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Leadership styles

Contribution signed by the senior management team Egon Zehnder, who worked with our Group

In an increasingly complex and rapidly changing world, only those prepared to share responsibility and power will succeed in guiding companies through a rebalancing of the world economy. Leadership is among the first skills required of the manager of the future: he has to manage complexity, involving and adequately motivating all resources.

On one hand, the manager will have to show that he is an agent of change, stimulating creativity and innovation inside the team. But also by generating strategic objectives, connecting the company with stakeholders, and the outside world. On the other hand, he will have to develop intellectual curiosity, have a capacity for vision, determination, and engagement.

As Harvard professor Robert Kegan explains: a leader must overcome resistance to change (immunity to change). This is the only way that will allow the implementing of an adequate management style, particularly in exponential organizations, ie those that have non-linear growth.

My experience as an advisor in the business world has shown that over 80% of medium-large Italian companies evaluate the professional performance of their employees. Half of these then integrate it with training and assessment for individual improvement. Mentoring and managerial coaching? Only 20% of companies implement it. If we measure how much the business community is really aware of the importance of developing processes, systems, and methods to improve team effectiveness, we discover that the issue of collective leadership exists only in the most advanced contexts.

But a company has more value the higher the individual qualities of its people, and the collective quality of its teams. The excellence of individual human capital becomes the premise and condition that is necessary for the success of the company, only if it evolves into an efficient and effective team dynamic.

The Maire Tecnimont experience

The average Italian manager has lateral thinking and is creative, responds to emergencies, is sensitive to the factors of the political-social context, has good social intelligence, and manages complexity. On the other hand, they are not very international, have a weak orientation to the process, a greater propensity to relations than to task themselves, they also struggle to delegate, don't have much of a human resources development culture, and lack in communication. It is, therefore, necessary to overcome the typical polarity between creativity/innovation on the one hand, and structuring/processes on the other.

We met the Maire Tecnimont Group in 2011-12, during an initial intervention to enhance key resources. At the time, the Group was weak on the commercial front and needed more attention to the economic and financial aspects. At a time when it was essential to create a Group identity and to define a strategic mission, the company was very operational in managing emergencies, that absorbed most of its energy. In some areas, we feared for the future of the Group. Despite all of this, the technical and operational skills were broad and solid, and the management remained strongly motivated.

The Group has very heterogeneous Leadership Development systems and professional development paths that were typical of the sector, with long and vertical careers, a strong passion for technical content and less interest in the global managerial and economic/financial dimension. The entire management team was exposed to greater transversal complexities: the typical scenario of a company that grew too quickly and through external means, which required a redefinition of the processes.

Our first recommendation was to look beyond the daily difficulties, paying more attention to the future in regards to a Group identity, synergies, managerial dimension, and corporate governance.

After 5 years. we met 31 managers, only 12 of whom belong to the previous project. Thanks to a profound managerial turnover - starting from the appointment of Pierroberto Folgiero, Chief Executive Officer Maire Tecnimont - and to a noteworthy strengthening of assets, today the results are definitely better, and allow a consistent and continuous growth trend.

Now, strategies are clearer, as well as specific objectives for the team, partly, thanks to the importance given to corporate communication. The Group is experiencing a positive momentum: this energy should not be wasted but cemented by way of transforming behaviors, processes and a greater sense of co-responsibility. The strong orientation towards an external market is evident, with a positive propensity for embracing the new. Progress has also been made in terms of efficiency.

On one hand, the Maire Tecnimont management team maintains the strengths typical of Italian DNA (creativity, innovation, ability to relate); on the other hand, it has taken steps in the right direction (embracing the orientation and structuring of processes, propensity task administration, development of human resources, and communication). Efforts are now directed towards other areas of development as well: as a confirmation of the unanimous agreement of the priority objectives, a "Team Pact" has been signed.

Team agreement:

• The project is at the center. The Project Manager is the guardian of the common goal

• The Project Manager is not alone, he/she steps up, takes up responsibilities and delivers

• The functions take a step back, putting themselves at service of the project

• Project Manager skills: authority, competence, experience

• We invest in the involvement and growth of our people

• We acquire, integrate, and develop skills to face the challenges of the future

• We break down barriers, creating a culture of discussions and feedback

• We promote change and consolidate experiences

• We get our hands dirty to create added value

• We are masters of our future: we fill the pages of our book.

Maire Tecnimont is aware of the complexity and rapid evolution of the market and has chosen to get involved and embark on a path of self-evaluation. Thus demonstrating the resilience and ability to regenerate and maintain leadership in the areas of business.