“Making mistakes is always an option. The only problem is not learning from them”, Alfonso Andrés, professor, mentor and finance professional.
04 de January de 2021
04 de January de 2021
We know that he has a great passion for finance and investments, with more than fifteen years of experience in M&A, valuation and financing in different sectors at a global level. We also know that, after helping several companies close numerous transactions as a financial advisor, he decided to make the transition to Vestas and centre his efforts in the financing and investing sector of renewable energies.
After attending EAE’s Coffee Chat, where we counted with Alfonso’s presence, we learned a great deal about him. But there is one thing that remains a mystery to us.
And that is, how he likes his coffee.
After spending over a decade in the renewable energies sector, would you say they are the future?
I would not say they are the future, but rather that they are the present. I am really optimistic regarding the future of this sector. I have no doubt. I think the renewable market will create many jobs. And not only that. Also, numerous opportunities, new technologies and new players will emerge. I am happy to be where I am and to do what I do.
And everything is energy… even every single one of us. What would you say is the key to renewing ourselves?
Always be willing to keep on learning. Ask for honest feedback —always—, and be ready to receive it, accept it and learn from it. I think this is the only way in which you can achieve constant improvement. Never stop being an apprentice.
After all, “sometimes you win, sometimes you learn”, right?
Exactly. Making mistakes is always an option —in fact, the most likely one— that we need to keep in mind and from which we must learn. There once was a corporate motto that left a mark on me: “making mistakes is not an option”. I think that what this kind of attitude really transmits is the idea that people should not risk doing anything new and different for the fear of making a mistake. And that is not what I stand for
Now that we have learned that we should not be afraid of making mistakes, we can finally ask you this question that we had been saving. Do you want to talk about your mistakes?
Indeed! And precisely because of what I mentioned before, I want to share this with you. Instead of talking about my success, I will tell you about the mistakes I made. Are you ready?
We are all ears…
A common mistake that I myself have made is not asking for help. People think that by asking questions, they give an image of weakness, of not knowing everything and of not being professional. But it is not like that — not at all. Asking for help makes you stronger. Something that I always focus on and that I remind my students quite often is that the technical aspect is important, of course, but not as important as the personal aspect. Doing things with passion and daring to ask questions you don’t know the answers to, in order to learn, make you a better professional.
One example is enough to prove a point…
I, for instance, am passionate about teaching and have had the opportunity of teaching finance classes all around the world. It is important to be aware of the fact that even if you are labeled an expert, you do not have to know everything. Having an attitude of constant learning allows you to develop your skills and knowledge constantly. And not only at a financial level, but also at a human level. I never forget that I am working to contribute value and to solve problems for people. And it is easy to forget about it when you are in a rush and with the pressure of everyday life.
Any key concept for the rest of us?
What I am about to say may seem basic. I used to believe in “letting your work speak for itself”. I found out late –although it is better late than never– about the importance of self-promoting, of transmitting how proud you are of your work and showing your achievements. I am not talking about exaggerating and selling something you are not. I mean being capable of showing the value of what you do.
Ok. From now on, we will show our achievements more, but we were talking about your mistakes. Nothing else to declare?
Of course! Another mistake I used to make was trying to control and predict the future. We do not have as much control over our professional careers as we would like. It depends on several factors. We must understand that it is something that is beyond our power. What we can do is invest in that future by working hard, improving our skills, being good team-mates, having a good attitude… But always remembering that nothing is for sure and there is no guarantee. We do not control the future, only our behaviour.
And what did you learn from that?
When I was thinking about taking a Master degree, I kept on repeating to myself that it was not a good time for that. “Now is not a good time because I have two children. Later either because I have a lot of work to do. Afterwards not because I have classes”. Until I understood that there was never going to be a perfect time for it and precisely because of that, the perfect moment was now. I learned that I cannot predict the future but I can try and invest in making it better. If I do the things that feel right for myself and chase what I want, not only will I be a happier person, but I will also be a better professional.
Then, each of our actions should move us towards a better professional future?
I wish we could know for sure which actions will make our future better! Networking is always mentioned as a way of creating professional opportunities. In my case, as my professional network grew, I realised that what I enjoyed was the process of meeting and being in contact with people. Professional opportunities may appear in any environment, without the need of constantly searching for them. In my experience, when you are more willing to give is when you are most likely to unexpectedly receive.
Well! That was not a very good question!
On the contrary! But, speaking about questions, in fact, one of the worst mistakes I have made has been not making the appropriate questions! —he laughs—. And I am not talking about asking others; I mean asking myself. “Why haven’t I been assigned this project? Why not me? Why?” But I changed that way of thinking and focused on asking myself what did really make me happy, even if it sounds a bit silly. I focused more on what I wanted to do and less on what others expected from me. “More, what for?” And, “less, why?”
And before we finish, how are you doing with these virtual meetings?
I have to admit that this home office thing is not bad at all —he smiles—. I would even dare to say that without the coffee break people move more lightly from one call to the next. Just kidding! The truth is that I like human contact and I hope we can get it back soon.
Without a coffee break, we finish this meeting without knowing how he likes his coffee. But it does not matter, because Alfonso has taught us a much more valuable lesson: we cannot control the future but we have, in our hands, the power to invest in ourselves in order to build ourselves a better future.
And the best moment to start is always today.