Responsible ownership in times of crisis

null Responsible ownership in times of crisis

Responsible ownership in times of crisis

Genelec is a company based on values that we believe in, and are carried out every day in our actions and decisions: belief, enthusiasm, honesty, respect and justice. With these values comes a deep sense of responsibility. While we believe enthusiastically that there is a future in manufacturing premium loudspeakers in Finland, we also acknowledge that the world is changing, and we must adapt constantly to survive, and to thrive.

Facing the future honestly - and being respectful and just - means that we take necessary actions to ensure the well-being of our employees and, by extension, the company. Sometimes these actions are not easy to take, and may require sacrificing short term gains for long term benefit. However, we believe that this is what responsible owners must do.

Adapting to the COVID threat

In a crisis like the current COVID-19 pandemic, we must constantly ask ourselves: what are we doing to make things better? Early on, we shut down all international travel, and moved to remote working whenever practically possible. Since we are manufacturing products, we can't all work remotely, so our factory workers are now our frontline – and we are doing what we can to minimize their risk of infection. In a situation like this, health and human life must be the primary concern, before business. However, we must also balance this against the fact that many people's livelihoods depend on Genelec the company existing. We must not ask ourselves: health or business? Instead we must ask: how can we adapt to this situation so that we can ensure the health and safety of our employees, while also ensuring the survival of the company?

It is becoming clear that the full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is still months ahead. Unfortunately, it now looks like the end result will be a terrible amount of human suffering, first at the hands of the disease, then those who perished and are no longer among us, and finally at the hands of the ravaged economy.

What can we learn?

However, every end is a new beginning, and every crisis also presents opportunities. Not opportunities to make money, but opportunities to learn and grow as human beings. We must take this opportunity to be more compassionate, more giving, less selfish. We must look at what we are doing now, amidst the crisis, and see what parts of it could become building blocks of a new, better way of being human. Was everything we were doing just three months ago really necessary or even worthwhile? Could we in this crisis find the things that truly move us, things that motivate us? Are we able to find happiness, and could that lead to a more permanent source of contentment?

Against this background, building loudspeakers might seem very dull and mundane. After all, it is a physical product: it is manufactured from raw materials and components, shipped to different countries and shops and, ultimately, finds its way into a studio, bedroom, or installation. Yet we have heard from our customers over and over again how these ‘ordinary’ objects have brought them so much joy. Not because of the object itself, but because it is a vehicle through which audio and music becomes real.

Great audio lives on

Our mission states that we are here to help our customers fulfill their dreams by offering them the most truthful sound reproduction possible. Therein lies something more permanent: being truthful. Eventually the COVID-19 crisis will pass, but great audio will remain, from the recording of Neil Armstrong stepping on the moon, to Glenn Gould's rendition of Bach's Goldberg Variations, to Jimi Hendrix’s version of All Along the Watchtower, and countless others. Being able to hear them truthfully, as faithful renderings of the original recordings, is a source of emotion that won't run dry. As Genelec’s owners, it is our responsibility to make sure that you can continue to fulfill your dreams with the most truthful audio reproduction possible.

Mikko Martikainen is one of Genelec’s co-owners, and also works as our Enterprise Architect.

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