40th day of lockdown. I just finished the last conference call of the day with part of the team. I turn off the computer. But even after pressing the off key, it’s hard to get them out of my mind. The team as a whole, and each one in particular. On the one hand, I’m grateful and satisfied to have them on the team of this exciting project, and on the other, I’m worried, of course, about the uncertain and challenging times, personally speaking, that some of them are going through.
You might have a team, but maybe they aren’t team players. You can have great professionals who may lack passion and drive. But in our case, the people who have joined Hispano Suiza have an attitude and believe so much in the project of reviving such a legendary brand that they are the key to keep it going. Their passion, loyalty, unconditional support and enthusiasm are fundamental. Fortunately, these values come as standard in our team. But we mustn’t forget to acknowledge them, highlight them and promote them.
Because studying and becoming an expert in engineering, design, marketing, mechanics or business administration can prepare you to be a good professional, but not necessarily to feel the team spirit of the company you’re in, nor to become emotionally attached to it.
In this sense, in these past 40 days of confinement, adjusting to the new reality and teleworking, internal communication has become even more important in the company. I’ve always considered it essential to make the team more cohesive, more committed if possible to the project. Communication that’s close, friendly, honest and transparent where, in addition to informing, motivates; through which communication flows top-down and bottom-up and that listens almost more than talks, that generates dialogue. It may sound cliché, but listening (and not just hearing) has often helped me to realize that everyone has something to say, no matter how unimportant it may seem to them, and this listening establishes more connections and bonds than any windy promise.
In our case we’re a small company, fewer than 50 people, and this enables us to have a very friendly, personal contact. However, this proximity does not detract from the fact that professionals also need public recognition. That’s why we’ve also begun to make the series of interviews #HispanoSuizaTalks where I make a point of speaking (remotely) and getting to know several members of the team through talks that are teaching me a lot of things.
In internal communication, the involvement of the CEO or leader is paramount, in fact, an IC plan will never be effective without their commitment. Because it’s true that technology has provided us with many tools to facilitate contact and streamline many communications, but it isn’t a question of tools, it’s a question of attitude and participation by the business owner and middle management.
We’re not talking about large investments or major developments, but about empathy. Because just as in our personal lives we’re motivated by stories and captivated by details, teams and their people also want to be captivated by you. For example, the other day I used my birthday as an excuse to invite everyone to make a toast (via Zoom, of course). You have to be present, be constant, involve the whole team and not only speak with your head, but also with your heart.
A few weeks ago I read, according to figures by Trade Press Services, that 85% of workers say they’re more motivated when their leaders give them regular updates about their business or company. It’s clear, isn’t it? The actions of those of us in positions of responsibility clearly drive the participation of the rest of the team.
Sergio Martínez Campos
CEO, Hispano Suiza