Evolve N°5 - ENG

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STEP UP AND MAKE THINGS HAPPEN! How to transform bureaucracy into an agile model

APRIL 2020

N° 5 - April 2020 www.mairetecnimont.com

THE MAIRE TECNIMONT GROUP MAGAZINE EDITED BY Department of Institutional Relations and Communication Court of Milan registration - N. 338 on the 06/12/2017 EDITOR IN CHIEF Carlo Nicolais EDITORIAL COORDINATOR Massimo Dapoto PROJECT AND DESIGN Cultur-e www.cultur-e.it EDITOR Maire Tecnimont Spa Registered Office Viale Castello della Magliana, 27 - 00148 Roma - Italia Operative Headquarters Via Gaetano De Castillia, 6A - 20124 Milano – Italia PRINTER Gam Edit Srl Via Aldo Moro, 8 - 24035 Curno BG www.gamedit.it Issue completed: 27/04/2020 The rights due for published texts are available for all parties that we were not able to contact.


EDITORIAL Being Champions of resilience and antibureaucracy Editorial by Pierroberto Folgiero Maire Tecnimont Group CEO and Managing Director.


STRATEGIES The Complicatedness Trap

The six rules to manage complexity

Managing complexity does not require the addition of processes, systems and structures.

Reward those who cooperate, increase reciprocity and extend the shadow of the future.

Smart Simplicity Keystones

Humanocracy to get out from under bureaucracy

Ten tips on how to get out of bureaucracy and rely on the intelligence of people.

22 28 40

Interview with Michele Zanini, co-founder with Gary Hamel of the Management Lab.

The importance of being doers

AWP and the shadow of the future

An article by Yves Morieux director of the Institute for Organization and partner at the Boston Consulting Group.

Thanks to digital innovation, Maire Tecnimont retraces processes, reduces bureaucracy and creates efficiency.

CATEGORIES The “white collar novel” Bureaucracy told through literary and cinematographic curiosities.

REPORTAGE The maze of bureaucracy A set of illustrations to talk about custom, form and hierarchy.

TERRITORIES India’s challenge with bureaucracy The great Asian nation’s commitment to streamline the organization of work. Following the example of multinationals.

24 36 44

HISTORY I think, therefore I work A short history of the organization of work told by great managers and economists.

SUSTAINABILITY How to avoid the Green Swan Conversation with Edo Ronchi, former minister of the environment and president of the Sustainable Development Foundation.

MOTTOS Resilient and antibureaucratic Adversity makes us stronger. Stories about those in the Group who have beaten the “bureaucratic approach”.




BEING OF RESILIENCE AND ANTIBUREAUCRACY he professional and personal world as we have previously known it will assume a “new normal”. Due to the emergence of the coronavirus, we are all engaged in an exceptional exercise of resilience, and this compels us to engage in further reflection. Every single person, every single decision, every single work process really can make the difference: this is a time when, on the one hand, each of us needs to execute in the best way possible all of the activities related to our role, and, on the other, put our individual creative and proactive resources in play to find solutions, all while anticipating the trajectory of the problem.


Everything that we have been witnessing around us these last few weeks, with the healthcare facilities of each nation, along with the entire social and industrial system, being put to the test, is a testimony of how every organization needs to cultivate a reserve of resilience and the capability to respond to emergency. Our generation, too, has now learned what it means to have to adapt to a worldwide disruption almost like being at war. And our generation, too, will experience the optimism of starting over again. In this issue of EVOLVE we had decided, in unsuspecting times, to address the issue of bureaucracy and overcoming its limitations. Within the new digital scenario, where all production sectors have, in fact, started to move, the norms and structures that have regulated the working world for decades have begun to show their limits. Too much bureaucracy, too many organizational levels have proven to be elements of delay and extreme operational fragmentation, where as the agile companies, the start-ups, the companies managed from an innovative perspective have experienced the success of growing with a more horizontal and less hierarchical structure. Not in anarchy, but in the form best suited to our times.

