one may not be right for another. Besides, we don't use a lot of corporate words, we're just very practical and realistic. We like to help people tailor the right programmes for themselves, rather than prescribe a work/life ratio. This way they can grow into the best person they can be and prioritise their time accordingly. For example, our sales team and brand ambassadors; we often talk about them working two jobs because they may come in to the office during the day, but then need to go and visit their customers in bars and restaurants at night. It’s not sustainable, so we want to give them the flexibility and responsibility to manage their time and resources in ways that work for them and deliver back to the business. When you think about it, if you want to really strive for a career as an executive - you, and your line manager - may need to trade-off some things, like not coming in to the office every day, or if you need to stay closer to home, that’s a trade-off too.

How would you define what culture means for Bacardi? That could fill many libraries, but we’ve distilled it down to the three F’s I mentioned earlier. We encourage our people to be fearless and challenge and question everything, and not to be afraid of making mistakes. In fact, we want people to celebrate mistakes, learn from those and go forward with that knowledge. You can draw a line from our people today to those in our history, who were fearlessly entrepreneurial. We have a phrase that allows for this behaviour within the context of our business called; “Freedom in the Framework”, because with freedom comes accountability and responsibility and we’re still all expected to deliver on our plans. Next, we have “Founders Mentality” which I really love because the tag line is “Think Like a Founder”. But it's easier to say than practice, so we make it a two way street, as we listen to people and take heed of what we hear. A case-in-point that rang out was the result of a pulse study

cannot take on half-heartedly. A quote that really strikes home for me was from our Global Head of Talent, John McCusker - I call him our talent guru - he says, instead of asking; “who’s ready now”? ask, “who's ready enough”? That takes on real meaning when you consider our mission, which is to double our business over the next ten years.


Another phrase that can end up looking clichéd is corporate and social responsibility. It’s important that it doesn’t end up seeming like that. Without question, it’s not just that we take it seriously, it is complete and heartfelt. Remember, Bacardi is a family, their name is on the products. Of course, that means not compromising on quality, but we are also aware of our impact, and we’ve been recognised for our work around water and plastics. And from the community driven, grass-roots level to our efforts on an international scale, we will always do the right thing. When Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico - which is where we make most of our rum - we reacted very quickly. Our president of the region, Ignacio del Valle, had only just been appointed to the role and within two weeks, there was an earthquake in Mexico and the hurricanes hit Puerto Rico. Commercial flights weren’t flying to the country, so we organised a plane to Puerto Rico with food supplies and essential resources; water, blankets, generators and sanitation, and a number of our colleagues helped out. Our support of recovery efforts continues today, more than a year after the storm.

we conducted internally that told us decision- making was too slow. We said; “tell us where”? There were some policies and procedures identified, so we eliminated those, but we increased increased individual responsibility. Budgets is a perfect example where we’ve made people more accountable, how they decide to run it, that’s their business, as long as they deliver on plan. Finally, that brings us to Family, where the most important pillar is trust and being honest and open and, like a family, nobody has a free pass, you take care of each other, but you also have a strong sense of accountability.

What are the business plans for the future and the key challenges ahead? As I said, we want to make the next ten years the best ten years. We’re placing four big bets: Investing in the most attractive markets and brands, owning the on-trade, where consumers fall in love with our brands, reigniting our marketing to be more relevant and creative, and digital commerce and innovation. All of these require having the right people, in the right places, to look after our iconic portfolio of brands. So, you have to have the right people and that’s a big challenge you

Look at our emerging markets for example; they present a huge opportunity for us and we have a lot of expertise. Our CEO, Mahesh Madhavan, is from India and we believe it’s important to be in harmony with the locality. We are expanding in South Africa and we always aim to recruit and grow talent locally, but when you grow rapidly, you don’t always have the right people to fill the right roles at the right time. So we introduced “Bacardi Ready” which is a fast-track programme for new recruits to make their own way in the business. Then beyond that, we have Advanced Bacardi Ready, which is a series of more tailored, learning and development programmes, to take them where they want to go. This supports our goals of having local leaders leading local markets, plus setting up a robust succession plan. It’s important to be fully committed to developing talent within the business. And finally, we like to think of ourselves as a small company, with big brands. As a leader, it’s critical to maintain a learning mindset.

What are you thinking about right now? I’m telling you my career story, and so I’m subconsciously thinking about our succession planning. Do we have the right talent, the right leaders coming through that are capable of leading tomorrow in the changing world? And how do we make sure we're doing all the right things to prepare people for that? I’m also thinking about our consumers, that relationship and making sure that those links remain strong. Then there are questions about what we represent as a brand and remaining exciting and relevant. These have to be continuously considered because, however successful you appear to be, you can never be complacent. We are a company that has survived and thrived during all kinds of transformation and turmoil over the past 157 years, but I believe if we remain true to our values, the future is a very exciting place for us.



MAY 2019 | thehrdirector | 11

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