Could Perseverance be the Seventh P?
Upon receiving the invitation to write this blog, I sat there thinking about the topic that would be most interesting to tackle. While it is quite liberating to have the choice, it is also somewhat inhibiting because you want to come up with something that makes sense not just to you but to the reader as well. One topic that connects us all and has always been one of great interest to me is EFG Hermes. Normally, I would have taken the easy way out and written a few words regarding our achievements as an organization so far this year, and the progress we have made along our “6Ps ”. However, I ultimately decided against this, feeling that it may be more appropriate for a different forum.
Instead, I decided to write about one of my favorite virtues: perseverance; feeling that it might be of more relevance especially in the context of the mounting challenges we face every day whether as an organization or as individuals. Starting from a very young age, I came to the realization that we will all fail at one point or another in our lives, but those who have the fortitude to continue fighting are usually those who eventually prevail. Accordingly, to this day, I continue to believe that perseverance is a core element of success; almost always differentiating successful individuals from the less successful and in some cases even brighter ones.
Growing up playing basketball, one of the sport’s biggest idols was Michael Jordan, a man whose story of perseverance is so well documented as a youngster who was cut from his varsity basketball team only to grow into the greatest basketball player of all time. Less well documented is the story of my biggest idol growing up: his teammate Scottie Pippen who as a high school player was written off by many as a mediocre prospect at best, but through a lot of patience, perseverance and dedication to his craft, he evolved into one of the 50 greatest basketball players of all time.
During my time at EFG Hermes, I saw this value show its face more than once. In the early 2000s, our balance sheet was burdened by a lot of short-term debt and long-term investments rendering the firm almost insolvent. An upturn in the markets – but most importantly – our perseverance, a lot of hard work and incredible creativity saw us through that difficult period into one of unprecedented growth.
Following the revolution in 2011, we were faced with a different set of challenges but once again the organization persevered in handing the reigns of management to a younger team that restructured operations and changed the business model. More importantly we stood tall against massive headwinds from vicious competition to a hostile takeover attempt, restoring in the process our rightful position as the region’s leading investment bank and institutionalizing the business to ensure its existence beyond individuals.
Today and in the future, we will continue to be tested but through it all, I hope that our employees (from the youngest recruits to the oldest veterans) will continue to exhibit the same level of perseverance we exhibited in the past. Let us try to the extent possible to embrace the adversities we operate in knowing that conditions will change and that those who persevere through the hardships will flourish.
Group CEO, EFG Hermes Holding
* EFG Hermes bases its strategy and business model on six pillars known as the 6Ps: People, Positioning, Presence, Products, Profitability and Public Responsibility