To solve a problem, you must first accept it. Study it to recognize its limits and all of the opportunities that it may bring. In project-centric companies like ours, accustomed to working on contract according to sequences regulated by EPC contracting logic, project planning is the tool that governs the sequencing of activities by designing the input and output of each step to identify real and artificial bottlenecks as one finds in those steps where bureaucracy is exerted, growing and multiplying when it is being used as a play for power. At the different levels of workflow, many people feel they should “stay in the shadows” in order to avoid taking responsibility for what is happening around them. The motto “Beat the bureaucratic approach” was born precisely to counter this passive attitude, where the actor who must generate an output stays still, waiting to receive input from the previous level. We thought that “Step up and make things happen!” was the right response, a compass to follow whenever there is the risk of the bureaucratic approach putting a brake on solutions, inhibiting our entrepreneurial attitude. In an interview that you will find in this issue, Michele Zanini – international expert on business organizations and author with Gary Hamel of a soon to be released volume on the topic of humanocracy – tells us that bureaucracy is difficult to eradicate because it is basically a mechanism that works. It is a system that has been regulating the business world for over a century, one that allows projects to have a clear, visible, measurable structure. To deepen the debate on this issue, we also asked for a contribution from Yves Morieux, senior partner of the Boston Consulting Group and author of a book on “Smart Simplicity”. He will tell us about the importance of cooperation and how managers must broaden their identity to become “integrators”. More than ever at a time like this, I am extremely proud of the “adaptive” attitude of all our people within Maire Tecnimont, from the manager on the front line to the teams of the various projects and business functions, up to the colleagues in the offices and the expatriates located on construction sites around the world. The whole company is responding with a great sense of responsibility on its own behalf and on behalf of the stakeholders who are watching us very carefully.

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Some, more than others, are invested with the role of “champion”, key people who, being at the heart of the problem, are able to have a panoramic and immediate vision of what is happening, in real time, knowing how to intervene (upwards as well as downwards in the project sequence) to expeditiously untie the knots. Their attitude must influence us all: this is not the time to go into the shadows and justify oneself for a failed objective, and it will be less and less appropriate as time goes on. Our champions are going upstream, like salmon do in rivers, to get what they need without waiting. They open the doors of bureaucratic barriers and if need be “tear off” the door handle as testimony to actually having done, and not just in words, absolutely everything possible to facilitate that sequence of events. That is why the door handle is the symbol of our motto on antibureaucracy. I am also proud to see that the Maire Tecnimont group had already been going upstream for some time, having trained itself to spread the digital culture at all levels and operate in the true sense of smart working, fully aware of the backdrop of the third millennium. Today, as we are being severely tested by the public health emergency, we are comforted by the knowledge that agile thinking had already become widespread in our organization: that the best way to sustain an important battle is by fighting production delays. In a time of crisis, we have maintained the same productivity as before, fully engaging our resources

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to ensure project deliverables, orders for our supply chain and the delivery and assembly of materials at our construction sites all over the world, in spite of a series of obstacles that would have bureaucratically entitled us to stop at the hand of adversity. All this thanks to the uninterrupted service of our ICT systems while being in full compliance with the stipulated health regulations for the absolute protection of our collaborators. As a result of this crisis, many of us are finding that the value and potential of smart working has been confirmed, until now considered by many outside entities to be a mere backup solution. Once again, our Group has thought of the solution before the problem even came to pass. We are certain that this vision will help us all get out of these difficulties together, with the awareness that a team of champions of resilience and antibureaucracy will make the difference in every field, both personal and professional.

Pierroberto Folgiero Maire Tecnimont Group CEO and Managing Director





n 1955, businesses typically committed to between four and seven performance imperatives. Today they commit to between 25 and 40. The Boston Consulting Group Complexity Index shows that business complexity has gone up six-fold in the last 60 years. Contemporarily, organizational complexity (meaning the number of structures, processes, committees and systems) has seen a 35-fold increase.


