Year-End Greetings to My Colleagues at Grupo Salinas (2018)
It is time to pause to reflect on what we have achieved together, analyze our environment and the challenges we face, and imagine new horizons. If we take the time to meditate, the past always offers us valuable lessons that we can apply when we have our sights set on the future.Our businesses continue their march forward, while we expand to new industries where we offer innovative products and services that generate value for our customers.
To improve our performance, this year, we decided to adopt the Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) methodology to measure progress toward our goals in all of our businesses. This system has been adopted by some of the leading technology companies worldwide with excellent results. Like everything we do at Grupo Salinas, this tool will become a habit that aids us in achieving excellence as we move towards our objectives with clarity of purpose. All this has to do with one of our principle values: Execution.
On the first of July, Mexican citizens expressed themselves clearly at the polls, demanding a change in the country’s direction. The new government has a clear mandate to end corruption, eradicate poverty, and put an end to the cycle of violence that has sown terror in many regions of the country. It is our duty as citizens to look to the future with optimism and responsibility, and to help the new government successfully fulfill its mandate.
From my perspective, Mexico faces serious challenges on three fundamental issues: (1) Freedom, (2) the Rule of Law, and (3) Prosperity.
Freedom: without this quality, humanity does not exist. In my opinion, among all the freedoms, there are two that serve as cornerstone of the others: freedom of expression and freedom of enterprise. Without the first, we will be unable to defend with arguments all the others; and without the second, we will not have material independence from those who exercise political power— as is the case in socialist countries. The opposite of freedom is authoritarianism, something that we must avoid at all costs. Fortunately, our country is deeply liberal: Mexicans love liberty, but we must be careful to not to move towards the other extreme, anarchy, which destroys the Rule of Law.
Rule of Law: under this model we must consider governance and security. Terribly, in our country we have lost on these two fronts. The Rule of the Law is a liberal concept in that it prevents the individual freedoms of each person from interfering with that of all others, a case that is especially important to the relationship between those in power and the governed. A State exists precisely to provide security to people.
Prosperity: Over the last 25 years, our country has made significant progress in this area. Many do not remember, but in the 70s and 80s the crises were recurring and devastating— the middle class practically disappeared. In modern Mexico, although the national product— which is measured using outdated methods— shows low growth, the progress is constant over 33 consecutive quarters of growth, but in regions linked to free market development the progress is simply spectacular. Consider states like Querétaro, Guanajuato, or Nuevo León, where there exists an outstanding dynamism that contrasts with underdevelopment in states such as Oaxaca or Chiapas. The only way to close this gap is to encourage competition and attract private investment to the regions and states where progress is lagging.
But, moving beyond economic development, our task as a company must be the pursuit of Inclusive Prosperity that, in addition to economic value, also considers Social Value and Environmental Value— fundamental concepts that we have already discussed in this space.
Our Challenges as a Company
Recently, I came across a text by Seth Godin where he describes corporate mediocrity. He outlines three types:
- Indifferent Mediocrity: that is where all employees have given up doing things in a better way. It is directly proportional to the scale of the business.
- Focused Mediocrity: where the performance of the organization is intentionally mediocre. It is standardization for the sake of standardization that generates average, insignificant products. It is the act of pursuing the banal so that the greatest number of people feel satisfied enough not to complain.
- Accidental Mediocrity: that is when people have not realized that they are not achieving excellence in their daily activities.
At Grupo Salinas there is no room for any kind of mediocrity, in any of our businesses and at any level. In fact, I can say that our success is based on the relentless fight against mediocrity in all its forms.
Therefore, we must thank the competition: one day they copy a concept of enormous value to our customers, which in turn increases the value in the market— and this forces us to question everything, to be better, and to offer new products and services, with greater reach, in an endless cycle of improvement, as Matt Ridley describes so well in The Red Queen. Competition is the essential attribute that moves the market economy and allows for ever higher levels of development; something that does not exist in socialist countries where the government monopolizes all productive activity.
Competition forces us to innovate, and this fundamental activity can only be done when there is freedom of action and competition. Competition and innovation have created an enormous level of well-being for humanity over the centuries, especially from the introduction of the capitalist model to human activity. This model has allowed us to make great strides in the fight against poverty and ignorance.
What Does the Future Hold?
Regardless of whether we face a global economic slowdown, if we continue to generate Inclusive Prosperity we will continue to do very well. This is precisely the meaning of the Inclusive Prosperity concept: that we all do well.
Over 112 years of corporate history we have shown that, at Grupo Salinas, we are working people who, over time, have been able to overcome unimaginable challenges— from the Mexican Revolution to the endless crises of the 70s and 80s that put us on the verge of bankruptcy.
Despite a complicated environment, I consider myself a Rational Optimist. Uncertainty is a reality that we face every day and knowing how confront it is fundamental to overcome it successfully.
At Grupo Salinas we have always challenged the incumbents, in all the industries where we participate— from television broadcasting, to consumer banking, to telecommunications and securities brokerage. This has forced us to be more agile, efficient, and innovative, and to anticipate the trends of every industry where we participate.
At Grupo Salinas, we are committed to achieving a better society for all. In the end we will not take anything beyond the grave— we are obliged to leave a better country to our children and a better planet for future generations. Working for the prosperity of thousands of communities, in an environment full of enthusiasm, is a huge privilege that fills us with pride.
Mexico is a great and strong country, which will continue to advance, driven by unstoppable youth and citizens eager to forge the future. This is the force that will lead the country to development. It is our responsibility to support the dreams of our youth to build, day by day, a better nation.
We can be proud of what we have achieved together, but our enthusiasm should be even greater when we think about the great potential for advancement that we have. At Grupo Salinas we will never be satisfied: we know that living with intensity requires finding new challenges, new goals, and new horizons.
Here, year after year, we create more companies, more businesses, and more sources of Inclusive Prosperity. For us, all of this represents increasing opportunities to bring well-being to our families.
I personally appreciate your efforts, talent, professionalism, and dedication during 2018. To you, your families, and all who share in this space, I wish you reflection and peace during these holidays, prosperity in 2019, and personal growth in the years to come.