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Have a higher goal.

5 steps to building a sustainable global business-1

(Article 1 of 5 in: Five steps to building a sustainable global business)

Over forty years ago when I started the company that has grown to become AES Engineering Ltd with just five staff in a Rotherham workshop, I was both younger, and angrier. The story of how I had been the victim of dirty tricks by a large US company has been told elsewhere but for quite a while, the goal of ‘getting even’ helped me get up in the mornings.

That’s all very well, but anger alone doesn’t constitute a vision that will power a company to success. I got over the anger, and eventually hired the person most associated with that earlier misdemeanour (after they were also mistreated by an uncaring corporation). I think the company involved learned to regret both missteps.

For many years we grew steadily, pledging to give customers ‘such exceptional service that they need never seek another source of supply’. We had a Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) of being the world’s largest manufacturer of mechanical seals.

For those not familiar with the term (pronounced Be-Hag), this is a concept developed in the book Built to Last, by James C. Collins and Jerry I. Porras, drawing upon a six-year research project at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. A BHAG is big enough to be frightening but clear and believable enough to inspire. Think of the NASA moon mission of the 1960s, or Microsoft’s goal of ‘A computer on every desk in every home’.

In those four decades, we have certainly grown. We are the fourth largest globally and while we have a strong presence in most industrial sectors there are a few more worlds to conquer. AES Engineering Ltd has enjoyed growth and success which is outstanding for our industry. But just getting ‘bigger’ is, while satisfying, no longer enough.

Recently I have been getting angry about the environment. I know there are plenty of climate change deniers out there, but I’m not one of them. Check out Betterworld.Solutions to find out how we are campaigning for sustainable investment by industry and sharing best practices. While we are committed to being part of the solution, the best way to achieve change is not always by berating customers about their failings.

I have asked our sales team to ‘show them a better way. In the spirit of this new age, instead of the original goal of being the biggest, our new Big Hairy Audacious Goal is to be the best.

“To become the leading global reliability business, delivering solutions to help industry save water, energy, cut pollution and create a better world”.

In line with this new vision, we are setting out to be a trusted source of information for all industry, whether or not they are currently our customers. I recently addressed the oil and gas industry about unnecessary steam leaks that are damaging the environment. My message was clear, if you don’t want to work with us, work with our competitors – we have had solutions for decades.

If you think you can operate more cleanly and more reliably, there’s no excuse for not taking action.

Check out some of our selection of video case studies and challenge AESSEAL and AVT Reliability to deliver such exceptional service that you “need never seek another source of supply”.

Take a look at our case studies:

Over a series of weeks, I will be publishing articles outlining how a sustainable business can also be a successful business. See below the articles shared, outlining the five steps to sustainability:

  1. Have a higher goal
  2. Understand reliability and your environmental impact
  3. Have a ‘Grow your own’ culture
  4. The power of trust
  5. Deliver solutions

If you are interested in AES Engineering’s story or want to get some ideas about how to promote sustainability, follow me on LinkedIn and follow Betterworld

Visit our websites:

#sustainability #sustainable #sustainablebusiness #netzero


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