made the CEO realize that he had failed in his communication, so he decided to take a step back and better explain how his concept would increase Logitech’s yield.
Eventually, the new direction Darrell introduced for the company began speaking for itself. “As the years rolled by and we rolled our products, and they started to be different and work different and succeed in the market, the engineers believed it” shared Darrell.
Five years after Darrell became CEO, the company was worth four times more than when he started.
So the CEO immersed himself in a reflective exercise where he started thinking about what challenges were coming ahead and whether he would continue to be the right person for the job. To qualify himself, he wrote down the requirements for the role and then listed his credentials.
He then thought, “I’d be in the running; I would be in the top three probably.” But later, he thought again, “would I really hire myself?” The answer was no.
He realized that during his time as CEO he had already amassed a large amount of knowledge and knew the ins and outs of his company.
A decision is made
So he decided to fire himself and tell the chairman the next day.
But after sleeping on the decision, he chose not to tell the chairman, but rather, he was going to fire himself and rehire himself on a reimagined contract.
“The new contract says there is nothing sacred. Everything is fair game,” the CEO shared. So the next day, he went to work feeling like a newcomer.
Inspiring others to innovate
A month later, after his team had noticed the CEO had gone through some changes, he decided to share the story with his team and said, “now this weekend, I want you to go fire yourselves, and then on Sunday night, if you want to come back, I want you to rehire yourself on that same new contract.”
However, he specified that while they could put whatever terms they wanted on this contract, they had to go beyond their previous obligations. “If you don’t fire yourself going into this weekend and hire yourself back, I will fire you and I won’t hire you back,” the CEO told his team jokingly to encourage them to innovate.
Finally, he shared why this exercise was so important and said, “I really believe that reinvention and starting with a clean slate all the time is so important, so now I try to do it on the regular.”
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