Niccolò Branca, President of the historic Fratelli Branca Distillerie, a few years ago decided to get involved personally with a book recounting his experience, in some ways very intimate, of the spiritual path that has accompanied him in life for over 20 years. The book, published by Mondadori, is called “Per fare un manager ci vuole un fiore (as meditation has changed me and our company).”
Niccolò Branca tells us about himself and about his experience as an entrepreneur. We can consider him as an “enlightened” entrepreneur but I want to stay out of the stereotypes by focusing on the messages of this book which I consider so important.
In the United States many managers and entrepreneurs (although still very few in percentage) have understood that seeking and finding within themselves a deeper dimension than the “classic” management, is good for people but also to the business.
Instead, all that in Italy is often regarded with suspicion. Or, at best, welcomed as a way of investing in the field of corporate welfare, for managing stress and reducing costs related to health and turnover. Much less to ensure the success of the business.
Niccolò Branca has transcended the stereotypes and has devoted part of his time to tell his story. He does not speak directly of meditation, but rather of the changes that it has brought in his way of being and doing management and how that has turned into winning strategic choices.
An autobiography and manual, the book takes us along the personal vicissitudes (his departure from the family company and the return in 1999, the spiritual path, his health), the company (the Argentine default in 2001 and the rescue of the branch through a courageous albeit unpopular transfer of funds and the launch of a sub-brand; diversification in real estate in America; the creative renaissance of a historic farm in Argentina; the diversification of risk on international markets during the crisis in 2008 …), but above all many valuable teachings.
With simplicity, passion and depth, he tells us about the value of consistency with the original “dream” of his ancestor Bernardino, the courage of the change (“sometimes, to preserve the tradition, it is necessary that everything changes”), self-responsibility, knowing how to meet challenges without giving space to complaints, the mutual recognition of the difference between the roles of manager (“manage”) and entrepreneur (“lead”), knowing how to keep an open mind accepting to change his mind, the management of people addressing their best part, etc.
At the end of the reading, the definition of “enlightened entrepreneur” is no longer a stereotype but “an invitation to join hitherto separate worlds: the spirit and the matter, the Eastern and Western culture, the dimension of being and that of doing“.
His witness is invaluable for the uniqueness within the Italian business panorama, I wholeheartedly recommend reading it to anyone who does business. The world has changed, and I firmly believe that sooner or later all entrepreneurs, of course each in his own way, will have to follow the path suggested by Nicholas Branca … much better start right now.
Niccolò Branca also has a blog where he generously shares thoughts and ideas on what he calls the economy of awareness.