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Keeping up with the times: Raul Joseph Concepcion

Raul Joseph ‘Jojo’ Concepcion has made it his mission to ensure growth, change and innovation. With this in mind, he says, “What made you successful today will not make you successful in the future.” As a result, his business Concepcion Industrial Corporation (CIC) has continued to innovate.

Raul Joseph Concepcion, CEO of Concepcion Industrial Corporation

“We used to sell air conditioners and refrigerators,” he says. “But today we sell solutions. We sell technology. Over the past five years, we’ve sold almost five million units into this marketplace.”

The family business also provides elevators and escalators, along with other appliances to a host of domestic, SME, commercial and industrial clients. The company prides itself on providing end-to-end solutions for its customers.

“We’re not perfect,” says Jojo, who is Chairman and CEO. “But we have the best after-sales marketplace. We have the strongest brands and, most importantly, we have the right people.” Jojo says the growth of CIC’s employees and the support for the organisation shows the trajectory of the business. “We are successfully achieving our goals for the year 2020,” he says.

Moving forward and sustaining the company’s longevity also comes down to talking about ethics, integrity, hard work and innovation. Jojo says that these are the basic philosophies.

“If they are not ingrained in your people, you will not grow. Ethics is key for us. It is a worthy investment. Everyone, including myself, is required to take ethics classes when they join the company and we are, of course, encouraged to apply ethical practices everyday of our lives in CIC,” he explains.

CIC is nearly 60 years old. And, although its history is its foundation, it also serves as a challenge. Jojo poses the question: “What do you do with an old but successful company? It’s tough to change.” He often asks the team: What has made us successful for the past 60 years? Will doing the same make the company successful for the next 10 years?

“I challenge my team. If we do not change the way we do business, even next year, then will we still be here?” he says. Two-and-a-half years ago, Jojo set up a disruption unit to help deal with other businesses and business models that could one day could rival CIC.

“Rather than waiting for somebody to disrupt me, I’m disrupting myself,” he quips. Since the establishment of this unit, the company has changed immensely. “We now know what it takes to succeed in the future,” Jojo says.

Jojo doesn’t veer too far from discussing growth. “If you don’t grow, you die,” he says. “Not small growth; we need to grow in leaps and bounds. Company startups today go from zero to 100 in three to four seconds. We need to grow at that speed.”

Raul Joseph Concepcion, CEO of Concepcion Industrial Corporation

And Jojo isn’t just talking about financial growth. “You need to measure yourself with impact. Moving forward, we have started to analyse our impact. At CIC, we impact a million lives – those who are either working for us, or our consumers.” He believes it’s critical for CIC to understand the customers’ pain points and find solutions.

Creating a positive and collaborative environment has been another of Jojo’s projects. Such a situation would influence the “flow of ideas”, which leads to innovation and understanding. “You want to be in a company that has lots of ideas,” he says. “And you want to make sure those ideas get funnelled to businesses or services.”

Jojo says that, fundamentally, CIC is creating an environment where people want to work. “If the only reason for you to go to work is to make money, then it’s a sad life,” he notes. “People are looking for a reason to come to work.” Times have changed, and Jojo is working hard to keep up.

He adds, “In the beginning, earning a living, sending your children to school, paying medical bills is important. But later in life, it’s no longer about that. It’s about giving back to the society,” he says.

“We try to shape our team to have the same principle, to share the same vision. You encourage your team to lead new projects, to explore new ideas, or challenge the status quo – allowing these things to happen drives the team’s passion. And if you want to create a truly innovative company, it’s about passion.”

Jojo’s view of leadership and the type of leader he wants to be has changed. He explains that when he was younger, he was the leader. “It’s straightforward because you lead from the front,” he says. “The challenge of the people at my level is about teaching the next generation how to lead. How do you teach them to fish rather than giving the fish?”

“The challenge of the people at my level is about teaching the next generation how to lead.”

The definition of successful leadership has also evolved. “You now have passionate, empowered team members at all levels. The generation today is excited to go to work and they always find meaning in what they do for the company,” Jojo says.

“Our goal is to take away all the obstacles because they are the ones talking to our consumers. So, let them make the decisions. Let them make mistakes. Let them be passionate. That’s the way to ensure that CIC succeeds in the future.”

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