Nike's CEO Explains Why Reading Business Books Is A Waste Of Time

Mark Parker

Photo: YouTube/Core77

One of the world’s most iconic brands, Nike, has encountered some issues recently, such as the Lance Armstrong scandal, trouble in Europe, and weak sales plus a rapidly increasing cost of manufacturing in China.But Nike’s CEO Mark Parker is determined to remain one of the world’s most digitally matured brands and desired by young consumers.

In a recent interview with Fast Company’s Robert Safian, Parker revealed his tactics:

“Our management approach hasn’t come from studying and reading business books. It’s more intuitive, from the culture of sports. We’re constantly looking for ways to improve. How do you adapt to your environment and really focus on your potential? To really go after that, you have to embrace the reality that it is not going to slow down. And you have to look at that as half full, not half empty.”

“Companies and people look at the pace of change as a challenge, an obstacle, a hurdle, …. we like to look at it as opportunity: Get on the offence.”

Parker’s strategy is to embrace and adapt to the environment, to aggressively change with it rather than simply weathering it. Most recently, he’s put an emphasis on making sure the company doesn’t become “constipated” by pursuing a new technology that allows the shoes to be sewed together with thread rather than being cut from fabric — how it’s been done for hundreds of years.

Just like sports teams depend on rookies, Parker likes to get ideas from designers fresh out of school, in addition to wandering the halls and seeing what’s on people’s desks. 

Find the full interview at Fast Company

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