Mexican Woman CEO Meets Her Greatest Professional Challenge
This year, Lucero Franco took on her greatest professional challenge to-date.
A little background: Lucero got her start at IBM more than 25 years ago. Based in Guadalajara, Mexico, she has been happily working with the same team of people, even though the team has been sold to two different businesses. Today, she is the Business Process and Logistics Sr. Manager at FoxConn. These transitions have strengthened the team as they’ve grown closer together.
“We accomplished things I never thought we could,” Lucero said. “But the challenges are actually the best part, because that is when you grow; when you face a problem, and turn into an opportunity.”
“Challenges are the best part, because that is when you grow. When you face a problem, and turn it into an opportunity.
As Lucero gained experience in the tech industry, she also acquired skills in finance, procurement, internal audit, business process, project management and in the integration of supply chain and logistics.
In January 2013, Lucero career took a big turn. She took a leave of absence from FoxConn to take on a temporary CEO position at Zarkin, a leather furniture manufacturer in Mexico. Her first goal was to help the company migrate to SAP software, an important Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) tool to organize and unify all of the company’s disconnected data. She led them through this huge process in only a month and a half, instead of the eight months it usually takes.
The second task was to evaluate the company’s financial condition and recommend changes to increase profitability. She identified trends with bestselling products and clients and determined where they could increase efficiency while maintaining the company’s passion and priority for quality.
Lastly, and most importantly, she improved teamwork among different teams within the company. She knew that this would be crucial to the company’s success.
“In Mexico, our culture is not known for working well in teamwork,” Lucero said. “But teamwork was key. This was my strategy. And this was the great challenge”
When I asked how she went about cultivating teamwork with frustrated employees, Lucero said:
“My starting point for addressing a problem always starts with a focus on one person at a time. Let’s say someone named “Joe” is having problems on the project, I will start by only focusing on him. I listen, and then say, ‘I know what you are trying to tell me but the only thing I can make sure of right now is that your work is your area is going well. Give me a little confidence in your area, let’s work on your responsibilities, and I will assure you that we will have a successful project. What are your problems on your team? With your tasks? How are you doing? How are other people are supporting you? “I tell the person that I will work with the other teams to make sure that they too are doing their best. Each person has to first be responsible for their own problems and results.
“I start without having an opinion of the problem. You cannot judge things you cannot see. You cannot say, ‘You are wrong and the other person is right.’ When people know the impact of their own work and its impact of the other department’s work, it makes a difference. Sometimes all the problems boil down to bad communication or maybe someone who made a few mistakes. So I am direct, and explain why is it important for them to focus on themselves.”
Lucero’s driving philosophy in all her work and in meeting challenges, is fairness.
“You must act according to values,” Lucero said. “My driving value is fairness – to be fair with the people, the process, and companies.”