Lululemon may have started organically, but it never started small. Chip thought big, and lululemon always had a big horizon. This way of working and visioning became an integral thread in the fabric of lululemon. It became the way that we, the people of lululemon, led our own lives. It was how we interact- ed with each other, and how we worked toward greatness every day. Its very best moments – whether on the floor of a store or during a teleconference amongst regional leaders – were conversations where people held each other lovingly to a higher degree of possibility. We called this standing for someone’s greatness.
The result of working with people who have authored their vision and goals, have studied how to release habitual patterns, and who have taken responsibility not only for those patterns, but the impact of those patterns from moment to moment, is that everyone around them is elevated. Countless current and former lululemon employees have brought these skills to other practices and businesses. The culture of lululemon and its ability to practice the business of faith (i.e., vision) continues to thrive and expand with whomever has the courage to speak boldly and listen for a new future.
All elements of lululemon came together to create a culture that, at its core, loved the individual. I came to lululemon with 20 years of experience in corporate mergers and acquisitions, high-level corporate communication consulting, and creating cultural shifts. In all my work, I had never experienced a culture that so valued each individual participant. This was my first time encountering a corporate culture that did not start with the company first.
Chip always started with the individual. He shared with them the whole string of learning he had experienced. This learning eventually became the onboarding process for every individual that joined the organization, the details of which you will discover in this book.
By listening to people, by testing things, by having people try things on and sweat in them, Chip crafted an innovative product. He crafted the culture with the same type of physical and mental rigor with which he approached the product. He also did it by being in relationship with people. This radical approach is what makes the lululemon culture ground-breaking and sustainable.
Almost every day I meet someone who has been affected positively by the culture at lululemon. They tell me, “I met the right guy,” “I bought that house,” “I forgave my Dad,” “I started my own business.” I am grateful to see the legacy of Chip Wilson in action.
Susanne Conrad, founder of Lightyear Leadership