«Entrepreneurial management is a leadership structure designed specifically for the uncertainty that characterizes the 21st century». Eric Ries, entrepreneur and creator of the Lean Startup method as well as the author of “The Startup Way”, previously mentioned in the first pages of this issue, talks about a discipline created to help leaders cultivate an entrepreneurial attitude for themselves and their teams.

EVOLVE regularly dedicates articles and interviews to the themes of Human Capital and Accountability. In collaboration with human resources and management experts, we have told stories of large projects and investments that required goal-oriented (and team-spirited) task forces. Each challenge corresponds to the commitment and contribution of a multitude of people, each with their own specific skills and professionalism, and their own original talent.

We know that to be an entrepreneur in a network of entrepreneurs, and thus create shared value, it is not enough just to have a group of people working together. On the contrary, it is necessary to activate and encourage mutual collaboration, orienting it towards the achievement of common objectives. But that’s not all: we must be able to take it one step further, promoting innovation as a value. Making people, the true protagonists of the evolution underway, the promoters of change capable of making the process concrete and effective. «Maire Tecnimont has always put its people first, aware that challenges can only be met by pooling the energy of individuals, with the kind of engagement that makes them feel part of the company community» explains Sara Frassine, Group Development & Compensation Head of Department. «Over the years, we have launched numerous initiatives to maximize everyone’s contribution to the Group’s success. Some examples that come to mind are the training courses on offer, the Employee Performance Commitment (EPC) assessment process, the Employees Share Ownership Plan and the program Be Adaptive! These are all initiatives stemming from the entrepreneurial vision and innovative spirit of our Group».

Innovation is expressed by choosing cutting-edge technologies and designing advanced business models and processes; it is therefore impossible to conceive of it as being distinct from and independent of people. Undoubtedly, the success of a multinational group cannot be achieved without the contribution of each individual - an entrepreneur operating in a network of entrepreneurs - and the participation of those individuals in meeting company challenges. «Recognizing merit and skill is the backbone of our growth - continues Frassine - as well as the involvement of our people in the shared effort and commitment of achieving ambitious goals. In 2016, this awareness prompted the company to launch the groundbreaking initiative of the Employees Share Ownership Plan, also proposed for the three-year period 2020-2022, which provides employees with the opportunity to receive Maire Tecnimont shares free of charge, subject to the achievement of predefined objectives». The plan, which has been enthusiastically embraced by the company’s personnel, has seen continued adherence in more than 96% of the employees involved over the three-year period from 2016 to 2018. «The near-total adherence to the new Plan in 2020 - with peaks of 100% in India - has surpassed the success of the first edition of the plan. Our people are our greatest asset, generating value through their skills, knowledge, and technical and professional abilities. But motivation and commitment to current and future strategic challenges also play a decisive role, as does feeling part of a single project that aims to achieve common goals».

Training and Mentorship

Training, both specialized and transversal, is a tool that can guarantee levels of operational excellence and the continuous improvement of skills. Sara Frassine explains: «Developing the EPC evaluation process in the various Group companies has allowed us to spread common values and strengthen a positive feedback culture aimed at growth throughout the years. Based on the analysis of the needs expressed in interviews with managers, we are offering technical-specialized updates, training initiatives dedicated to project management methodologies, risk and contract management, and in-depth analysis of economic and financial issues to the people in our company. Not to forget the consolidation of managerial and communication soft-skills through programs and workshops dedicated to leadership, effective behaviors, negotiation and team-working». Frassine continues by saying: «All this is possible not only by drawing on the experience of seasoned professionals, but also thanks to the collaboration of colleagues who serve as teachers. In the unique situation of these past months, training has been one of the fundamental elements that has helped maintain cohesion among our people, creating identity and making the company feel present and close. Our digital platform MET Academy is a very supportive tool enabling all employees from every part of the world to access more than 200 training units and lesson learnt, in order to tap into the company’s extensive knowledge base. In the same spirit, for the first time in the Group, we created a series of webinars on interdisciplinary topics open to the entire corporate community in early 2021. The next challenge will be to complement our rich training curriculum with specific development paths and mentorship programs, aimed specifically at the Group’s younger employees, who represent the future of Maire Tecnimont. An essential role will be played in this program by a more senior management team, who will be involved as mentors capable of sharing experience and knowledge… In fact, we want this to be yet another opportunity that will help the entire organization grow».

This is how professional knowledge flows in multiple directions, with multicultural and multigenerational teams able to field test the activities of a plant in real time, developing technical, decision-making and problem-solving skills. Having the right mix of competencies needed to manage complex projects allows you to deploy the most effective team. «The goal is to create the most competent and complete team - confirms Frassine - in terms of the specific needs of the projects, backed by a wealth of varied and complementary professional experience».

Working towards objectives, with a smart approach
In this roundup of best practices on corporate entrepreneurship, there is also the issue of being adaptive: the world, technology and the way we conceptualize space and time are, in fact, changing rapidly. «Our CEO has repeatedly explained - says Sara Frassine - that digital technology should be experienced as an opportunity not only to redesign processes, but to offer the market the know-how that facilitates change. On the other hand, digital transformation is successfully changing business models and the structure of the value chain: I am referring to the impact on processes, organization and corporate culture. Since 2016, we have incorporated smart working, choosing a highly innovative approach, and launched the Be Adaptive - Think Tank ideas competition to encourage the extensive and immediate involvement of our people in this new experience: employees were given the opportunity to present, either individually or in groups, a business case on the introduction of Agile Working. The participation of more than 150 colleagues and the presentation of 58 business cases provided the first real confirmation of the validity of the adopted approach to involve and engage people in the transformation process».

The onset of the pandemic has confirmed the viability of Maire Tecnimont’s flexible model. We had projected its effectiveness during the pre-test phase of the technology and geared the model towards maximizing each person’s ability to operate autonomously and achieve the results required of them. «The entrepreneurial spirit is strengthened by the prospect of choosing the most effective work format, whether in person or by remote, - concludes Frassine - which encourages responsibility and initiative in managing assigned activities, as well as helping to reconcile the demands of one’s professional career with one’s private life. Every employee has been allowed to manage his or her own workday, under the guidance of his or her supervisor, and to choose the most suitable place from which to carry out the work they must accomplish. In this case, the use of the term people-oriented strategies is quite appropriate. It became very clear during the most critical months of the healthcare emergency that agile thinking was already widespread throughout our organization: this awareness has been a great support, both internally and to all our stakeholders. We will continue to invest our focus on new initiatives such as digital transformation, innovation of knowledge creation and dissemination processes, fully aware that these areas will become increasingly interconnected. And the more effective these new initiatives are, the more people will continue to be active participants».