Shared dreams

I must admit. Usually, I have a lack of faith in GMs. Most of them live isolated in their strategy bubble, talking from time to time with those dealing with tactics and hardly ever with operations. In fact, I truly believe that real change in an organisation is indeed led by operations, not by the board of directors. In fact, often change has already happened in operations when the board, totally unaware of it, decide to launch a transformation project.

However, and after having a very positive experience within a company I am beginning to know from the inside, today I will break a spear for all those authentic, inspiring GMs out there. Here I go. The company I’m talking about is an iconic Spanish brand founded 75 years ago. Nowadays, it is managed by the two sons of the founder, both belonging to the baby boomer generation. Both HR & Retail directors contacted me to lead a session about storytelling & neurosales for a Store Managers event. To my surprise, a few days prior to the session, one of the two Presidents, the one who worked closer with the stores, contacted me. He wanted to meet me and talk about the content of my workshops, as he would close the session after me and he wanted to give a speech that lined up with my message. I was very positively impacted by his interest. Usually, no GM wants to know my content beforehand to make sure it matches with his or her speech. In fact, very few GMs attend my workshops when I am conducting them for operational roles (while they always attend the ones addressed to the board of directors). On the workshop day, the President came on time and followed my workshop with full attention. When I finished, he stood up and, visibly moved, he addressed the Store Managers with a very emotional and sincere message: thanks to them, this brand was, 75 years after its very first day, a dream come true. Then, every single Store Manager, some of them with tears in their eyes, spontaneously hugged the President who hugged them back while he greeted them, one by one, by their names.

It was the first time I saw operational profiles sincerely hugging a President who hugged them back with the same emotion. “We all love him”, the HR and Retail Directors told me during the workshop. They both came from big, important companies and they talked with true recognition about the daily life in the company they now worked for. I then understood the longevity of this brand and why it didn’t have any competitors in the Spanish market. Back home, I tried to remember the last time I heard someone using the verb “to love” in a company.

The session was really refreshing and inspiring. My daily purpose, in every project I do, is to bridge the terrible gap that exists between strategy, tactics and operations and which leads so many companies to bankruptcy. I really strive to flatten the pyramid structure, trying to bring together management and operations (the ones who are closer to the client), to make them work with a common understanding. Such is the real competitive advantage of an organisation. The dream of a 75-year-old company is the same dream this shaker fights for every day. And the good thing about shared dreams is that, all together, we can make them come true.

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