Luis Suarez – Where do you want to be in 30 years?

You know few years back, I used be very aggressive. I used to say if you don’t change, your customers will do it for you. Nowadays, what I keep telling people over is you need to evaluate, as a company, as an organization, where you want to be in thirty years. And the reason why I’m saying that is because the corporate world unfortunately has got that short-term mentality of only looking quarter after quarter after quarter, and perhaps a year or two years ahead. None of the businesses, none of the corporations, are thinking of where they wanna be in thirty years. And that basically means that they don’t allow themselves to grow. Or they’re not contemplating the idea of growing. We gonna see, for instance, you know, years ago by we are going to that timeframe of the twenty years thirty years, we gonna see, we gonna realize, how at that time, we gonna be depending tremendously on the knowledge that we produce, not on the labor that we produce. And the reason why we are not seeing that is because we are far still too attached to the twentieth century mentality. So when you tell people, “ok, what is your company expecting to do in 2040?” They go like “Wow, don’t wanna go that far along.” And I say “why not? what you’re afraid of? Are you afraid of being stuck in the same twentieth century business model that you have been that unfortunately has “put us” in the current financial crisis that we’re living now? Or are you thinking more, where do I wanna be with my company in thirty years?” And then when you start bringing that conversation, the first thing that people tell you is “well I dunno where I wanna be in thirty years”. That’s why isn’t it time that you start shaping it now. Mean, just look at what has happened in the last ten years. We have made the transition from a labor-based economy into a knowledge-based economy. We don’t do hard work, or hard labor work with our hands, we do lot of knowledge work. When we collaborate, we typically exchange and share information. So, one clear indication that would prolly provoke that change is that, in those thirty years, we gonna see how we gonna be depending more on the knowledge that we produce. So, if we gonna be depending on the knowledge that we produce, what can you do to start provoking that change today.

So, that what I tell people, you know, you need to evaluate as a company whether you are a collaborative company or not. Whether you have got that mentality or not. And if you don’t have the mentality, how you gonna push for that mentality. And the way that I keep telling people about is that the easiest way to start making that change, is by focusing on the problems that you have today. And how you gonna solve them, not today but then for the rest of those thirty forty years. So, by helping them, because most of the times, and this is probably something .. doesn’t happen in the corporate world as often as it should. Most companies do not want to see the problems they’re facing. They don’t wanna see them.

They don’t want to see their failures. And the reason they don’t wanna see their failures is because if they see their failures, their customers will as well, and they are afraid of they will run away. If they are not doing anything about it, of course, they gonna run away. You show how you gonna fix those problems, how you gonna fix those failures, you’re actually telling people that hey you’re human after all. You have got problems, but you have actually find solutions for those problems. So what I keep telling people is if you wanna change the corp mentality, address the problems that you have in an open manner.

And then they say me “ok, but how do I do that, because my executives are not gonna tell me what’s wrong with the company”. And I say “Yeah, your executives are not, but your population of workers is gonna tell you very bland, what’s wrong with the company”. Right? Exercises, for instance, like doing like an open forum collaboration for employees. You know, in IBM we call ’em the Jams. But having that opportunity of spending time where you can tell people “hey, during the course of three days, five days, we’re gonna identify problems that we are facing in the business. So basically, what I’d say that you guys want test to address and fix. And then form their own words, management needs to understand that they need to be open to very very harsh feedback.

Things that they not gonna like. Things that they gonna go like “my god, this employee is gonna be so fired if he continues like that”. They need to keep a very open mentality to try to get as much of that harm that is caused in the business form the employees then whatever happens. And then from their own words, once the employees tell you what problems are there, you can discuss how you gonna prioritize them, how you gonna fight for them, how you gonna solve them with very different groups and everything else. But always, always, involve the people who identify the problem. Why? Because they are the ones who know the problem the best. And then, probably as well, the ones who know how to fix it. So that’s how I’m proposing to number of customers I am talking how they can change. Right? Evaluate the problems you have, and get that input not from the executives, because you know, sometimes the executives are sitting on a different chair than what we are, but get that input, from don’t just the executives but also the from employees. From the people on the trenches. The only ones who can tell you very blankedly what works and what doesn’t work in your company. And how you can fix it.

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