The day dawned bright and sunny. During breakfast, I did repeat that wonderful cereal, bread available in most hotels in Germany, this one a very small one near the previous border between West and East Germany. What a huge variety they have. Following that wonderful start of the day I walked into the appointment, still with time to stop and observe the milestone that marks the old border.

We reached the new built premises in the former East Germany, was greeted with great care and attention and, always very efficiently, were immediately taken to the meeting room where the freshest coffee and assorted crackers were already waiting for us at our discretion. We waited just some moments for the company´s CEO and, after initial greetings and introductions, the meeting started with no more delays. I led the discussions and was translating it into English as we progressed.

Details were clarified and some steps forward were taken, in relation to the project we were discussing, with some new data and information coming onto the table. The preparatory phases for launching a new product or service in the market are very demanding. It is very important to do things right from the very beginning… or at least to work seriously on it.

One needs to be prepared to invest time and resources in research, analysis, understanding the market trends and what makes it tick, identify the players, establish the objectives, the strategy to achieve them, capitalize on the strengths and overcoming the weaknesses, establish the right structure, logistics… already tired? Think first before you move on. Without a clear picture of the targeted market and without understanding it from various angles, it is impossible to establish the most appropriate launching program for a new product or service.

This becomes even more important when the product or service are not an innovation in the market as differentiation becomes a real challenge.

Unfortunately, our Project Manager, an excellent person, frustrated our expectations. He was insecure and poorly prepared, casting doubt on his ability to successfully lead the project for which he was hired. On the following day, a serious conversation took place in a truly professional environment. It was a come-to- Jesus moment resulting in the end of the contractual relationship. Today, more than ever, time is too precious. Losing time means losing opportunities and the market is unforgiving towards companies that do not understand this reality. We face today a very difficult and challenging market environment which stresses how important it is to take decisions when they have to be taken. Loosing time makes things much harder.

After the meeting, and whilst talking to the CEO of this company, I brought up the subject of the relationship between the company and the union. He looked at me with a smile in his face and said with pride and satisfaction:

We have neither works council nor trade union representation. Our workers feel happy and thankful for the job opportunities we have created for them. We are the company that employs more people in the region and everyone knows and recognizes how huge the investment we have made is. They are thankful. We trust them and they are totally committed.”

How wonderful! It would be nice if this would always be the case. Unfortunately, not the case in most companies, neither in Portugal nor in other countries in the world I guess. How often do we find a real “fusion” between those who created the conditions to hire people and those who have been hired and are thankful for that?

Does every demagogic discussion around this matter, showing those who invested their savings in the creation of a company in a bad light, (savings that were achieved as a result of serious and honest work), affect the relationship between entrepreneurs and their workers?

The risks that entrepreneurs run, when they could have used their savings in pure fun throughout his life, working for others, is often undervalued and not recognized. Starting with those who have a decent work, paid and paid on time.

In the meetings that I have with my clients, I find that in fact, the greatest challenge, is for them to have dedicated people working for them that realize they are being rewarded for their work and more importantly, feel grateful for it. Few are those who understand and recognize that the greater their contribution, the greater the safety at work and more likely the possibility to see their conditions improved. For many entrepreneurs, the difficulties begin when they need to hire additional people, since many prefer the unemployment money and the good life without responsibilities than to take on a job offer – Please notice I wrote work.

(Note: I am referring to clients I have in Portugal)

Finally, I would like to share the opinion that there should be more responsibility on the part of those who have access and dominate the media. An organization works perfectly when there is a perfect symbiosis between their leaders, partners or not, and employees.

It is sad that many who talk, talk, talk and do nothing, continue to dominate the media, people such as politicians, commentators and related. They do not know the real country or maybe they do not want to know, firstly because they do not know many of them truly what the word work really means, and secondly, it does not really interest them because the reality is quite different from the one on which they base their fallacies.

What are your thoughts on it? Let us know your comments.

Post by José Ferreira Duarte

This post is also available in: Portuguese (Portugal)