Posts Tagged ‘IE Diversity Club#8217;


Leadership Vs. Managemet; Diverity Vs. Standarization

Written on December 9, 2015 by Campus Life in Professional, Social

antolinGrupo Antolín is an automotive company that has very humble origins in Burgos (Central Spain) in a car repair family business. Nowadays it has more than 28,000 workers with facilities in 25 countries. They have five principle lines:

• Car interiors
• Non-metal headliners
• Doors
• Seats
• Lighting

In total 4 billion euros of revenue.

Jose Luis shared very personal and relevant experiences about the difficult balance between quality control and diversity in such a complex global structure.

He started with a very funny story in which one of his colleagues tried to apply the motto they learnt at one of the quality update courses they attended “ Standardization is the key to success” But we all know that although you love all your children the same, you cannot treat them all the same. You deal with each of them in a different way.  This is why Diversity is so connected with leadership.

We all know that respect is one of the basic starting points of diversity but also of the vision of a company. While talking about worldwide diversity dealing with workers in developing countries at the same time as first class clients, vision has to be the same but the road map totally different.

EnneagramFurther, Jose Luis highlighted that the enneagram should be a compulsory tool for any manager who leads teams. Even though they are not specialists they should use it to be able to understand diversity. We tend to create teams that resemble our profile but this is a big mistake because we are replicating our strengths without adding value and we are not solving our weaknesses.

He illustrated his thoughts with a very practical example regarding a challenge they faced providing leather seats for a premium brand where appearance is key and no wrinkles are acceptable.

Small details like packaging, logistics, humidity control, and heat are key to be aligned with quality standards because the way the leather adapts to the foam after materials are stacked during transport may change. If the client inserts a new variable in the procedures that have a direct relationship with delivered quality without notifying the owner of the value chain (in this case Antolin) this then becomes an issue. With the seat example, Antolin has the seats traveling from the provider in Switzerland to the sewing facility in Morocco and to the assembly in Spain, imagine how just a simple change from the client can impact this entire process.

Standardization is key for guaranteeing good result!  It is not the same if you stack 30 units or 20, the weight leaves marks that afterwards become wrinkles. The order in which you sew the different pieces. When diversity enters in the equation things become more complex.

Jose Luis was in charge of opening Antolin’s Morocco plant. We all had our stereotype assumptions about Moroccan workers. Did you know many of them cannot read or write? While it is true that their rhythm is slower, Jose Luis assured us that they are more disciplined than Spaniards but less creative… Spaniards like to improvise! This is a strength in certain jobs but not in standardized procedures. In the end their results are better.

With regard to management objectives. There are three types of companies:

Type A: Driven mainly by instincts no fixed goals and therefore no standardization
Type B: Very focused on goals of different departments, it happens very often that they are independent and not aligned. It is very easy in this business model that people start lying, manipulating figures.
Type C: Action plan is the driver, there are goals but action plans are the main focus. Action plan is the best way to cope with a certain problem.

• First you decide what to measure, you should always be able to measure (for example in his example how many wrinkles can I afford?)
• Afterwards you define actions
• You decide who is the owner
• Timeline to solve the problem
• Measurement of the effectiveness of the plan
• Finally I improve my indicator

Very often immature companies want to go from the problem to the indicator directly. It is a big mistake.

When talking about RSC or Diversity policies they used to offer coffee for everyone but there is people who do not like coffee. He gave us a very good example regarding safety regulations that for Antolin are totally standardized no matter the country or culture. In all plants it is required to use safety shoes. In Morocco there was a huge rejection but, as said, there is not possible negotiation regarding safety. After some months the doctor of the plant reported that half of workforce had fungus in their feet. The reason was easy as they were not used to use closed-toe shoes, they did not have the habit to properly dry their feet after washing them during prayer. That was something they addressed by adapting the roadmap to the new reality but keeping the vision the same.


Diversity Coffee with Amadeus IT Group

Written on December 3, 2015 by Campus Life in Professional, Social

cofee amadeus  (3)Today we had the pleasure of chatting with Malek Nejjai the Chief Diversity Officer for Amadeus IT Group. Amadeus is a technology company dedicated to the global travel industry. They are present in 195 countries and employ over 12,200 people worldwide. Ms. Nejjai shared valuable insight about her role and her organization, which she described as a “defacto diverse company.” Here are some of the highlights from what we discussed:

1. Amadeus is a “defacto diverse company” because they were founded by 4 airlines from different European countries (Iberia, Air France, Lufthansa, and SAS) and therefore, their corporate culture is influenced by all the cultures from these countries.

