Fellow Officers and Staff-members of the Lopez Group,
Honored Guests, Awardees:
It is my very great pleasure to be here again with all of you for this, the LAA awarding ceremonies. Two years ago, I could not make it because I was out of the country on business. Last year, I failed to make it because, at the last minute, I started feeling unwell. I was determined that nothing should stop me from coming a third consecutive time. So here I am, and I am truly overjoyed to be with all of you once more.
Today, we honor those who have been nominated and adjudged winners of the 2014 Cycle of the Lopez Achievement Awards, for actions and accomplishments that define what we mean by business excellence within the Lopez Group. I would like to add that we also honor those who have been nominated, but not adjudged winners, of the Lopez Achievement Awards. As all of you who have served as members of either the screening committees or the panels of judges for the LAA know, there is a very, very fine line between those who make it to the winner’s circle, and those who don’t. From year to year, that fine line also moves in accordance with the overall standard of excellence demonstrated by all of those who are nominated. While the process compels the selection of winners, and therefore, of non-winners, in my book, all of you are winners and all of you deserve my thanks, my admiration and my respect.
Today, we also honor a new category of awardees, the Unsung Heroes, those who, because of the type of work that they do, are seldom accorded the opportunity to be nominated for our business excellence awards. Over many years, they perform with great dedication, passion, a thirst for excellence and a desire to contribute, but they go unrecognized. Well, over the past couple of years, Gabby has been very insistent that we begin to recognize the worth of such dedicated individuals, and this year, we finally start to do so.
There used to be a time when managing our major businesses seemed more straightforward. Perhaps, this was because of the monopolistic or quasi-monopolistic nature of our businesses. We had the principle companies, like Meralco and ABS-CBN, and they acted like the suns around which all new businesses and ventures, usually quite small or modest, revolved. Our principal companies were stable and relatively predictable. Making new investments did not feel like having to bet the whole house on something new and uncertain.
Today, it seems that every time we decide on a new investment, like ABS-CBN’s Project Horizon or First Gen’s San Gabriel plant or its forthcoming natural gas project, we require huge outlays of capital and resources. Any failure on these new ventures would be catastrophic for us. Hence, we speak of the need for “flawless execution”. We are often also faced with situations where more of the same that have proved successful for us just do not cut it anymore. Businesses and projects we start must be better designed to meet market needs, more technologically advanced, more efficient, more flexible, more embracing of change, more innovative. In the extreme, they may sometimes have to be disruptive. In other words, we are often compelled to step outside of our comfort zones and venture into something better than what we have and are used to. And so here, our strategies must be very clear, our talent sharp and we must squeeze all the synergy we can get from our competencies and organizations.
“Business Excellence” is often described as outstanding practices in managing the organization and achieving results, all based on a set of fundamental concepts or values. To me, that, today, embodies what the Lopez Group is and must continue to be. We have our core values, our adherence to which differentiates us from our competitors and other major players in industry and commerce. We don’t always or immediately meet our own lofty expectations in our businesses or projects, but in choosing and dedicating what we do in the service of the Filipino people, wherever they may be, we stay relevant and grounded. Most of all, the stories we will hear tonight all resonate of the desire and capacity to perform excellently and to execute flawlessly. I can only encourage all of you to keep it up and to take heart from the words of an English business professor and author, Charles Handy, when he says:
”The companies that survive longest are the ones that work out what they uniquely can give to the world not just growth or money but their excellence, their respect for others, or their ability to make people happy. Some call those things a soul.”
And now, a note of caution for the future. By the time we meet here again next year for the 2015 Cycle of the Lopez Achievement Awards, the country will have chosen new leaders. If our country is to continue to make progress towards a higher state of development and living standard, for it is quite evident that we have been making progress in that direction, then it is important that we choose leaders who are honest, who can govern effectively and who can motivate and organize the many disparate sectors of our government and society to work together for the better. Is there, or are there, such leaders? That is something that we will have to carefully assess, and having done so, we owe it to ourselves to do whatever we, individually and collectively, to make sure that right leaders are elected.
So permit me once more to congratulate and salute our awardees this afternoon, winners of both the Lopez Achievement Awards and the Unsung Heroes awards, as well as all of those who were nominated for the awards and those who did the nominating. I would also like to thank the team responsible for directing and implementing the LAA awards program, and all of you who have, in one way or another, contributed to the success of its 2014 Cycle – those who served in the screening committee and as judges, and those who have lent of their time and talent in accepting roles in this afternoon’s festivities.
And now, let’s enjoy the rest of the program.