Sunday, 2 June 2013

A company to aspire to.

I've just spent a few days in Puerto Banus with my wife to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. Cant believe it has been 10 years. We chose Marbella as it was close enough for a weekend as it is the first break for us without our 8 year old daughter.

Normally architects would visit places to look at buildings. I am however also fascinated by people and culture. Marbella is a special place. I have never come across somewhere where displaying your wealth is so apparent. It's all about showing off your car or boat. 

Evenings are spent parading your assets be it your Ferrari or your fake boobs! I We found the whole experience fascinating.

While I was away I was able to read a couple of books. Interestingly they came from a very local and global perspective for me. Firstly there was Eric Schmits new book. Eric Schmit the CEO of Google and this is his view of the future. I have to say unfortunately I found the book disappointing. His vision of the future is nothing more than what we already know. It reiterates what most of those who have a remote interest in tech Already have already anticipated. 

The second book was of far greater interest to me. The book is the story of Greggs the bakers written by Ian Gregg the retired chairman and son of the founder. The book follows the story of humble beginnings to its national presence today.

it is of personal interest as the business has developed in Gosforth, Newcastle where I currently live. The story takes you through the key steps of the business growth and is honest about the challenges and mistakes they made. It focusses very much on the people who helped shape the business.

What is particularly apparent is the genuine interest Greggs have in the communities they serve. They have built an exceptional business whilst holding firm to the founding values of the organisation. this can be rare in a public company which has a focus in shareholder return. They have their own foundation and have given away millions of pounds over the years.

Their staff seem very loyal with many of them working for the business for may years. 

This has to be in contrast with Google who started off with storing ideals but are being criticised for a centralised taxation approach. Whatever the rights or wrongs Google are not supporting the communities they serve by giving something back.

I think Greggs is an excellent public company with true community commitment and one which I would aspire to emulate in the years ahead.

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