2. In the IT sector they have experienced an exodus of female tech talent. She thinks one of the reasons is because men don’t make it easy for women to work in this sector. She gave guys in the room great advice: “Consider what would you do if this were your sisters or daughters that encountered this cofee amadeus  (5)issue?”

3. Did you know? In the US, women make 77 cents of every dollar. This means women have to work 77 days more than men per year to make up for it. And in fact, we are only expected to reach parity until 2095!

4. For her, as the CDO, she always strives to make sure people feel comfortable because diversity impacts a company’s financials, innovation, creativity and it breaks the status quo.

5. Diversity is a shared responsibility of people, society and companies and while Amadeus is not always publicly advertising their diversity initiatives, it is certainly a priority and at the core of everything they do.

Zoraida Velasco


Why diversity matters at Mckinsey

Written on November 23, 2015 by Campus Life in Other Activities, Professional, Social

mckinseyThe IE Diversity club and IE Women in Business club organized another successful event. Maria del Mar Martinez, Director from Mckinsey came to explain “Why Diversity Matters”. There are two details in Maria del Mar career that tell us a lot about Mckinsey leadership as well as hers. She was appointed partner while she was on a part time program after her maternity making her one of the first female partners in Iberia.

After moderating her brilliant presentation I received several messages of students saying it was a great and inspiring conversation, and so it was indeed!

She combined corporate figures with personal insights, which is what I personally enjoyed the most.

73% companies set gender as a priority and believe there is a case, mainly focusing in two targets: best brains and coping with customer demographics. But more and more women want to be there, and although there is not a causality relation there is a correlation between those corporations having, not one or two, but three women at the top and a healthier bottom line.

Further to Maria del Mar there are still four barriers: Structural obstacles; life style, that is continuously changing, not only for women but also for men who are changing the balance of time and the way they devote to work; Institutional biases, for example, women are promoted more often further due to their performance and men for their potential; and lastly, the individual mindset.

I totally agree with her, Diversity advancement is significant only when it´s a mandate from the top, further to her data only 54% of professionals think that their CEO is visibly committed with gender diversity …. 47% of women and 61% of men.

With regard to her personal insights. She gave general recommendations and ended with some specific advice for women.

  • Take the reins
  • Do not fear
  • Set goals and go for them
  • Be optimistic
  • Look for and exploit your energy sources.

She insisted a lot in the importance of feedback, we have to learn how to give it and receive it. Do not be defensive when you receive feedback and do not take it personally.

And specifically for women who want to lead:

  • Choose well your companion, it is a long and difficult way
  • Organization! You have to delegate at home and at work
  • Personal reflection
  • Contribute to other women successful career.

Elevating house keeping to an Art!

Written on October 27, 2015 by Campus Life in Professional, Social

marta stewartAmbassador Costos and Mr. Smith have a strong determination to increase knowledge and recognition of the Spanish Brand in their country.

Some weeks ago our students and alumni had the opportunity to discuss fashion and luxury, with nobody less than Anna Wintour and Martha Stewart! Mr. Smith interviews her in front of a group of young entrepreneurs, mainly women! Inspiring and fun, but also very didactic and realistic! Very often we have the fake impression that to be an entrepreneur we only have to have a great idea and borrow some money from family and faithful friends to became rich. Nothing further away from reality!

After her university graduation she went straight to Wall Street in order to learn from the best. Entrepreneurial spirit is a vocation but it also requires skill and knowledge, and of course, it´s also a trial and error process in which failure is a part of success. One advice! The sooner you recover, the better, and back to work. She has also committed mistakes, mainly by not choosing correctly with whom to work with. It is important to choose appropriate people who you can trust and who have the same objectives!

Curiously! She confesses she has pictures, notes and pinned materials all around her, she is interested in learning about EVERYTHING, there are new ideas everywhere.

Fearless! She is never satisfied and is always ready for change, or as she describes it, evolution, and is also prepared to do a lot of hard work, being an entrepreneur is a synonym of working very hard.

Focus, focus, focus: she repeats this like a mantra. Her other advice to success while starting up is looking for ways to make money from the first steps. 

It was nice as a Spaniard to realize her deep admiration of our creators and entrepreneurs. It is great to have the recognition of such a role model who was once very flattered by her neighbor who told her that she had the ability to elevate the home –not house- keeping to an art!, by the way, the neighbors name was Steven Spielberg.

It was so nice to see some of our students among the attendees! It is important they realize how meaningful these opportunities are, even better than staying at home studying the next exam or sleeping a siesta.

I deeply regret not being able to attend the presentation Malek Nejjai from Amadeus did last Friday with the IE Diversty club, but they told me we had a waiting list and in the end we did not have full attendance! I always say that you configure your Master, and in the end your success, by choosing how you invest your time!

Margarita Alonso

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