Though they attempt to respond to increasingly complex performance targets, new organizational labyrinths make it harder to improve productivity and promote innovation, causing demotivation and poor involvement in collaborators. However, it is not necessary to apply “hard” solutions to manage complexity, such as adding new processes, new systems, new structures and KPIs according to traditional methods of business organization. Nor do you need “soft” solutions such as team building, networking events and activities aimed at improving interpersonal relationships. Both of these approaches seek to achieve control, while in reality they make organizations more complicated* and unable to manage the complexity at hand. What is needed is a reduction of direct control, an increase in flexibility and autonomy and the reduction of systems. In short, leveraging the intelligence of people.



This issue of EVOLVE is dedicated to deciphering one of our most important current topics, how to reduce excess bureaucracy in business, and so we are taking a look at the thoughts and work of a number of international experts on business models and organization. In the next pages we will talk about the work of Yves Morieux, director of the Boston Consulting Group’s Institute for Organization and Michele Zanini, co-author with Gary Hamel of the book “Humanocracy”. Morieux’s book “Smart Simplicity”, written in four hands with Peter Tollman, is above all aimed at managers. Based on solid theoretical foundations and the work carried out with over 500 companies in all kinds of industries in more than 40 countries by the BCG, Morieux offers managers six simple rules on how to manage complexity without getting complicated. “There are two main factors that cause an increase in complexity” says the author. “The first is the great number of choices available to us, due to the lessening of commercial barriers and technological advancement. A customer with many alternatives is unwilling to compromise and will be more difficult to please. The second factor is the increase in the number of stakeholders (along with customers, shareholders and employees, there is the addition of political, legal, control and supervisory authorities) which puts companies in the difficult position of trying to meet the needs of one group, often to the detriment of another.”

To meet the challenges of complexity, in recent years technicians, directors, CEOs and managers have tried applying the “best” management thinking and following the “best practices”, intervening with measures aimed at the development of human capital. Everything done according to the manual, everyone fully committed, in an effort to reach a goal that almost never produced the desired result. In many cases applying the classic managerial models developed over the past hundred years, instead of improving the management of the growing complexity, has only made the situation worse. Both the hard approach adding levels, structures and scorecards like KPIs and the soft approach focusing attention on behavior and emotional stimuli and placing responsibility on the psychological state of individuals have generated complicatedness, which is the human response to complexity, both in life and in business. But complicatedness leads to productivity stagnation and demotivation, which then feed off of each other. The work of the Morieux group started in response to this apparent stalemate, which integrated the economic and social sciences with the strategic and organizational challenges of companies and managers. The “Smart Simplicity” method was born, elaborated from the experience attained from field research and theoretical inquiry, combined with the skills developed through the relationships with customers in the United States, Europe and Asia. Along with the six simple rules to manage complexity, the authors reiterate the importance of autonomy and cooperation as key elements able to instill people with new power to reach goals effectively, in turn improving productivity, promoting innovation and making the most of every opportunity to create competitive advantage. One of the most significant and interesting steps of this method is “The shadow of the future”, meaning the importance to people of what happens tomorrow as a consequence of what they do today. Rule number 5 of the six rules is dedicated to this theme: it will become much easier for a manager to identify the point at which his current behavior will have consequences “down the line”. As in previous issues of EVOLVE, we have extracted theoretical and strategic passages, this time from the work published by the director of the Boston Consulting Group Institute for Organization. These are the questions to think about to get out of the complicatedness trap and out from under the unnecessary bureaucratic procedure that prevents all companies from taking advantage of complexity to achieve competitive advantage.

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THE USE OF THE RULES IS IMPORTANT TAYLOR AND CONTROL STANDARDS According to the theory of scientific management elaborated by Frederick Taylor nearly a century ago, there are two fundamental assumptions. The first is that structures, processes and systems will have a direct and predictable effect on results. The second is that the human factor is the weakest and least reliable point of the organization. According to Taylor, it is therefore necessary to control the behavior of employees with a myriad of rules that regulate their way of acting on the one hand, and provide financial incentives linked to performance indicators (KPI) to guide people to behave according to expectations on the other.

RELYING ON THE INTELLIGENCE OF PEOPLE The human factor is actually the key resource for managing complexity. One of the consequences of complexity is that no one person has all the answers. This is why it is useful for individuals to use their autonomy to cooperate with each other. Companies must rely on the intelligence and ingenuity of employees, giving them greater independence and room to maneuver. This is the only way that team members will be able to exercise judgement, negotiate compromises and find creative solutions to new problems.

