Josep Piqué: “We Need to Adopt an Approach Based on Ethics”

Session “Values and Excellence in Management”

10/04/2013 Barcelona

Josep Piqué

"Spain’s economic crisis will come to an end sooner or later thanks to the adjustments made over recent years and through everyone’s hard work. However, there is another serious and worrying crisis: Spanish people are losing faith in their politicians their institutions. This will only change if we can offer society and approach based on ethics," said Josep Piqué, the president of Vueling airlines and the Asociación para la Búsqueda de la Excelencia (Association for Excellence), in an address to IESE alumni in Barcelona on April 9. The session was titled "Values and Excellence in Management" and was organized by the Alumni Association and moderated by Prof. Joan E. Ricart.

Piqué said in his speech that it was essential the political class recover its prestige. "The stable bipartisan approach of recent decades is unthinkable now, given our politicians failure to represent the people. For this reason, beyond our economic problems, we have to be able to create a common strategic goal and communicate what it means to society so that people want to share and participate in it," he said.

He added that the entire process has to be guided by values. "We have to demand complete integrity from our leaders, business people and institutions. The only recipe for overcoming the present situation is to focus on ethics, exemplary behavior, coherence, hard work, respect and truth," Piqué concluded.

In Search of Excellence

Piqué was followed by Santiago Tarín, president of Master Consulting Group and vice president of the Asociación para la Búsqueda de la Excelencia, an initiative that brings together representatives of various Spanish companies to foment the idea that values and excellence must form the basis of Spanish executive and institutional practice. "The association is pursuing a goal that is very easy to describe and very difficult to attain, that is, for society to produce better people. In order to do this, we wish to communicate that business success can and must be inseparable from high standards, rigor and commitment, as well as ethics, integrity and respect. If we are to create a more mature and just society, then young people must understand and follow this example," Tarín said.

What Makes a Good Executive?

During the early part of the session, Prof. Jaume Llopis discussed values and excellence in management by describing the career paths of successful executives from all over the world, careers that he has analyzed over eight years along with Prof. Ricart and from which emerged the book Qué hacen los buenos directivos: El reto del siglo XXI (What Makes a Good Executive? A 21st Century Challenge).

Among other aspects, Llopis revealed that executives who have achieved sustained success make a clear distinction between leading (vision and change) and directing (management). He added that they "tended to demand a lot of themselves, as well as being knowledgeable and honest. They also exhibited a spirit of service, an ability to manage conflict, a balanced personal life, passion and values. Good executives create the future in their heads and communicate it, design a business model and surround themselves with people who share their mission and aims."