When it comes to doing what is right, the moment is always appropriate.Martin Luther K.
Change agents can be executives or employees, or they can be external professionals engaged to help with initiatives. Internal change agents have the benefit of being knowledgeable about an organization’s history, processes, and people, while external change agents may bring a new viewpoint untainted by a firm’s customs and culture.
People say all leaders are change agents. No way! Not every leader is a change agent. Most leaders lack the traits of change agents, as shown by the majority of cases examined during the BE sessions.
Nestle’s Nigeria MD; Mauricio Alarcon, in my perspective, exemplifies a change agent. This is how he is able to have such an influence on Nestle’s culture. His goal, as it should be, was to create value for the people and the public before meeting the company’s commitments to its stakeholders.
Reinforcing a respectful culture.
Mauricio ensured that respect became one of Nestlé’s core values.
“The culture of inclusivity, respect, and people—respect for people and care for people is Nestle culture,” said one Nestlé plant engineer.
‘When I entered, it felt weird. I had the elderly report to me when I arrived. You say “Dear Madam” and I respond with “Dear T.” My issue is not with someone calling you “madam,” but rather with respect. I’ve spoken to top manufacturing managers, middle-level managers, supervisors, and operators, and the regard is universal. “Mr. L, may I see you for a minute?” and the individual leaves what he is doing to offer you attention because they feel that is where respect begins.’
Nestlé sought user feedback to improve the quality of its production process; market visits were frequently made to improve the consumer experience. During one of these market trips in 2018, Nestlé production engineers met with distributors and merchants of Nestlé goods in Eko Idumota. Consumer feedback was sought to determine which Nestlé items sell quicker and which sell slower, the reasons for this, complaints, and other crucial issues that assist in determining a product’s relative success in the market. One of the managers mentioned how Nestlé reduced the salt concentration in Maggi cubes after receiving consumer input. Now, that’s how you retain consumer loyalty!
CSR CSV and Development Initiatives
Agricultural, rural development, and clean water were some of the objectives represented in the company’s brand and culture of developing people. Nestlé was committed to assisting all stakeholders along its value chain. Nestlé dubbed this Creating Shared Value (CSV), not Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), because value was shared by all stakeholders, society, and the environment. Nestle reached out to local farmers to educate them on improved agricultural methods and improve the quality of their grains. The company had around forty-one CSV priority areas internationally.
Mauricio also ensured that the firm valued environmental sustainability. In their manufacturing, for example, they had zero trash to landfill. So, all of their garbage was recycled and reused. They also collaborated with other ecosystem partners to reduce single-use plastics in rivers and recycle them. This is one good thing for the environment!
Governance and ethics
Nestlé’s board and management led by example to create its ethical culture and work ethic. Mauricio ensured the organization’s rules, processes, and activities were governed. They created a Corporate Governance and Integrity Committee (CGI) to manage shareholder rights and duties, board roles and responsibilities, and openness and transparency. They had a beard charter and a code of ethics that addressed insider trading, rules of ethics, human resource guidelines, and management of conflicts of interest. Nestle obviously understood its fiduciary responsibility to its shareholders by not withholding information and ensuring that their interest was protected.
These are only a few examples of Mauricio’s influence during his time as Nestle Nigeria’s MD. He is now the Chief Executive Officer of Nestlé Central and West Africa Ltd. Well-deserved!
When it comes to doing what is right, the moment is always appropriate.MLK