ENERGY SPENT IN VAIN In the top 20% of complicated organizations, managers spend more than 40% of their time writing reports and between 30 and 60% of their total work hours in coordination meetings. It takes more time to manage the work than to actually accomplish it with your team. As a result, working hours increase, without adding any value.

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Formal rules and procedures do not have a predetermined effect on individual behavior. Each person actively interprets the rules and uses them as a resource to reach their objectives. The rules are not what is important, but the use that people make of them.

THREE OUT OF FOUR ARE NOT INTERESTED According to some Gallup polls, only 28% of the United States workforce feels actively involved in their work, while the rest is actively disinterested or simply uninterested. In Europe, the percentage of active involvement does not exceed 23% (Switzerland and Austria), and similar results are obtained from surveys carried out in Japan and Australia.


7 COMPLEXITY BRINGS ADVANTAGES While complexity poses enormous challenges, it also offers companies great opportunities. The companies that are successful in the current economic context, are increasingly, those that know how to take advantage of complexity and make the most of it to create a competitive advantage. The problem is not “complexity”, but “complicatedness”, the proliferation of unwieldly organizational systems, including structures, procedures, rules and roles.

THE FRUSTRATION OF “DOING AND REDOING” In many companies, teams waste between 40 and 80% of their time doing unnecessary activities. They have to do, undo and redo: in the end, perceiving the futility of their efforts, individuals feel blocked, dissatisfied and unmotivated.

AUTONOMY & COOPERATION The key to managing complexity is a combination of “autonomy” and “cooperation” (cooperate means operate together, or, share the work), understood as” taking into consideration the needs of others in achieving a common result.” Autonomy strengthens the flexibility and agility of the individual; cooperation creates a series of synergies so that everyone’s contribution is multiplied to the benefit of the group’s effectiveness.

COOPERATE OR PROTECT YOURSELF? The use of technology combined with typical methods of management produces something that “seems” to improve productivity, in that it reduces the amount of waiting or downtime. This means that more actual minutes of physical work are done for each hour of an employee’s presence in the workplace. If, however, there is no cooperation, the value produced in those extra minutes of work decreases, due to the proliferation of activities that do not add value (edits, modifications, report writing, inspections, etc...). Is copying ten recipients on an email (or inviting ten people to a conference call) true cooperation, or rather a way of protecting yourself?

THE SHADOW OF THE FUTURE In order to extend the shadow of the future increase the importance of what happens tomorrow as a consequence of what has been done today we need people to put themselves, even if only temporarily, in another’s place. Putting someone in the shoes of another they don’t work with directly (and that they may never meet) exposes them to the problems that their current behaviors may cause colleagues in the future.

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by Yves Morieux

lready back in 1994 in the book “The Age of Diminishing Expectations”, the Nobel Prize in Economics laureate Paul Krugman wrote: “Productivity is not everything, but, in the long run, it is more or less everything.” On the basis of this assumption, I have spent the last few years of my professional life trying to solve two great enigmas: why has the productivity of all the companies I have worked with been so unsatisfactory? And, why do we put so little effort into our work, performing with such unhappiness and lack of motivation?


I initially thought it might be a circular problem. When people are less motivated, they become less productive. And vice versa, when they are less productive and receive more pressure, they become less motivated. However, as we analyzed this, we realized that there was a common cause for both problems that concern the two basic pillars of management: the concrete pillar, such as structures, processes and systems, and the intangible pillar, namely interpersonal relationships, character traits and personality. When a company reorganizes, restructures, redesigns or plans a cultural transformation, it acts on these two pillars. Business books are all based on one or the other, or on the combination of the two. The real problem is that these pillars are now obsolete and no longer suitable to best manage “new” business complexity. A complexity that is not a problem in and of itself, as long as you are able to create value by managing both it and the numerous company stakeholders. The problem arises when managers generate “complicatedness”, which puts people in situations that are impossible to manage and where they find themselves forced to use their skills solely to juggle critical issues rather than to generate value.

