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The Secret of Success

You might have gathered by now that I’m an archetypal groupie! I’ve always admired creative people, which is probably what attracted me to executive search in the first place.

In the world of food and restaurants I’m a big fan of Alan Yau, the man who created Wagamama, and who recently sold his stake in Hakkasan for £31m. He has just entered into a joint venture with Rocco Princi, nicknamed “the Armani of bread”, and opened Princi, in Soho.

The first Princi panetteria, or bakery, opened in Milan in 1985. The shop in Soho is designed by Silvestrin, a Milanese now living in London. A minimalist, Silvestrin’s style works magnificently with the making and consumption of food. The store is simply the most fantastically designed space. There is just so much to look at – it’s a visual feast and embodies retail theatre! The seating is one long, narrow central table covered in bronze, on massive oak legs.

There are also five free-standing islands on which you can lean. The deal is that you collect your food (which you can see being cooked) from the counter, your drink from the bar and then find somewhere to sit. At lunchtime yesterday, the place was packed and had a real buzz about it. It’s high-quality food and great value all the way. As you progress along the counter from croissants to tarts, from pizza slices to salads, and a small range of baked hot food, too, it all looks so tasty - it’s hard to choose! Princi is worth visiting either as an architectural experience, or for the espresso at only £1.40 and really modestly-priced, delicious food. Exhilarating!

Which leads me onto the next star of the week, who managed to sell out the Lyceum theatre twice over on Monday evening: Malcolm Gladwell. In a lecture about his new book Outliers - The Story Of Success, he spoke with great wit and warmth about the role that our culture plays in shaping our success.

He believes that individual success is driven by cultural factors such as our parentage and patronage. Listening to Gladwell speak, it occurred to me how amazing it is that 4,000 people turned up for his lecture. The fact that his book, Blink: The Power Of Thinking Without Thinking, has been in the New York Times Best Sellers list for 216 weeks is a measure of the current thirst for ideas, and the power of oratory to inspire mass markets. It thrills me to know that ideas alone can generate such great success.

Success is a concept that preoccupies us all, especially in challenging times. We, at The MBS Group, have just published a report, “Tactics For Tough Times” on how business leaders are succeeding in response to the current economic uncertainty. It has proved to me that talented people with an optimistic approach can succeed in any circumstances. I hope you will find some ideas within the report to help you succeed.

New stores, exciting concepts, new books, interesting individuals… Please write and let me know about the stars of tomorrow who, in your opinion, directly or indirectly, will make your organisation the success you want it to be: moira@thembsgroup.co.uk.

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