• Ulma Construction

Raúl García President of ULMA Construction

“The basic strength we should promote is that of each person. The rest of strengths arise from or are derived from that basic one."

Mar 31, 2014

The cooperative model is very powerful because it puts people at the centre of the organisation and with all their potential at the service of the same.

In this difficult context in which we find ourselves, in which solidarity seems to be one of the keys to success, Do you think that as a collective we are cohesive and committed to the Business?

I am not going to say that there is no cohesion and commitment, but yes the situation in this sense can be improved. The first that comes to my mind is the sensation that, paradoxically, when the farther one gets from Oñati, the more commitment one sees in the people of ULMA Construction. This is at least what I perceive. Curiously one sees that employees of some affiliates and branches live the company and are proud of belonging to it. It is not that this occurs in all the places we are present, and it is also true that subjects like degree of development of the country and the difficulty of finding decent employment also have their effect, but yes this is the general sensation I have when I return from a trip. Having said that, I also sincerely believe that the motivation, commitment and cohesion of the persons, and especially of the partners, is there, waiting for the opportunity of becoming manifest and put into practice. Therefore, those of us that have management responsibility have to generate an adequate climate and promote a style of leadership that promotes these aspects. In addition, we have to add the best will of all, especially that of the partners.

In your opinion, What do you think are the tools that should be promoted by the cooperatives / Business and the Group for strengthening that implication?

Is a free-lance worker implicated in his own business? In cooperatives, the bigger the company, the further we are from that ideal, but I think that it is what we should always have in mind and on what we should always focus our efforts. For that reason, I believe that each partner has to assume that responsibility and try to apply that mentality in his field of work. In addition, as I mentioned in the previous question, having adequate leadership is fundamental in my opinion. Not only is it the key for implication of people, it is also for many other important aspects, like for example, professional development, team development, personal satisfaction, joint projects, corporate development, organisational climate… And all this, in addition to affecting each person, also clearly affects the performance of the company.

Do you think that the cooperative formula is the best way for approaching new challenges and the global context in which our Businesses have to develop? Which do you think are the strengths of the model that we should potentiate?

I think so. Firstly, the cooperative model is very powerful because it places the person, all the persons, at the centre of the organisation and with all their potential at the service of the same. It is very difficult to find any other model with more potential. Another thing is how far from that theoretical model can the cooperatives be nowadays, due to diverse reasons, like the type of society we live in, the times of economic boom, the styles of leadership we have had, the difficulty for exporting the model to other countries, etc.

The cooperative model is very powerful because it puts people at the centre of the organisation and with all their potential at the service of the same

The basic strength we should promote is that of each person. The rest of strengths arise from or are derived from that basic one. A person in constant growth, motivated, valued, conscious of being part of a company, of working to his own benefit and also to the befit of the rest, is the best base on which any project can be built. I understand that that was the spirit of the first pioneer members of a cooperative, but since then it has lost its meaning. I believe that now is the time to begin to recover it and to brighten it up. We really need it.

Do you believe that the cooperatives are sufficiently agile to react in such a changing environment as the current one? What measures or instruments for improvement could be implemented?

It is true that the balance between agility and participation of the partners is complicated to obtain, even more in the case of large cooperatives and even more so in the case of the Group. We cannot all be in everything, but on the other hand the participation should be an intrinsic element of the cooperatives. I think that, in first place, we should design a model of participation that tries to find that balance and with which we all feel comfortable. The model would indicate who participates and to what degree in the different fields of the company. With that model, we would have to define mechanisms that channel and systematise the participation of the persons according to what has been defined for each field. It is not an easy subject, but I am convinced that it would be interesting to develop it.

Grupo ULMA as a group with a Social aim has its own foundation. How do you believe we could promote and motivate the Fundacion ULMA project?

On one hand, I clearly think that the work done up to now has been good in the sense of giving the Foundation a modern and dynamic image. A series of interesting activities have been organised to which later publicity has been given by means of the developed communication tools. All this has a value that has to be acknowledged and that should serve us as a support for making a qualitative jump towards another scenario. In my opinion, it is necessary that the General Counsel of Grupo ULMA should take the reins of the Foundation and that, under the leadership of that body, the bodies of the cooperatives should reflect over the direction and aims that we want it to have. I believe, that at least on the inside, we should escape from the acronym CSR (Company Social Responsibility) or (Corporate Social Responsibility), which are in fashion and are used by some large companies that are not precisely the best example of social responsibility, and search for a direction more in accord with our corporate essence. Our essence is the persons and their development, but also the search for integration with society and trying to transform the aspects of this latter that we do not like. I believe that a Foundation in which the partners and the bodies are not the direct main characters is what can be done by any other company that is not a cooperative. In our case, the activity of the Foundation should be that of adapting to the mentioned concepts and, based on that, it can also contribute to publicising our image as a socially committed company, which, why not, can be used also as a promotional tool.