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7 Questions with Pascal Lambet
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7 Questions with Pascal Lambet
Name: Pascal Lambet
Current title: Deputy CEO
Current organisation: Eiffage
I studied as an Engineer in the Brussels area. After a first experience within the sector of statutory controls, I stepped in Suez, which became GDF-Suez and then Engie Group. I stayed there for 22 years ! Rather unexpected but I got the challenges I was looking for ! I started as a contract manager as almost all new starter engineers. I had the chance to work abroad for a while. This was really a game changer for me. I learned a lot during this period. When returning to Brussels, I entered the company management team, where I had several roles before I ended up as COO. I then had the opportunity to enter the Eiffage Group as Deputy CEO for Belgium.
1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?
Being able to develop a long term vision in a always more short term revenue logic of groups and shareholders. The acceleration of the pace of changes that we know for the last years is also very challenging in large organisations where there is a certain inertia. That underlines the need to bring dynamic and "open to change" mindset onboard.
2. How did you become a CEO or executive of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?
As mentioned above is my short bio, I had the chance to work abroad for a while and I encountered very challenging and diverse situations. These experiences allowed me to learn very quickly and acquire various skills that were required to evolve (HR, financials, project management, ...) and to gain the trust of the Company management. I then had the chance to play significant roles in the group .
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I usually wake up at 6:00 am. I start my day with 30 min stretching and work-out. Stretching is a kind of meditation to me, I connect my body to my mind. It allows me to start my day with good positive energy. Then I wake up my son and we have breakfast. We are about to leave around 7:30.
I try to keep the morning time to achieve work where I need focus and creativity and keep the afternoon for meetings and e-mail. Days where I have my son, I try to finish the work not too late- so as to connect after our day and have dinner together. Days when he is with his mom, I take the opportunity to do some more work or appointments. I try to go to sleep around 11:00 pm
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
Don't expect your positive intentions to be understood ! Make them clear again and again and link them to your decisions, speech and actions.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
"What matters now" from Gary Hamel. It highlights the importance of having human values in companies, innovation, adaptability, passion and Ideology. If everybody can agree that human values are important, very few leaders promote it openly and actively in large companies or groups. Personally, I try as much as I can to be in line with my values.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in a large enterprise?
There are of course different ways to build such capacity. Some people are more charismatic than others. I build (and still building) my leadership capacity first in having a specific expertise, then achieving results and completing flagship projects. Exemplary is paramount and also being kind and benevolent to others, which is not always easy when under pressure.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise so far?
Once I had to stop employment with an employee that crossed the line. It wasn't a bad guy but what he did could not stay without consequences. Showing empathy and kindness even in such a situation is very important for the person who is going to face a very difficult situation in the coming weeks or months. A few months later, the guy called me. Things were not easy for him but he thanked me for the fairness of the process. The relationship was not broken, he could keep valuing himself and then go further in this life.