Triumph is a team sport

Triumph is a team sport

May 26, 2024

José Bogas, CEO of Spain’s leading electricity provider Endesa, came to UNIQ to chat with José Manuel Calderón.

Bogas got his beginnings as an engineering graduate, working for a few different companies before landing a position in Spain’s National Electricity Company, which later became known as Endesa. He worked his way up, holding several different roles over the last four decades. In 2014, he became CEO, stepping up to lead the company’s digital and green transformation.

He is also President of Elcogas, a board member of the Spanish Association of Electric Industry (UNESA) and formed part of the board of Enel Green Power Spain.

In the 30-minute conversation, he spoke about identifying the essence, values and impacts of a company, as well as the people and teams who make businesses run.

Working together for sustainability

Societies today face two major disruptive elements: digital transformation and the transition to green energy, he explains. This transformation is largely triggered by the fight to bring climate change under control, and it’s already affecting our lifestyles.

“We tend to associate sustainability with the environment, but I believe it's a much bigger concept than that”

Of its many projects tackling the global challenge of sustainability, Endesa is promoting circular economy projects like reusing the batteries of electric cars.

Corporate responsibility

It’s no secret that corporations strive to generate profits. “Being profitable isn’t bad, it helps create jobs, pay taxes and generate wealth,” said Bogas. But he also insisted that both private and public organizations have fundamental obligations that go far beyond money.

First of all, “a company needs to add value that transcends its own business,” he said. This applies to the values a company brings to societies and its employees. Endesa, he explains, started as a humble coal company. It gradually grew by clearly communicating its important role in society and its values, as well as attracting and motivating talent.

Second, Bogas returns to the question of transformation. He believes that for companies to be sustainable over the long term, their work must be inclusive. Therefore, the second obligation for all companies is to “not leave anyone behind.”

Six thinking hats

“Everyone needs a team to lead,” said the Endesa CEO, emphasizing how crucial leadership and teamwork are to any company’s success. The businessman proudly explains how decision-making is shared and analyzed by teams at Endesa.

Team management is also a constant challenge for the executive. On this topic, Bogas shared some of the nuggets of wisdom that he’s picked up throughout his career.

He mentioned the book Six Thinking Hats by Edward de Bono, which he said helped him understand that everyone is working from a different point of view. That’s why it can be difficult to both understand and be understood. By putting on different hats, we can appreciate different perspectives and keep our emotions under control.

“It’s often good to think with your gut. But you run into trouble when you don’t realize you’re making gut decisions”

Borgas suggests that learning to control our thoughts is key to not only our own happiness but to the happiness of those who surround us. “To be happier, we have to try to overcome the biases and thought patterns that we don’t realize are constantly running,” he said.

Social media and feedback

José Manuel Calderón shifts the conversation to the digital realm, asking the CEO to share his opinion on social networks. Bogas acknowledges that they can be extremely useful for learning, getting feedback and understanding different opinions, saying he learns something from every piece of criticism.

However, he added that it's important to realize that there’s a lot of misinformation online and some comments aren’t genuine. Trolls and bots, for instance, are bad-faith actors, so you have to be clever in navigating all the information and separating the good from the bad.

What Endesa has in common with basketball

To finish the conversation, the former NBA player brings up a topic of intersecting interest. Endesa has sponsored Spanish basketball for many years and Spain’s top professional basketball division is even called the Liga Endesa, so Calderon asked what made Endesa choose to focus on basketball.

Bogas replied simply and concisely. Endesa sees itself reflected in basketball because they share a lot of the same values: proactivity, responsibility, trust and the ability to innovate.

“Triumph is a team sport”