Join me on Saturday, October 20th at 10:00AM Pacific time on VoiceAmerica.  The blog article below is related to this VoiceAmerica episode.

In this episode, Mr. Salinas describes among other points how his organization is involved in social projects in helping Mexico. It is SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY IN ACTION. The company grew from 2,000 employees to 80, 000 employees, and while at the same time: adopting one of the states of Mexico and helping it develop, and every top executive donates his or her time to social purpose activities. Listen Now»

In his interview for my Voice America’s radio show   (Broadcast: October 20, 2012 on VoiceAmerica Business Radio), Mr. Ricardo Salinas Pliego of Mexico described how the seeds planted years ago by The Adizes Institute grew to become a forest.

The Adizes Institute and I personally have been involved for over fifteen years in helping the Salinas group grow from 2,000 to 80,000 employees, from just 50 some odd retail stores to over 1800. We have also helped it develop from scratch the fastest growing bank of Latin America, acquire and rejuvenate  two TV networks, operate forty local tv stations, two cellular phone companies, a mining company and an alternative energy company, among others…

But what excited me most was not just  the growth of the company and how Adizes helped make it happen, but to hear about the component on social action. For me, that was most rewarding part of his interview.

More than ten years ago, I suggested that Elektra, the retail company of the group, not just advertise how its products offered more effectiveness for less money. “Do not promote only what you do and how you do it. Promote who you are, your values” I said firmly and often.  “Show that you care.”

“How,” they asked.

Usually companies display their social responsibilities as a value by donating money to the local opera house or the local museum of art. Or in not polluting the air, water or soil.

Good, but I suggested a company should do more.

In this specific instance, I suggested that every Elektra store identify  a neglected piece of land in its own neighborhood. Then persuade the city to allow the store to convert that piece of land into a sports park. And finally have each Elektra supplier donate something of useful value to the park; for example, have the bicycle manufacturer donate the basketball court and mention it in a plaque. Others would donate the benches.  The sport park would be a gift to the neighborhood from the company, but it would also promote Elektra suppliers and at the same time promote Elektra itself.

But do not stop there, I urged.  Why not have the store employees donate time to coach neighborhood kids who play in the park.

“It will create a buzz of support and loyalty for the Elektra brand more than any advertising you can imagine” I said.

Moreover, using this ElektraPark  as a platform for social activism, I added, organize the teenagers to start cleaning their neighborhood by eliminating  graffiti and dirt and garbage, all of  which plague the cities of developing countries  not only in Mexico, but everywhere.

I also suggested that each of the largest companies of Mexico and Salinas group set an example: “adopt “ one of the less developed states of Mexico and donate its managerial talent, know how and organizational skills to help the state.

In his interview,  Mr. Ricardo Salinas Pliego told me how large those seeds have grown.

ElektraParks are alive and flourishing. And the Salinas group has adopted Chiapas, one of the least developed states of Mexico, helping with schooling and, in general, with entrepreneurial activities. It also has established fifty youth orchestras,  so teenagers are not only caught up with sports  in ElektraParks,  but also have an opportunity to engage in the arts.

And today every top executive of the Salinas group has to donate  time to social activism.

This is far and above the corporate act of making philanthropic  donations. This is not just social responsibility. It is social activism.

Ricardo says in the interview that profit is not the only goal. Being involved in society is no less important. And this social activism has not hurt profits. On the contrary, he says.  It has made those profits   sustainable.

How did it happen that the seeds of an idea grew to become a jungle?
Why it happened at the Salinas group and not with many other companies?  The ideas are not that revolutionary.

The reason why those seeds flourished at Salinas is because the soil was fertile.

What does  it mean?

I have mentioned at the beginning of this blog that we worked with the Salinas group for fifteen years. Intensely.

Salinas group manifests the application of the Adizes success formula to the max.

By opening channels to discuss problems freely and without fear, by teaching collaborative problem solving so it is addressed and solved, by aligning strategy to structure and information systems, by aligning mission, structure and rewards, and by applying the whole Adizes program of eleven phases, the program  freed the company from internal disintegration that  released energy wasted on internal disintegration  for external integration. None which was dedicated only to further financial goals. It was dedicated to social goals too; to integration not only with markets but with the society at large.

Eliminating internal disintegration enabled external integration.

Salinas group was recognized by Adizes Institute as company of the year in  2012.

I believe we should recognize them again for their social activism.

Congratulations, Ricardo.


Dr. Ichak Kalderon Adizes