“Covid-19 has highlighted the fact that it is companies that we need to keep our society balanced and not business enterprises”

Xavier Marcet

Xavier Marcet, the founder and President of the Lead to Change innovation consultancy, has given a virtual lecture entitled “The great challenges faced by family businesses in the time of Covid-19“. In the session, held jointly by the Catalan Association of Family Businesses (ASCEF) and the Cambra Chair of Family Business of the University of Girona on 11 November, he discussed the great challenges facing family businesses: the perspective of people, customer centrality and the sum of intelligence, talent and leadership.

Mr Marcet began by highlighting the importance of the difference between companies and business enterprises. “A company is a community of people with a purpose, to survive by creating customers but it always revolves around people: it generates employment and has a very important and deep-rooted history and ties to the territory; while a business enterprise can capture a great deal of value but contributes little to society,” he explained. “The problem we have with these business enterprises is that many times they are not linked to the territory, to employment or to the growth of society.

What we need to keep our society balanced are companies, communities of people where people are counted on, history is considered and there is a memory,” Mr Marcet said. “And Covid-19 has done nothing but emphasise all this.

Mr Marcet stressed throughout the session that this people’s perspective “is a key, fundamental element that characterises companies. If people are respected, customers are respected.” He went on to say that companies must not stop thinking about customers “and not stop thinking about what they need and that they do not know how to express. Not today, but tomorrow.

The coronavirus pandemic “has made it more than evident that not everything can be planned because the situation is changing every week.” In this regard, he said that “the dynamics to which we were accustomed have changed. We need to have a vision, a strategy, but to plan less. We must be able to adapt this strategy and planning in a world that changes faster than our ability to plan.

Why are we talking about flexibility? Because the world is moving fast, fluidly, and we need to be able to take decisions with uncertainty“, Mr Marcet added before explaining that, with regard to talent, “its flow, both in and out, is important“. Concerning leadership, he said that a good leader “has the ability to propose the vision and exemplify rather than to give good speeches; He is not someone who adds but who multiplies.

Finally, regarding the situation in Catalonia and what would be needed, Mr Marcet said that “it is very important to be able to maintain companies that have given us our identity, companies with the will to exist and to grow. Not just thinking about having ideas but also about implementing them.