MORRISTOWN, NJ – The Greek American Chamber of Commerce and the Association for Corporate Growth co-hosted a fascinating lecture by Andreas Kramvis, Vice Chairman of the industrial giant Honeywell, on the topic of his book Transforming the Corporation: Running a Successful Business in the 21st Century.
CPA Michael Hadjiloucas, the Chamber’s Chairman and CEO and Sally Glick, the president of ACJ in New Jersey, welcomed and thanked the guests and the event’s sponsors.
Hadjiloucas, smiled after his overview of Kramvis’ career and said, “if you listen carefully you might learn something.”
It was great understatement. After the presentation the audience snapped up copies of the book. Some told TNH they wished they had worked for the charismatic Kramvis, who was born on Cyprus and earned his engineering degree at Cambridge University.
Andreas Kramvis, who is one of Honeywell’s two vice chairmen – they report to the CEO – “has managed companies with global scope in five major industries. In the process he has developed novel management methodologies which have produced very strong results and have transformed the companies he has run from laggards to leaders,” according to the event’s invitation.”
His optimism, which is infectious, is founded on clear thinking, the appreciation of human resources, and a focus on the future.
The 200 people who filled the ballroom of Morristown’s Madison Hotel gave Kramvis their undivided attention as he described the business models that helped him transform and grow businesses time and again.
He told the gathering, whose zest impressed him, that he would talk about his business ideas, but he emphasized that “they are not theoretical. They come out of practice – they work, and they makes lots of money.”
The performance of the divisions he has headed during good economic times and recessions alike is legendary.
He ran three Honeywell divisions until three months ago and over time he realized the practices and principles could be expressed in formulas that could be applied more widely in the business world.
He emphasized the important of the best procedures and a good corporate culture. They include openness which should not be confused with democracy. It is important to “Get all the ideas out, but at some point a decision has to be made and people have to stick with it,” he said.
Paradoxically, he said sound economics is among the most underrated elements of corporate success, bemoaning cultures where people worry about what their bosses and their bosses’ bosses would think of their ideas.
“Make the right economic decision,” he told them, “and then you can talk about what the boss is going to think about it.”
The most important elements is forward thinking. Dwelling on the past – even successes – is not the way to a great future. In a world constantly transformed by technology, even what was wildly successful in the past may not be relevant.
But while the best path to prosperity is technological innovation, other companies know that too. It is vital for people to look out for rising competitors arising,” and to know the importance of market creation and what makes markets change,” he said.
He spoke of the importance of “facing problems head on…and having metrics that are robust” so arguments about the situation can terminate, so people can say “it is what it is, that’s where we are,” so that they move on to the question “what are we going to do about it…and say ‘let’s move forward.’”
“You must train people to think positively about the future,” was the point that stood out among Kramvis’ many salient observations.