A professor at a management school in Barcelona has been starting his classes for three years by asking the students an apparently simple question: “If you were the CEO, what ten indicators would you like to see monthly to see how your company is doing?” It is an exercise that more than 300 students of different ages and nationalities have already gone through, but each time it concludes with results that are as coincidental as they are worrying. And it is that, despite the emergence of a large number of indicators, more than 95% are always reduced to the economic sphere (such as sales, profit or ebitda) and approximately 5% are aimed at customer loyalty. But there is nothing else. In these hypothetical scorecards, there are never objectives referring to workers, suppliers, social agents, or even the environment.
The professor takes the opportunity to claim the existence of much more holistic management models, which base their success on the balanced satisfaction of the different interest groups that revolve around an organization. They are the so-called conscious companies, which understand the economic result as the logical consequence of a responsible and committed strategy.
“How is it possible that we haven't included a single indicator of work environment or CO₂ emissions?” asked a student from the last group that carried out this activity, disappointed with herself. "Well, because the social values that we preach have not yet succeeded in changing a deeply rooted paradigm that associates business success with economic results," a colleague responded with a certain resignation tone.
Certainly, while new ways of conceiving and running companies open up, we continue dragging the inertia of the old voracious capitalism, which resists under more modern and youthful guises. A good example is the famous unicorns, which have become benchmarks of entrepreneurial glory, since they are companies that manage to exceed 1,000 million dollars in valuation in a few years of life. "Spain already has nine unicorns", recently highlighted a prestigious economic newspaper, taking for granted the goodness of the news.
The problem is that to obtain the unicorn title, only one parameter of economic growth is required, without considering variables of a social or environmental nature. In fact, by not asking, you don't even ask for financial profitability. Only dimension and billing. A model that appears very well portrayed in the television series We crashed, inspired by the true story of the WeWork company, which grew enormously thanks to the unquestionable magnanimity that it was granted by being a promising startup, based on technology and driven by the ambition of young dreamers. . Empty concepts to feed a giant with feet of clay, which ended up collapsing.
If the unicorns achieve a valuation of 1,000 million, but are based on models that generate precariousness instead of well-being, it will always be better to have companies that are more similar to a milk cow, without so much mythological varnish, but with a vocation to add value to their customers. , dignity to its workers, collaboration to its suppliers, prosperity to its community, respect for its natural environment and benefit to its investors. A strategy that also has its mirror image in the ten indicators that the CEO reviews every month.