Interview Transcript

What management principles are encouraged to drive those three pillars of style, performance, and pleasure at Ferrari?

It’s very simple, these three things must be delivered at any given point in time. I don’t think anyone is willing to compromise on that. You know it from the very first day that you enter Maranello that these three things are clearly fundamental. It’s in the DNA of everyone working on any new development, on any process, of anyone looking at whatever. It’s not even a question, it’s so clear that you’re doing those three things that you will never find a Ferrari with a spoiler for example, with fake aerodynamic devices, because you know that every single shape and micro-shape on the body of a Ferrari should have functionality, should not be something attached to it for the sake of aesthetics. At the same time, you can’t have anything ugly because of performance. It’s simply a question you would never ask because you know that when you enter a church, you have to take your hat off. You don’t ask, “should I keep it on or should I take it off?” You simply take it off. That’s it. You don’t ask yourself why. That’s the rule. Ferrari is not governed by processes or rules, it’s governed by values.

How is that implemented in practice? Is it a case of human capital and the people they employ?

People quickly understand that this is a winning recipe. So why would you destroy the toy? People immediately understand that that’s the way, it’s a successful story, you’re in a successful company. You listen to those you are working with because they are successful, because they built the company as they built it. Why would you screw it up? You might challenge some decisions I’m sure but not the values. The values are there. The values of beauty, the values of performance, the values of customer excitement while driving are values that you of course you understand you need to fulfil. Why should you question them? What would that do? Why should you make it different?

Of course, this is true because the company is successful. Now, if the company were not so successful, people might say, “we’re in a crisis so we should do things differently.” But if you’re not, why should you? You’re growing, profitability is growing, margins are growing, sales are growing, reputation is growing. Why would you change the recipe?

So there are no procedures or structure in place to drive those values, it’s more inherent in the people and the culture.

Yeah, absolutely. This is facilitated by the fact that people are all together in the same place. That’s very important. For example, if you have Ferrari 2.0 in the US, with some people developing their own cars, that would be a disaster because that would be impossible to manage. Not because the Americans would be less smart than the Europeans, but because you would not be able to keep the culture in the same way, exactly harmonious and homogenous. I think the colocation is one of the key factors. I’m absolutely sure about that. This is why Ferrari has never delocalised anything. Ferrari will be in Maranello forever, for sure. It would be so stupid to move it.

Sign up to test our content quality with a free sample of 50+ interviews