Brunello Cucinelli's Productivity Tips

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Complex Original

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The King of Cashmere doesn't count stacks selling you otherworldly expensive sweaters by waking up at noon, tweeting "rise and grind" and slouching through the rest of the workday. That would be utterly fucking ridiculous. Brunello runs an empire that needs constant tending. Over at, there's a lengthy interview with Cuci Mane himself that touches on everything from radical transparency to Greek philosophy to how long a workday should be. His sort of old world mentality when it comes to productivity and working is something I feel a lot of us need to get behind.

This long passage summarizes how Brunello runs his cashmere kingdom. It's about being authentic and personal with your coworkers. Like, really being in their presence when you're working with them:

No, it’s not 24/7, because here in the company, you start at 8 AM, and at 5:30 PM you are forbidden to work any further. No emails can be sent to more than two addressees, just one or two. No group mailing. Why must a single email be read by 10 different people, unless it’s the 10 people who are interested in that specific issue? In order to disperse responsibility?

The first time I was in New York, we had a tiny office, and they were emailing across it. I said, “No way. Just get up and go to your neighbor and ask them one thing, in one split second, in person.” First of all, you look me in the eye. You smell me, my presence. Maybe I take the opportunity to ask you about your family. Don’t you feel better than if you get an email? Maybe I smile and you feel even better. 

The other day, I was writing some things that were important to me, and a message arrived. Who is able not to check the message? No one. Everybody is tempted. You go there for 30 seconds, then your mind is there, even though you were focused on what you were doing previously.

Here, no meetings with mobile phones. No one is allowed to bring them into the meeting room. You must look me in the eye. You must know things by heart. You must know all of your business with a 1 to 2 percent error rate. It is also training for your mind. It is also a question of respect, because I have never called someone on a Saturday or a Sunday. No one is allowed to do so. We must discover this, because if individuals rest properly, then it is better.

Yeah, that's a lot (and an easy cop out for me to just copy and paste it), but it's fascinating to see such a classic corporate model being employed in a time when brands are too busy telling the timeline how their "hashbrowns are on fleek" to, you know, actually accomplish anything of substance whatsoever. Of course, such a radical, old school approach wouldn't be praised if it wasn't working and helping to make the company some solid coin. But this is, so there you go.

[Photo via Brunello Cucinelli]

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