Episode 14: Wavelength in conversation with Pets At Home

Wavelength’s Liz Moseley in conversation with Peter Pritchard, former CEO and Robert Kent, former CDO, at Pets at Home.

Episode 14: The Pets At Home Story - surviving Covid, ‘Little Data’, leading in crisis, and pets & people at the heart of everything

For curious business leaders

In this podcast, Wavelength Associate Liz Moseley speaks with Peter Pritchard, former Group CEO at Pets At Home, and Robert Kent, former Chief Data Officer at Pets at Home.

Peter and Rob share their personal leadership experiences on leading through Covid, that tumbleweed moment when their business just halved, and how “narrowing your field of vision during a crisis is critical to success. We didn’t let our focus go further than a day!”

They share how they persuaded their people to come to work when they were scared. “If people didn’t feel safe when coming to work, then we had no business. So we put ALL our energies into our people.”

Their focus on 7 key priorities (and none were commercial!), which guided them for 18 months

Running a business on a moral compass

Hear them talk about their focus in 7 key priorities (and none were commercial!), which guided them for 18 months. 

How data insights and predictions allowed them to see trends before anyone else and react, e.g. their puppy and kitten club boom at the start of the pandemic.

The importance of recognising how life looked for all our colleagues was the most powerful thing we did. Giving them the trust and autonomy to find all 3000 new employees needed to set up a new £90m distribution centre right in the middle of the pandemic.

The huge value of showing kindness in a unique way – creating a Colleague Hardship Fund of £1m – a true GAMECHANGER for Pets. “We showed that we give and we return.”

Of running a business on a moral compass, doing the right thing by colleagues, the importance of over-communication with daily videos to calm fears.

Robert Kent talks about how they “didn’t do data for data’s sake.” They ensured they understood where’s the value was going to be created – for their customers, colleagues and then for the overall business. They talk of the power of ‘Little Data’! and how it drove growth, through personalisation, prediction and anticipation of future needs.

Stay focused. Test, test, test. Let yourself get it wrong. Failure isn’t bad! 

No buzzwords. Real humility. “Keep it real and take everyone with you. You are there to serve the organisation, not the other way around. Keep the organisation sensible and kind. Culture is your primary responsibility as a CEO.”

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