My letter presenting the financial statements for 2019 comes during a period in which the Covid-19 pandemic has forcefully limited our freedom and slowed our activities. All of the Group’s main processes are active, allowing us to reduce the negative impact of the pandemic and be ready to seize the opportunities that will necessarily arise once the contagion restrictions are slackened. The extraordinary growth experienced over the last ten years has not been the result of a fortunate sequence of circumstances but the realization of strategies that have increased our diversity, complexity and therefore minimized risks. A complexity that has led to the management of processes becoming more strenuous but, by offering our customers a basis of diversification with regard to geography, technology and commercial proposition, the Group’s resilience has been amplified and has allowed us to consider long-term prospects.
The market and its players are increasingly characterized by dizzying changes and each new change appears to require its own toll. The time in which a company may leave the market is, in this context, has also become progressively shorter. Just because a company is large and has a history of success and good economic performance does not in itself mean that it is too big to fail.
We should face the market and govern companies with “infinite” vision and perspective. In an infinite perspective, what really matters is to continue to be on the market, without the short-term view of who is winning or the best at any given time. Our companies are far too often focused on short-term objectives, the next quarter, the next balance sheet or the when the entrepreneur passes the hand, leading to lower growth and profitability in the long-term. As a matter of fact, incentives for management are also based on short term objectives, often determined a priori.
If we were to adopt an “infinite” view, we should think of our companies as being strong enough and solid enough to remain on the market for many generations. In my opinion, this approach also leads to better results in the short term. Great leaders organize their companies to remain successful on the market even after they have gone and, if they succeed in their intent, the benefits for the company and the share o includes technological and environmental the strongest of the species that survive, but the one more responsive to environmental change.
To be sustainable and overcome periods of crisis, such as the one we are in at the moment, companies should have long-term objectives that strengthen the sense of belonging perceived by collaborators so that they feel that their work serves a greater goal than mere remuneration for their efforts. Protect people and the environment in which they live and work, offering continuous training and ways of reconciling time spent at work with time spent in everyday personal affairs. By promoting activities compatible with the environment and within the circular and sustainable economy. Reward merit as the only way to guarantee gender equality and corporate diversity. Do not cultivate a welfare culture or as Professor Ricolfi wrote towards a parasite society, but reward the enterprise and those who get involved and find solutions even in times of crisis.
Many corporate leaders think that their job is to extract as much as possible from their employees. This is wrong. We must create a working environment that allows everyone to give their best and reach their natural limit. Generate profit is the necessary condition to enable the other two points. Use technology as the sole tool that allows you to reconcile growth and sustainability. Support businesses that take risks and leave their comfort zone to explore new territories. Furthermore, support those who get involved rather than constructing a parasitical company. Many more companies will go bankrupt but we must create the conditions for many more companies to arise and have fertile ground. Italy has not provided this fertile ground for far too long.
Today more than ever before we must reconcile daily action to make our companies able to overcome the contingent crisis while making the most of the moment to enact courageous decisions for the long-term future that will allow our company to look optimistically forward to the next few years and subsequent generations. As always, the cultural theme of training people is the key to determining the success of each and every initiative and project we put forward.
"Success is not final,
failure is not fatal:
it is the courage to continue that counts".
Sir Winston Churchill
Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Venaria Reale, 5th May 2020