Believe it. Live it! by our Senior Leadership Group
2015 definitely had its share of significant international and regional events.
Headlines from around the world included: Oil prices drop. China stock market crashes. World leaders strike deal for climate change.
How do some of these events affect the BMMI world? The Communications team sat down with the Senior Leadership Group (SLG) to find out what they had to say about last year and their advice on what we need to do collectively in order to stay ahead of the competition and make 2016 a year to remember.
Gordon Boyle, President & CEO
I would like to start this Believe it, Live it! by getting right down to the key facts that we all must be aware of in 2016. We cannot ignore the events unfolding when it comes to the price of commodities, especially the price of oil, which is greatly influenced by the slowdown of the Chinese economy.
All across the GCC and Africa, the financial impact is being felt and there is no escaping the fact that these events and others are keeping us on our toes. Robert, Ammar and I are working closely together with the Board to ensure we make the right decisions at the right time. Too often when there is major economic change, particularly change that is perceived as negative, the initial reaction is to stop investing, whether it’s in new business ventures or cost reductions through redundancies.
Over the years, when I've been through difficult times I have frequently seen that those who are brave enough to invest during hard times, end up big winners when the good times return. I personally experienced this during the 1980s when Margaret Thatcher, the then British Prime Minister, inflicted some painful medicine on the UK, in order to restructure the economy which was at the time highly non-competitive when compared to other leading developed economies. The company I worked for at the time decided to invest big during the restructure and when the painful medicine worked, the company gained market share and improved profits when the good times returned.
This year I hope to get support from all of you, in order that we can swim upstream. This basically means that we don't just follow blindly what others are doing but be brave and swim against the current. We will become stronger during tough times, if we are bold enough to invest while others stand still. If we venture to where others chose not to go, then as I mentioned earlier, when the good times return we will be ahead of the competition. Your support is a key requirement. If you are not willing to change and do what is needed to succeed, then we are doomed from the start.
Accept this challenge to adapt and change, I know we will not only be good swimmers who swim upstream but great ones. So let's get started and make 2016 a year to remember. A year where we did not run away from our challenges, but rather a year where we confronted our brutal reality, spurring us further and faster down the road from good to great.
Robert Smith, EVP – Contract Services & Supply
I think it’s safe to say I have never seen the frequency or speed of change as I have done over the last few years. Innovation continues to drive how we communicate and shape how we all interact. I sometimes reflect back on how we operated before the Internet, before cell phones, before clever ways of making presentations and before social media.
Media surrounds us 24/7 and news spreads like wild fire! Of course we all sadly know drama sells! This onslaught of news is difficult to break away from, but essential if we are to live happy and successful lives. Through strong social ties with our friends, family and colleagues we can be positive and filter out all the negativity so we can create our own positive news cycle.
This digital age brings me to another observation. I am constantly being surprised and excited by the confidence and ability of our young BMMI colleagues. The ability to communicate with each other effectively, to share and test ideas, comfortably, with trust, to ask for and offer support without any motive other than to drive mutual success. These discussions and action plans on cross-divisional development that will ultimately make BMMI not only a more successful company, but also a great place to work. It’s also important for us as a company as we navigate through very powerful economic and social challenges that surround us.
So my message for 2016 is, let’s all work harder on communication and mutual support to help make the right decisions and to execute our business plans as effectively as we can, utilising all the knowledge, skills and ideas that are available to us.
Ammar Aqeel Alhassan – CFO & EVP – Support
As we draw a close to 2015 and begin 2016, we are finding ourselves in a particularly challenging business environment. Mounting tensions and disappointing economic indicators translate to investor caution and a reduced appetite for investment and growth. However, well before 2015, we anticipated difficult times and as a result we proactively directed our efforts to building an even stronger foundation for our business.
Our Alosra business, for instance, continues to ‘grow profitably’ in Bahrain, as well as Saudi. After our first full year of operations in 2015, our flagship restaurants, Café Amsterdam and La Vinoteca Barcelona, registered remarkable growth in sales and have turned a healthy profit. We succeeded to secure new and renewed facility management contracts in Gabon and Sudan. Our Beverages and Consumer businesses were successful in acquiring additional strategic agencies, accelerating the growth of these businesses. There are obviously many more proud achievements that took place in 2015, but it would be too lengthy to detail them all in this communication.
Success is difficult to come by, especially in challenging times. I have three simple tips for my colleagues:
Constantly source new opportunities for growth
Delight customers by offering exceptional service
Do more with less
You will find large amounts of support and on recognition for success achieved by using the above. We have set ourselves some stretching growth targets for 2016 but I firmly believe that we have a winning team that is capable of delivering extraordinary results. We would not have come close to our achievements in 2015 without your unwavering dedication and spirit of performance. I am honoured and as excited as ever to join you on our 2016 journey and beyond!