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All attempts to improve performance by managing complexity while avoiding complicatedness will frequently come up against a wall of business theories, accumulated over many decades, that have transformed management into an abstract concept, disconnecting it from its true mission. Some abstractions tend to become infiltrated into the following aspects of organization: hierarchical relationships, performance indicators and leadership styles. These abstractions, however attractive they may be on an intellectual level, are misleading on a practical one. Intellectual organization is one thing, but effective organization that uses the intelligence of its collaborators is another. To create this type of organization, it is necessary to have a strong management in place and, to make sure it flourishes, that management must re-attain direct knowledge of the operation, abandoning the abstractions and emblems that look like real work (structures,

Yves Morieux Yves Morieux, director of the Boston Consulting Group’s Institute for Organization, is senior partner and managing director at the Washington branch of the Boston Consulting Group. He is the author of the book “Smart Simplicity”, co-written by Peter Tollman.


procedures and KPIs), but which instead push real work to the side. Let’s not resign ourselves to this fate, since we do not have to live in a world of abstractions. There is no need to waste time puzzling over how to tick all the boxes and outline organization charts. We can occupy our time with real work content, not just its packaging, by continuing to ask ourselves the same simple questions: what role do we expect this manager to play? What added value should the manager provide? What do we need this manager to do that his team wouldn’t spontaneously do on their own? What power bases will the manager have? The more that organizations are able to take advantage from the power of digital technology, extend themselves globally and operate in virtual teams, the more one particular aspect will need to be clarified,

9 The greater the complexity of a business, the more it is necessary to rely on the judgment of individuals.

something that has become increasingly ambiguous over time: that of real work that is done by real people. Staying connected to relevant work is both challenging and essential. One way of seeing the reality of things is by understanding the context in which the work is performed, exactly what is filtered out or confused by both the hard approach, those theories of alleged advantages and disadvantages of structures, processes and systems, and the soft approach, being those stories about personalities and feelings that ultimately work against people. Management’s return to the reality of work is not merely an intellectual or philosophical endeavor. It is a concrete effort to understand how the different actors carry out their work and help them make the most of their judgement and energy. This kind of management is not a form of micro-management in search of the kind of control that hard and soft approaches give the illusion of attaining. These attempts to control individuals are all the more harmful as business complexity increases, and only serve to increase complicatedness. Instead, the greater the complexity of a business, the more it is necessary to rely on the judgment of individuals. The six rules of Smart Simplicity demonstrate that this trust can be much more than an act of faith: it is a carefully thought out path where your intelligence and your energy will make the difference.

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COMPLEXITY s a rule, organizations take one of two approaches. They adopt either the “hard” approach (structures, processes, systems and financial incentives) or the “soft” approach (team building, people initiatives, off-site retreats, focus on leadership style and emotional incentives (all activities regarding interpersonal relationships). Or sometimes both. Both of these approaches seek to achieve control. In doing so, they make organizations complicated-slower, more bureaucratic, bogged down in process, and, more importantly, unable to manage the complexity


of the environments in which they operate. What is needed is less direct control resulting from both the hard and soft approaches, fewer systems and more autonomy. By making better use of the opinions and power of individuals, an organization will be agile and better at responding to complexity. The six simple rules should be considered as guidelines to put into practice. They provide the base from which to approach a series of organizational challenges such as productivity, innovation, growth and cultural change.



Understand what your people do

Reinforce integrators

Know the contexts that shape behaviors - what’s really happening in your organization. Learn how your people cooperate, find resources and solve problems - or fail to do so. To analyze context, you must understand goals, resources and constraints. Keep in mind that behaviors are rational solutions in a particular context. • People always have reasons for the things they do • Every behavior is a solution to a problem

An integrator is an individual or working group who fosters cooperation for the benefit of the company. Unlike coordinators, integrators do not intervene after the fact to review the compatibility of individual contributions, but are directly involved in cooperation while the action is taking place. Being both a resource and a constraint, integrators generally cause both positive and negative feelings: never indifference.

