Pur­suit of ex­cel­lence

Executive Magazine - - EDITORIAL -

The vi­cious sur­vival cy­cle that Lebanese cor­po­rates are stuck in comes at a price. To sus­tain their ex­is­tence, they have to con­stantly bend the rules and out­smart the sys­tem, while suf­fer­ing the in­ef­fi­cien­cies and lack of vi­sion that come from the ab­sence of the state.

In short, cor­po­rates ad­here to a short-term man­age­ment style, wing­ing most de­ci­sions in order to pro­vide for the next day. This be­hav­ior is de­struc­tive to say the least, and its rep­e­ti­tion de­vel­ops bad habits and builds bad prac­tices. It is only when you have a vi­sion for your greater pur­pose that you be­gin to com­mit to long-term ob­jec­tives. Cor­po­rates should be re­minded of their pur­pose and de­velop their par­tic­i­pa­tive strate­gies in a wider na­tional con­text ac­cord­ingly—a chal­leng­ing propo­si­tion in the ab­sence of na­tional pol­icy.

The one in­dus­try that demon­strates how com­mit­ment to pur­pose pays on the mi­cro and macro level is our bank­ing in­dus­try. Af­ter the chaos of the 1980s, which left vul­ner­a­ble cit­i­zens ma­nip­u­lated and im­pov­er­ished, came the 1990s, and the re­newed com­mit­ment and role of the bank­ing in­dus­try was re-es­tab­lished and re­in­forced, putting at the dis­posal of the cit­i­zens re­li­able, trust­wor­thy ser­vices that pro­tected their as­sets with fair­ness, com­mit­ment to best prac­tices, rig­or­ous con­trols, and as­tute over­sight. Ad­her­ence to such stan­dards paid off, and the con­trast that ex­ists to­day be­tween the fi­nan­cial in­dus­try’s space and the rest of cor­po­rate Le­banon is so clear in terms of both cor­po­rate per­for­mance and hu­man re­sources wel­fare. Not only did the bank­ing in­dus­try sur­vive ev­ery cri­sis since 1992, but none of the se­ri­ous par­tic­i­pants stopped grow­ing, while one bank who ven­tured into un­eth­i­cal be­hav­ior was quickly flagged and liq­ui­dated.

The in­tegrity of our fi­nan­cial sys­tem’s health rests in the vi­sion and char­ac­ter of Riad Salameh, the gov­er­nor of the cen­tral bank. His abil­ity to com­mit to the good that this in­dus­try brings to Le­banon along­side his mas­tery in iden­ti­fy­ing un­nec­es­sary risk with­out ne­glect­ing the de­vel­op­ment and growth of the in­dus­try, his con­sis­tency, his pas­sion, and his hard work have al­lowed the bank­ing in­dus­try to flour­ish and gain re­spect. All this was achieved by nur­tur­ing re­la­tion­ships, both na­tion­ally and in­ter­na­tion­ally, and keep­ing things in bal­ance for the na­tional well-be­ing.

Other in­dus­tries that op­er­ate in less reg­u­lated en­vi­ron­ments can watch, learn, and mimic the suc­cess of our bank­ing in­dus­try, and hope­fully de­liver to and pro­tect all their stake­hold­ers and par­tic­i­pants in a man­ner we have come to ex­pect from Le­banon’s banks.

El­e­vat­ing our com­mit­ment to ex­cel­lence pays, re­gard­less of the un­cer­tain­ties that plague our na­tion.

Yasser Akkaoui Edi­tor-in-chief

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