LP Magazine

JUL-AUG 2018

LP magazine publishes articles for loss prevention, asset protection, and retail professionals covering shrinkage, investigations, shoplifting, internal theft, fraud, technology, best practices, and career development.

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continued from page 46 48 JULY–AUGUST 2018 | LOSSPREVENTIONMEDIA.COM of successfully replicating our model in different industries and deploying that model on a large scale in several countries because of an internal focus on innovation. That really drives everything that we do. Our predominant mindset has been that we consider each one of us within the company to be an entrepreneur. We go to great lengths to realize the potential of our team through a culture that emphasizes the value of ideas developed inside the company. We continually reinvest in idea development through an innovation process that allows us to capture and develop ideas from our people, our clients, and other parties with whom we become involved as part of our operations. We've already spent several million dollars in internal innovation projects. As a result, four of the six businesses that ALTO currently operates have sprung from ideas submitted by our own employees or by our partners, which were completely developed in-house. When you look at it this way, you realize that being entrepreneurial isn't so much a matter of one individual but must rather be a distinctive feature of the team as a whole. To put it in other words, I cannot be the only person that embodies entrepreneurship within our business. It's imperative to empower your people with that same vision and big thinking. You don't need to look elsewhere for great ideas and growth opportunities; harvest them inside. What do you feel is the best way for leaders to capture and maintain an innovative mindset? NAZER: In order to succeed, you have to shake the fear of stepping outside of what is considered safe and learn to embrace the self-destructive nature of your ideas. That is the only way to truly innovate. This forces us to be creative in terms of continually finding new ways and situations in which our presence could be relevant. And, in a way, that effectiveness has played in our favor in the past. Our logo, for instance, which was initially only recognized by law offenders, is now also relevant for other groups, such as employees and customers. It is associated with compliance, respect for the law, and security, both in internal work environments and in public spaces. This has allowed us to take our services to places as diverse as offices and warehouses, parking lots, and, more recently, public transportation. For example, the results in public transportation have been amazing. Previous estimates placed the evasion rate in Santiago, Chile, at 50 percent of passengers during peak hours—half the passengers weren't paying for their tickets. With the introduction of ALTO's model, in a little over eight months, fare evasion in Santiago diminished by 20 percent, which means that 400,000 more people were paying their fares. In this case, the success of the model rests in large part on the effectiveness already achieved in other settings, such as retail stores. So rather than having a diminishing effect over time, our impact becomes amplified when approached creatively. So don't be afraid of self-destruction. What appears to be an inherent problem with your idea in the long run could be a blessing in disguise—if you look at it the right way. Why do you think so many startups struggle to get past the first stages of development? NAZER: This is not an easy question to answer, but I believe that it must be asked for every startup that really wants to transcend and be successful. As an entrepreneur you have to aim to make an impact. And by this, I mean an impact on society as a whole. Look to make a change for the better that is broader than what your company does, but one you can identify with and make your own. In our case, this impact is the reduction of certain types of crimes that translate into fewer losses for our clients. That is the core reasoning behind our model, and it was certainly its inspiration from the beginning. After all, we set to tackle the root causes that explain theft, petty crime, and small offenses in many industries and locations, and those causes are deeply engrained in our culture and social behavior. By acting upon those causes, we were effectively changing things. To this day, one of the most significant and rewarding aspects of my job is seeing the ALTO model literally interrupt criminal careers before they actually become careers. By ensuring a fair and timely sanction of individuals that are just entering that path, we are tackling the problem before it's too late for them and too costly for society as a whole. They become visible to the system in time for better reinsertion and better opportunities. This was one reason that ALTO's model was adopted by the Chilean government in 2010 while developing a new national program for crime prevention and control. At the request of Chile's president, I had the privilege of heading a governmental effort that took our principles to the realm of public policy. It created a precedent: a successful private endeavor could provide inspiration for improving the safety and the quality of life of the community. This is the kind of impact that I'm talking about—one that inspires both you and your people, giving meaning to your vision and crystalizing your passion. This kind of impact literally becomes fuel for your company. So as entrepreneurs, we must ask ourselves, "What impact am I making? What impact can I make?" In order to succeed, you have to shake the fear of stepping outside of what is considered safe and learn to embrace the self-destructive nature of your ideas. That is the only way to truly innovate. This forces us to be creative in terms of continually finding new ways and situations in which our presence could be relevant.

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