By Andrés Meza

The passion that brought me to ABTC was first cultivated in my formative years at my family’s cattle ranch. It was at the ranch that a lifelong passion for building robust and connected business practices was instilled and it is at ABTC that I join others in charting our course towards operational excellence.

My first exposure to the concept of actively shaping a business’ direction was at my family’s cattle ranch in the tropical sierras of Mexico. To the outside observer, it might seem that cattle ranching is more passive than active. After all, cows in a field just lazily lounge about while a rancher casually looks after them, right? The truth is there is a lot more going on. We didn’t call them ‘KPIs’, but that is exactly what livestock density, reproductive and feed efficiency and net production are on a ranch. By paying close attention to our cattle, the grass, the water, and the land, we could react to any deviation from the target and make the necessary corrections to hit our business’s annual goals. While the cattle grazed and the creek babbled along, we were hard at work, day in and day out, keeping everything on the right track.

In my first months as COO of ABTC, I have invested my time in listening and learning to my team members about our KPIs, near term needs, and long term visions to help me better understand how we can create a systematic approach to operational excellence in order to achieve our ambitious goals. Listening is not just about sitting quietly and nodding your head; it is about asking the right questions. As the people that know me will attest, I like to engage with provocative questions – ones that challenge the way that we perceive ourselves and help us expand our perspectives.

I see the recent leadership transition as a chance to take stock and reassess. We have an opportunity to build off of a strong foundation to drive greater intention, clarity of purpose, and streamlined resource stewardship. As we are developing the model for our organization, I have asked questions like the following:

  • How can we fully and efficiently utilize the potential of our talented team? – When I ask this question, I’m not just referring to ABTC employees but our shareholders, business and community partners, city officials, and advisors as well. We will do a better job in understanding what motivates people to bring their best every day by engaging with them directly and thoughtfully.
  • How can we work with urgency without sacrificing quality? – Our world has legitimate, pressing environmental issues and ABTC is uniquely positioned to address the ethics and environmental impact of battery materials. It’s key that we continually review our purpose alongside our actions, perfecting the applications of our technology and commercial processes through this immediacy mindset, to ensure we continue to contribute to company growth in responsible, sustainable ways.
  • What could we achieve from being intentional about our actions? – The sky’s the limit for what we can build at ABTC. This question gets to the heart of what operational excellence is all about: creating and implementing processes that drive mindful and bold action. We have a robust accountability and management process, and when we collectively follow it with discipline, it will lead to success.

Asking the right questions is an important first step. As much as careful planning and observation are needed on a ranch, or any business, there comes a time when all that is left to do is roll up your sleeves and get to work. The ABTC team has worked vigorously to perfect our extraction processes,prove first-of-kind demonstrations, and lay the groundwork for us not only to succeed as a company, but as an industry and a country. I look forward to helping this team succeed and strive for operational excellence in everything we do.

Learn more about Andrés Meza in this interview with Market Rebel’s Jon Najarian.