Welcome to another addition of the CEO’s Corner, I hope you had an opportunity to read my second post https://www.gast.co.za/maybe-its-time/ which was written earlier this month. As you know these pieces are written in the early hours of the morning with a cup of Joe and not enough caffeine stimuli, therefore please be gentle when reading them.
If you’ve had some time to scan through the GAST website www.gast.co.za you would have noticed that we say the word Family more than once, well actually a lot more than once. In the modern day and age most companies of our size are public companies or have various shareholders etc. GAST is technically speaking a 3rd generation family privately owned business similar to our friends Bechtel @Bechtel who is a 5th generation owned family business.
We are real people with our own families and even though we are a Corporate entity we still have real family values. We believe in doing business ethically, add value and genuinely care about our clients, their projects and how we can assist them to make their lives easier & better. It’s a cornerstone of who and what GAST stands for. We have a few motto’s that we live by at GAST and we remind ourselves of them on a daily basis:
GAST would not be where it is today without the support of our Customers, the GAST Staff and our communities. We are thankful and humble of our achievements and what the future holds for GAST.
That being said, maybe it’s time all businesses start caring again, caring about their employees, their clients, their client’s projects, their suppliers and creditors. We all say as part of the Marketing strategy “we care” but do we really ? Have we not forgotten what it means to really care ? In the world we live today, time is probably our most valuable commodity as we are all running out of it, whether you are the richest man on the planet or the most spiritual, time is something you cannot buy. In a famous roundtable with Microsoft mogul Bill Gates hosted by Charlie Rose, billionaire investor Warren Buffett said this of time: “It’s the only thing you can’t buy. I mean, I can buy anything I want basically but I can’t buy time.” So if time is so precious why are we not using it more effectively to actually start caring about one another again?
GAST is attempting to break the barriers in how we do business, we are trying to get back to a time where business could be done on a handshake and there is mutual respect and trust between the parties. However business principals like that are long forgotten, the norm now is 1000 pages long contractual documents being amended on a daily basis in an attempt to mitigate and manage potential risk. Which is probably not a bad thing, however imagine how great it would be if it was done on a handshake and everyone stuck to their agreements and personal ethics, morals and something like trust should not have to be doubted.
There are still people, very powerful people and companies that operate on a handshake basis, they are far and few between but they exist. I remember doing business with Atterbury Properties @AtterburyProp and their founder Louis van der Watt is one of these people. As one of the largest property developers in Africa, Atterbury and Louis still have those values that have long been forgotten or companies like McCormick Property Developers @McCormickProp and their CEO Jason McCormick. Those values are something we all should attempt to achieve even if it costs you, your last piece of bread, luckily you still have your dignity, morals and ethics intact. You can always make money again to buy a bread but if you’ve lost your dignity, morals and ethics you are going to have a hard time to find them again.
Let us all try and find the time to start caring again, let us try and do business with good morals, ethics and start trusting one another again. Your word should be your bond no matter what the consequences are! Business is tough, being a businessman/businesswoman takes great responsibility. Make no mistake caring doesn’t mean you should be soft or a pushover, on the contrary it means sticking to your personal moral code, ensuring you do business ethically and looking after your clients, employees and community no matter what the consequences are. Be brave, be humble and keep fighting the good fight.
In closing, GAST might not be the ideal company, actually far from it, but we are trying to make a difference not only in our industry but worldwide. We will support you as much as you support us, we want to challenge the norm of doing business whilst maintaining those values and ensuring we care about our clients, our employees and our communities. We want to be part of your family, will you be part of ours?
CEO – GAST GROUP