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Stewart reminds business leaders to value people and commitment

BY PAUL ALLEN Business reporter allenp@jamaicaobserver.com
Friday, June 29, 2012

THE power of a team makes a heck of a difference, so people should be first and last in any organisation's considerations, said Adam Stewart, CEO of Sandals Resorts International (SRI).

The hardships faced by all companies often go unnoticed by some, especially the youth, he said, as they assume "you have it all figured out", when it really comes down to the staff's commitment to success.

"You have to love business to be successful at it," Stewart said. You must "love the art of the transaction".

Obstacles that prevent companies from growing and achieving their full potential have helped to make them stronger and able to survive, Stewart said at the Mona School of Business (MSB) Roundtable at the University of the West Indies yesterday.

Success is also about forward-thinking, said Stewart, who is also CEO of the Jamaica Observer.

Appliance Traders Limited (ATL), a family company started by his father in 1968, mainly focused on providing air-conditioning units to people. Back then, the cooling units were considered luxuries, but you have to see where there's a gap or a need and capitalise on it, he said. Not only that, you must commit to working wholeheartedly for it to pay off.

It's about a commitment to get things done, he told business leaders at the forum, as "productivity doesn't have a clock", adding that one can find the blood, sweat and tears of dedicated workers behind every successful company.

That said, we must recognise when change is needed and adapt in order to continue being competitive. The business model used by ATL in 1968 cannot be the same model used now, he said, as technological advancements have caused the world to evolve significantly.

Jamaica has great potential to achieve more than it has with a workforce whose "ability to work and be sponges (absorbing information) is unmatched anywhere in the world", but we are challenged by a "soon come" culture, he said.

The MSB Roundtable was staged with SRI's assistance to help Caribbean leaders make better decisions about organisational growth in all economic sectors to raise people's standard of living.

SRI owns and operates over 20 Sandals, Beaches and Grand Pineapple resorts in the region.

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