27 September 2004 17:19 [Source: ICIS news]
MONTE CARLO, Monaco (CI)--"It is the people not the structure that make the company. At the end of the day it is the people that matter.” So said Huntsman Corporation president and chief executive officer (CEO), Peter Huntsman, said here Monday at the 38th European Petrochemical Association (EPCA) annual meeting. There may be a hard-nosed edge to the reality underlying this statement but, at heart, it is true.
To be good, chemical companies need good people. They probably need great people to be great. The question is whether current corporate cultures foster individuals’ career aspirations and development and, of course, can companies attract the right people in the first place?
Some great people work in this industry. Over the next few years greater or lesser success will relate closely to a company’s ability to free them and their ideas.
The industry clearly needs news ideas and new thinking. Individual business lines have been analysed to death. New approaches have been sought but not necessarily implemented.
However, as the sector moves towards better times managers must be expected to seize opportunities for growth and margin enhancement. It is not just a question of cutting out more costs – although in many businesses there are layers of culturally-derived costs that could be stripped out if companies so wished. One would hope that companies will be able to react more rapidly to change having become so used to it. To implement that change, however, they need the right people and to foster the right sort of talent.
Huntsman has no instant formula for better people management or for success. But he asserts that valuing employees and respecting them for their uniqueness delivers corporate strength. The Huntsman family has demonstrated that throughout the 20 plus years of the family company’s existence. Generally, the vital importance of good people to this industry should never be underestimated. Companies have to all they can to nurture their employees if they want to match the competitive challenges they face over the coming decades.
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