Lopez Inc. SEVP Benjamin R. Lopez
I'm curious, have any of you seen the movie, “American Sniper,” ? It's the new film directed by Clint Eastwood, which has been nominated for an Oscar. It's based on the true story of Chris Kyle, the legendary marksman of the US Navy Seals. I found this an appropriate movie to talk about, not because of the violence and the story line, but because of the excellence that he displayed in mastering his craft.
In one of the scenes, the student-snipers were in a firing range, and their trainer explained to them: “If you want to hit the bulls-eye again and again, your whole body has to be focused on that one single target. Every cell in your body has to be focused on that target, so that pressing the trigger is something you are not even conscious of. It is simply part of one fluid motion.”
For me, this applies as well to our goal of achieving excellence. We need to focus on it, and to keep at it, until we automatically, subconsciously, make excellence a part of whatever we do every single day. To paraphrase Aristotle , the Greek philosopher, “Excellence is not something we do once in a while. Excellence is a habit.”
I was reading what Cedie, my sister, said in her opening remarks at the LAA Summit last year, and one of her observations was that the Lopez Achievement Awards asks all of us to aim high.
She said, “We are now seeing a new generation of Filipinos who dream big and whose talents and achievements are – in various fields of endeavor –comparable with the best in the world…
“The Lopez Achievement Awards is one way by which our companies and foundations are encouraging our fellow employees – and perhaps their own families and other people they come in contact with – to aim high. To push the envelope, so to speak, and to stretch their imaginations and abilities to heights they previously may have thought were impossible to reach.”(end of quote)
For over a decade now, the LAA has recognized and rewarded team and individual achievements that were exceptional, even astounding,for their innovativeness and for their business and social impact. As a rule, these achievements were the product of collaboration, group analysis, innovative solutions, and calculated risk-taking.
Strategy is always important, but it's the flawless execution of these strategies which is absolutely necessary for us to succeed. Many times our attempts may miss the mark, and so we need to continue to work at it until that breakthrough moment happens when we can hit that Bulls eye over and over again.
Underpinning these achievements are our Group values. They push us, motivate us, and enables us to dream big, to aim high, and outdo ourselves so that we perform beyond our wildest expectations.
In a few minutes, We will all be witness to those companies that have displayed these cherished values in their respective fields. They are the winners, and now also the leaders, who will show us the way forward.
This year, as most of you may know, is when the ASEAN economic integration begins. We will gradually begin to feel the effects of this, through a freer flow of goods, services, and labor across the region. More competition on the one hand, but more opportunity on the other. This is the challenge. This is our challenge. The Lopez Group must become even more effective, innovative, responsive and ultimately more competitive.
To quote one of the most effective and endearing teachers I had the privilege to meet, Ms. Ellen Zaldarriaga, my daughter's grade 4 teacher, who inspired her students with the saying, "Good, better, best, never let it rest until your good is better, and your better is your best". We in the Lopez Group should continue to push the limits of that bar of excellence. It will be a stretch, a leap, a thinking outside the box, inside the box, around the box, perhaps even changing the box?
Are we ready? Are we ready to become like that legendary marksman in that movie ? The presentations to be made of our recent LAA winners will show that we do have what it takes.
Let me leave you all with this quote which, I think,is the end result and sums up the efforts of all the winners the past 10 years and the winners to come in the next 400 years that the Lopez group will be in existence. The quote, of course, is from none other than our Chariman Emeritus, Oscar M. Lopez, he said, "Our ultimate long-term objective must be that the businesses should endure and prosper long after we are gone, fulfilling its maximum potential. Profit is not the sole, nor even the most important corporate objective. Survival is. And to survive, any business or corporation must be useful to the society it serves."(end of quote)
Thank you ladies and gentlemen and I hope you have an enriching and productive afternoon.