Inside the head of McDonald’s new CEO

McDonald’s said this week that new CEO Steve Easterbrook will reveal a turnaround plan for the limping giant on May 4. The man himself has been as much of a mystery to the American market as the strategy he’s crafting, assuming the corner office at chain headquarters two months ago after spending most of his career in Europe.  But he opened up a bit on an analysts’ call yesterday and provided some insights on his management style and philosophy.  At other times, his responses to questions provided a glimpse of his personality and business credo.

Here are what Easterbrook characterized as the four “operating principles” he is bringing to his new job:

1. A greater emphasis on personal accountability

“I hold people accountable for tangible actions and outputs, and I can assure you that I hold myself accountable to these same high standards,” the Brit explained to analysts.

2. Being grounded on the consumer

“This means deeper understanding, better listening, better segmentation, genuine sharp insights regarding what our customers want and need and when they want it, as determined from the smart use of data and analytics.”

3. Championing progress over perfection

“We will try new things, move fast with what works and even faster from what doesn't. And when we find winning plays, we'll be more nimble.” Easterbrook cited the example of accepting Apple’s new cashless wallet, Apple Pay. He said the adoption zoomed from initial contact with Apple to the actual rollout in 12 weeks.

4. Championing simplicity

“We are simplifying for greater transparency, accountability and speed. We cannot afford to carry legacy attitudes and legacy thinking, and we won't…We've still got to make the entire McDonald's experience just a little easier for our customers and a little easier for our crew.”

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