Our Business Project: Another 100 Years

I refuse to conform to the reigning 'culture' of the transient and the temporary, which is permeating every aspect of our modern life. Equally appalling is how it leads to behaviours and projects which are largely unsustainable and lacking in long-term vision. This ephemeral ‘culture’ is seeping dangerously into the business world with many executives seeking, not longevity and development of their businesses and projects, but quick returns instead. Sadly, examples abound of such precarious business projects all around us.

Despite this current climate, however, it is highly gratifying to learn of the motto chosen by Alcorta Forging to embody their strategic future: "Cien años más" (Another 100 Years). It is truly refreshing and encouraging that a century old company strategically set out to become a bicentennial company.

A good number of readers may view this motto as nothing more than simple window dressing and a cheap marketing ploy. Similarly, others will find it devoid of substance as it lacks any specific reference to the sector, the markets, or even the organisation itself. Others may even consider it some sort of lofty expression, thinking to themselves: 'nice idea … but'. I, on the other hand, find this bold statement to be a breath of fresh air which aptly sums up the very essence of how the company conceives sustainable human development over the long term.

The company’s decision, to set their sights on another century of operations, carries with it the need for a series of principles, attitudes, and actions in their management practice, not only to differentiate it from the competition, but to stand out in the market as well. Surprisingly, Alcorta Forging does not place growth at the forefront of their business plan, rightly shying away from an unhealthy obsession with size, which unfortunately dominates so many other businesses. In fact, size is a consequence of how a company adapts its own capacities to the changes taking place in the market-place; but it not should be a goal in itself.

The motto, "Another 100 Years", also implies an intergenerational commitment which requires ongoing reinvestment in the Project. This means avoiding, at all costs, short-term adventures like the plague and consistently focusing on the long-term outlook. Invariably, this leads to an ongoing search for value-creating mechanisms for its region, and breaking into new regions around the world in order to consolidate and enrich the business project.

This is the ideal setting in which to create a Community of People at the heart of the organisation, since it demands that everyone participate actively in the project. Dividends from properly executing the project are: wealth creation for the region; enriched interpersonal relationships; and generating development dynamics. Moreover, the company becomes more humanised with the bottom-line at the service of a forward-looking project and its people, and not the other way around.

The Spanish poet, León Felipe, said: "The further ahead we look, the more we enjoy what is closest to us in life." This is also valid in business projects of this nature. The systematic search in order to arrive at a distant future stimulates tireless innovation on more immediate matters. Furthermore, doing so instils a culture of ongoing dialogue, prospection, experimentation, and adaptation, while contributing improved and novel solutions than those offered by short-sighted business attitudes. Most importantly, though, it fosters business dreams of greater value and transcendence.

As much as I would like, I know I will not be around to see the project "Another 100 Years" come successfully to fruition. I am fully convinced, however, that this project, unlike many others with a short-term view, will grow in interest and attractiveness for those who are, and who will be, on board throughout the coming years. I hope “Cien años más” serves as an example to other companies so that they may be inspired to make a similar commitment to strive to continue building a better future for our society.

* Originally published in El Economista 25/11/2013

Sabin Azua

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