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7 Questions with Ricardo Oliveira
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7 Questions with Ricardo Oliveira
Name: Ricardo Oliveira
Current title: CEO
Current organisation: RCO Projects Architecture & Engineering
Ricardo Oliveira is the founder and CEO of RCO Projects Architecture & Engineering established in both the UK and Brazil. With these two locations he can strategically cover markets globally mainly in the Latin America and Europe which are the RCO Projects main markets.
Ricardo is by trade a Project Manager , Automation Engineer, Designer & Architectural Technologist and brings over 24 years experience in the construction and healthcare projects for markets like in Europe and Latin America having designed , built , project managed , installed and commissioned hundreds of specialized projects like for instance in the automotive industry for companies like Volkswagen, Ford, Mercedes, also for commercial & public buildings, private and public hospitals , Major University Hospitals in Europe providing solutions for live surgery transmissions and automations directly from integrated operating rooms among other special projects for critical cares and efficiency improvements for entire premises.
Ricardo has had experiences in the past with major leading corporations in their markets like for instance GE Medical Systems, this way allowing him to experience many different styles of management and leaderships, being yet able to analyse and take advantage of the best from different worlds mainly from the Americas and Europe.
Ricardo has specialised himself in BIM (Building Information Modelling ) and Projects Collaboration studying his MSc Master´s in England and therefore reinforcing and maintaining the culture of teamwork and collaboration within his corporation, businesses and projects.
1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?
Implementing necessary changes and effective communication between work colleagues and departments , managing egos and conflicts making everyone understand that no one is better than the others but everyone is different and important in their particular way rather complementing each other´s abilities and therefore the team strength as a whole.
2. How did you become a CEO or executive of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?
Working for very large multinational corporations in the past, made me observe many times that in order to achieve targets and numbers, most of the times, the clients were forgotten and left behind. Such situations to me were so disturbing and therefore made me realise that I had a lot more to offer, my very own values and concepts, thinking and bringing solutions to clients as per their real needs, personalising , customising my services as I strongly believe that we have to work side by side for a long lasting relationship, not only within the company but also with clients and all stakeholders involved. I have learned throughout the years that by forcing clients to purchase something that they don't completely want or require , makes your future inconsistent and you will certainly lose your market´s trust and confidence on you , on your brand , services , products and projects. Having said that, it had come the time to start from the very beginning, opening my own firm and implementing my very own concepts in order to consistently build up my brand and have my clients' trust for a very long future ahead.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I must admit that with so much travelling involved planning and structuring days are quite challenging. However my plan is always to wake up very early in the morning and whenever possible try to exercise either in a gym or outdoors. To me it is very refreshing to start my day with energy , having a great breakfast, some morning reading and feeling good to embrace the challenges ahead of my day. Usually my days are also quite long and the most important part to me is to spend as much time as possible with my family, talking about how they did spend their time, school, activities and even studying and playing together. That is something paramount to me, having real quality family time with my wife and our 3 wonderful kids !
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
I have to tell you that I have been through very tough times which did last for at least 3,5 years. Since my wife got pregnant with our youngest daughter in 2015, we found out the pregnancy would be a really difficult one not to mention that our very precious baby had Down Syndrome. What to us did not matter at all , she was and still is the biggest blessing of our lives as our other 2 boys are. However she had so many congenital conditions that her life was at a very high risk, and that for sure did matter to us , saving her life and trying to avoid as much suffering as possible for such a little and strong baby ! Well, a long story short , our blessed girl went through 9 surgery procedures and overcame them all, including a full heart reconstruction being so small and young but yet very very strong , a true warrior ! She has shown us how important life , family, unity ,faith, resilience , determination, courage, and how we depend on each other. We were blessed and could count on many people´s help. I had another two boys at home and had to hide all the distress we were going through. They were already suffering from their mother and sister´s absence and hospitalization without understanding why they were not at home yet. Finally and after all we came out winners and stronger. But speaking of leadership , well this story has everything to do with regards to us being human beings. People have problems, personal lives, families , health issues and all sorts of troubles in life. We cannot treat employees as machines or numbers, and in such difficult times , rather than getting rid of people like I have seen and experienced myself , we have to support them and provide the necessary assistance on the way we can.
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?
To me by far my favourite and inspiring book is Jack Welsh and Leadership. Not only the book inspired me but also I had the pleasure of being part of such a corporation like GE and could feel on my skin a philosophy in practise ! His passion for passing knowledge on , for driving the corporation taking advantage and focusing on what they had expertise yet letting go of what they did not have knowledge. Many still call him ruthless but in fact a great leader has to think on the big picture to improve, to provide a better life to employees, to give more and more opportunities, and if he did at some times was "ruthless" , most of the times he improved people's life quality, gave opportunity offering and investing in training courses and in people. I worked for GE and to be fair , as long as you were doing your best and performing the way you should , there was only one way, the top ! With him I learned how to be effective, to think collectively, to share knowledge, to invest in people and to work in a team focusing only on the best, to the company, to the employees, to the market.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in a large enterprise?
By setting high standards, by giving the example, by trusting people , by sharing knowledge , by acknowledging people's virtues and strengths and by investing in your employees. We have to give responsibilities and trust that people will perform well. And if not , how do we teach them so they can improve? Learning is a constant process to anyone and people learn with people. I might know something in particular more than you but surely you will know something else more than me. We grow by exchanging knowledge and experiences and by being humble we are able to open our eyes and ears to the world.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise so far?
I must emphasize the importance of believing in people and giving opportunities with humble eyes and an open mind. Anyone can contribute to a growth here or there once we spot their strengths and qualities and therefore where that person can achieve his best potential. Unfortunately I still see in very large organizations that they do not value employees who should be their best assets ever. Also how certain management seniors feel threatened when more knowledgeable employees come from below and therefore instead of acting as a leader they act as a "boss" , taking a quality human being off their sights. It is sad that nowadays we still have such short mentalities in large corporations however it is also something that makes me value myself , , my organization, my co-workers, employees, partners and in fact it can only make me prouder of how our organization has been working and producing, side-by-side giving our best to the most valuable asset we have , our people.