President of Karmar Ltd. and LinkCity Poland Ltd.
Currently people that are managing companies, tend to focus their company towards a broader social context and undertake initiatives related to social responsibility of business. What actions in this context is your company taking, how is this being realized and what does responsible leadership mean to you?
It is true, companies that care about organizational culture, possessing the so-called Code of Conduct, pay attention to the social activeness of not only business but employees as well. First we discussed CSR, to which we added CCI and today we are broadly discussing ESG, since the context of business responsibility is very broad and includes all fields of operations. CSR in companies that I manage is healthcare and human life, attention to and environmental protection, relations with stakeholders, innovations, and charity work initiated by our employees or being active in industry associations. Personally I put a lot of support in implementing employee innovation and the idea of employee volunteering. All of these elements get etched into the politics of the organization and its values, around which it is built. I am speaking about trust, cooperation, entrepreneurship, swift management or simple solutions. Responsible leadership is the ability to move around in these areas and promote them. Targeted leadership is there for all fields of business – financial, non-profit, promoting them and skillful implementation.
More and more investors, financial institutions choose organizations that function with ESG protocols as their business partners. Do you think this is right? In what manner does the company you manage go outside of the business as usual model? What does it do for the climate, local communities, diversity and what would you like to implement in the near future?
This is a part of responsible leadership as well. Of course, if we have a choice, we prefer to work with companies that operate with similar values, have a code of ethics and are socially responsible. It is a way to promote ESG, paying attention to what is important beyond the immediate object, service or product. It is a form of expression in being a responsible company.
Karmar and LinkCity are a part of the international industrial group Bouygyes, it has implemented a series of operations based on foundations of responsible business. We have chosen an ambitious strategy for the sake of our climate, one that assumes we will reduce our CO2 emissions from the construction sector by 30% until 2025. In our construction projects we use the TopSite certificate. We assess responsibility and commitment in protecting health and life, protecting the environment, relations with clients and local communities, quality, innovation. Our goal is to implement TopSite in all of our projects. We support innovative solutions and improvements brought forth by our employees. It is tied in with raising the level of commitment and empowerment. In today’s Polish reality, the price still constitutes a major factor, which in no way compliments nor appreciates the aforementioned elements. Taxonomy requirements within the framework of the European Union, but also foreign investors are in this respect unambiguous. This makes me glad, because companies that do not function responsibly do not have a future.
Each company creates their own corporate policy, which contains values seen by clients from the outside. Are clients more willing to select a specific company, since it does something good, something which the client identifies with, or does the decision depend mainly on the price? What is your opinion, what trends have you noticed, are you changing anything in that respect?
Business identity is very important. It is crucial to be loyal to your image, which is communicated, because that loyalty will very quickly be put to the test. Trust can be lost very quickly. Proposition of values, correct method of communication are very important tools, but if you relegate to only using marketing slogans and packaging, then this lack of cohesiveness is automatically a burden, and can even weigh down on a given brand. If it is about criteria of customer selection, they vary on the consumer market (BtC) and also on the institutional market. Price remains a very important factor, for sure for both sectors the question of credibility and reputation is key. We want to work together with companies that are guided by similar values and business ethics. Amongst potential business partners we always select a brand that will appear to have a similar business approach, an approach to topics important to us, with which we associate – ethics, protecting the environment, social issues, work safety, trust, cooperation, etc. On these fundamental pillars we build our business and build lasting business relations.
Growth of values and ethical codes in many organizations may be an attest to a rising awareness in this respect. Many managers declare that it focuses on ethics as the central point of its operations. Is complying with rules of fair play in managing a guarantee of stable growth in a company?
First thought that comes to mind is a quote from Wladyslaw Bartoszewski. “It’s worth being honest, but it does not always pay off. It pays off being honest, but it’s not worth it.” It’s the same in business. Speaking of stable and sustainable growth, we think about the long term perspective, we are speaking about a stabilized market position. Playing fair is a part of business ethics. Without it it is hard to build a solid brand worthy of trust, it is hard to manage a stable business and speak of leadership. Ethics and values are exceptionally significant and attest to the fact what type of employer, client and business partner the company is. Fair Play can be implemented in all industries, in all fields of business, in all teams and individually.
The world needs smart and quality leaders that want to positively affect their environment. Was there ever a time where you started looking for a deeper sense of your work, ability to do something good for your community or country? What were you able to realize?
I agree that the world needs smart and quality leaders, observing in the last year events that took place around the world. Problem of authority and point of reference is a challenge. In times of events with which we have to do with, volatility, risks, often turns into degradation of morality, because people feel less entitled to obey rules and regulations, being trustworthy….descent, actually. The situation generates aggressive behaviors, the goal is to attain short term deals, they lack perspective.
According to me, the best leaders are those that are convinced of their convictions. It is their natural behavior and they are authentic. If they are helping because they have a need to, then they will do so without the spotlight, not for P.R. In my best judgment, cooperation builds a bond in teams. Helping together is good, because it transfers the energy into something positive. Doing something positive together is the synergy of good intentions. This must bring satisfaction.
I am trying to be a good leader, I involve myself not only in the business aspect. I am the chairwoman for the Council of Employers for Poland, I have influence on the growth of entrepreneurship in Poland, economic and social growth. I have a sense of responsibility and high business ethics, but most of all my personal ethics. If I can do something good, I feel like a good person. If I can lead a group of individuals – whether it be co-employees, employees or business partners – to a greater, more intelligent involvement in operations relating to social responsibility of business and not only, I feel like a good leader.
Has many years of managerial experience in listed industrial companies. Currently functions as the president of Karmar Ltd and LinkCity Poland Ltd in Polish branches noted in the framework of CAC 40 in Paris, Bouygues industrial group based in France.
Possesses rich experience in terms of improving effectiveness of companies operations, creating and implementing strategies, transforming enterprises.
Is a graduate from Warsaw School of Managing and Marketing. in 1999 attained her MBA at the University of Warsaw in cooperation with Staffordshire University, University of Antwerp and the Free University of Brussels. In 2013 completed the Advanced Management Program at IESE University of Navarra.
Is also a Member of Council of Social Dialogue to the President of Poland, representing private employers. Between 2017-2021 she was Vice-President of Polish Employers, currently Chairwoman of Council of Employers Poland.
Last Updated on December 12, 2022 by Valeriia Honcharuk