Trust, authenticity and hiring from outside the industry were some of the key themes to emerge at this year’s leadership debate at Retail Week Live.

In a session hosted by Korn Ferry’s Sarah Lim, Matches Fashion boss Ulrich Jerome, Decathlon chairman Matthieu Leclerq and Hackett managing director Vincente Castellano, the trio debated best leadership practices.

Authenticity and being true to your company’s DNA was a key theme.

“Be yourself,” said Leclerq. “Respect your DNA. Strong DNA is part of every successful business. For me, everything is about culture.

“Trust is important. I give a lot of trust to my CEO so he can give a lot of trust to other people in the company.”

Trust was a theme picked up on by Jerome. “The one thing I learned in scaling the business was that it is hard to trust and empower people,” he said.

He added that scaling a business also meant ensuring that every employee had a tangible impact on the business.

“When you grow and scale a business you are challenged by the superficial layers of management in a business,” he said. “You want to make sure everyone has an impact.”

He also spoke about ensuring that every team worked well together. “That is the only way you go fast,” he said. “Go fast alone and you’re not going far.”

Castellano emphasised how beneficial hiring from outside the industry could be for a business.

“They bring different ideas and perspectives,” he said. He gave the example of hiring employees from the hotel sector and added that they had “a totally different mindset” when dealing with customers, which was less transactional and much more wide-ranging.

“For us, it is a good way to innovate in our little world,” he said.