Jorge López Cifre, lecturer at EAE Business School, has taken part in the latest of the Focused Programs held at the Madrid Campus. A professional speaker, as well as a specialist in negotiation and managing extremely complex conflicts, López Cifre gave a presentation to students entitled “Managing high-performance teams”.
During his presentation, the engineer and foreign trade technician underlined the importance of SMART goals and human capital when it comes to management. Cifre spoke about a leader manager, with ethical principles, who coordinates the group’s work, striving to get the best out of each individual. The manager is better when his team is (The Ubuntu philosophy, I am because we are).
Jorge López Cifre highlighted the problem of time. “We are never going to have enough time if we don’t manage it properly”. It is more a matter of productivity than effort. In a company, the most important asset is time (“The One Minute Manager” a book by Kenneth Blanchard and Spenser Johnson). This one minute manager that Cifre concentrates on is based on the concept that people have to learn to focus on what is really important.
How did your vocation for teaching come about?
I have always been interested in learning about negotiation. I lived in Mallorca and then in Madrid. At the start of the economic crisis, I did a course in negotiation to help people overcome the period of depression in which they found themselves. A lecturer that taught classes there offered me the opportunity to teach English at EAE and then I moved on to Spanish, and from business to public speaking, to markets and marketing. I really enjoy it.
In what way is public speaking useful in a company?
In all aspects. When you want to lead a project, you are inviting people to take part in something that they are afraid of because they don’t know anything about it. If they see that you have doubts, they won’t have confidence in you. You have to know how to communicate because what you say is just as important as how you say it.
Your studies in negotiation, how do they affect a company that wants to grow?
Negotiation is the art of reaching agreements. A company that is incapable of reaching agreements, whether they are internal or external, will find it hard to grow.
How do you tackle a crisis at the heart of the company?
A well-structured company must have a crisis board with a single spokesperson, responsible for managing issues that arise unexpectedly. Directors must not hide. They have to tackle the problem, anticipate it before it occurs. The Spanair accident is an example of a badly managed crisis, while the fire at Campofrío is exactly the opposite case.
Is there a certain attitude towards life that EAE students should have?
I teach on the PhD in Economics and I always say to my students that you must not focus on quick financial benefit, but rather you have to concentrate on the service that you are giving the customer. We have to have a long-term perspective of marketing, getting to know the customer rather than totting up sales figures. Sometimes, identifying what customers need is harder than it seems. That is really the key.