Key questions to ask your people in order to understand their contexts: • What are the most interesting and frustrating aspects of your job? Why? • What are the key problems you have to deal with? • How do you solve them? • How do you know if your solutions work? • Who do you have to interact with to do your job?

After understanding the context, (rule 1), find out how cooperation happens, and who makes it happen. Identify the integrators, the people and units who bring others together and drive processes. Eliminate layers and rules and give the integrators the power, authority and the incentives to make the entire task succeed.

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Increase the total quantity of power

Extend the shadow of the future

Power isn’t a zero-sum game. Increasing the total quantity of power available in the organization allows managers to think and act on more performance requirements. This supports strategy and leadership and helps organizations respond to the demands of complexity. Creating power can be a small matter - like giving store managers control over staffing - and it doesn’t necessarily look “strategic”. But it can have a real impact on performance. • Increase the total quantity of power whenever you intend to change your organizations structure, processes and system. See if creating new power bases could satisfy more requirements in dealing with complexity. • When creating new features, be sure to give them the power they need to perform their role. And that this power is not obtained at the expense of the power needed by others.

Increase the importance of what happens tomorrow as a consequence of what one does today. In fact, actions have consequences: and experiencing the consequences increases performance. How to extend the shadow of the future: • Tighten the feedback loop so people feel consequences more frequently. • Have your people interact more frequently with others whose work is affected by their actions. • Make sure people’s involvement in the work continues to the end point of the activity, the point at which the consequences of their actions show up in collective results. • Tie futures together so that success requires contributing to the success of others. • Make people walk in the shoes they make for others, so they are exposed to the problems their current behaviors could create.



Increase reciprocity

Reward those who cooperate

Make cooperation happen. Work is becoming more interdependent, and that means that people need to rely more on each other and cooperate directly instead of relying on dedicated interfaces, coordination structures or procedures. Those things make life complicated, while ‘reciprocity”, which ensures that people have a mutual interest in cooperation (and that their success depends on each other), makes people cooperate more autonomously and, therefore, makes organizational life simpler. To create a working context where there is a greater probability of people behaving according to defined objectives, it is necessary to: • Eliminate internal monopolies (functions, individuals and administrations) that become bureaucratic as they tend to underline the importance of the rules and create their own. • Remove some resources. If you take away the extra TVs in a household, people will have to cooperate to decide what to watch on the one remaining TV. • Create adequate networks of interaction. This pushes individuals to contribute their own specialized role to several aspects of performance: innovation, practicality, productivity of the purchasing staff and satisfaction of customer needs.

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People think cooperation is risky. Make it riskier not to cooperate. Blame and risk aversion are at the heart of organizational culture. But smart organizations accept that problems happen for many reasons, and the only way to solve them is to reduce the payoff for those who don’t contribute to a solution. Performance evaluation and reward systems are the key but instead of using them to punish failure, use them instead to punish failure to help, or to ask for help. Refuse escalation of the decision-making process: it can have harmful consequences. Instead of arbitrating, gather everyone who should have cooperated in a room where they must stay until they have reached a satisfactory decision. If there are cases when the process is long and you have to intervene, then: • Make sure that the people who caused the escalation are held responsible for the situation. • Make this a learning experience by asking everyone: “What will you do differently next time so that there is no need for an arbiter?”.





BUREAUCRACY here are researchers and experts who, for years, have studied the organization of work in the digital age and the consequent impact that this great transformation is having on the professional life of individuals. One of the most qualified people to speak on an international level about these topics is Michele Zanini, management consultant analyst, co-founder with Gary Hamel of the Management Lab, an organization that develops technology and tools to support organizational change.


In addition to having his works published in the Harvard Business Review, the Financial Times, Fortune and the Wall Street Journal, Zanini and Hamel have written a new book together (which will come out in June 2020) entitled “Humanocracy”. In this essay they argue that new organizations must no longer be based on bureaucracy but must serve as a vehicle for human beings to improve their lives and the lives of those with whom they interact. In this long interview, for which Michele Zanini offered his great availability to the editorial staff of EVOLVE, we are able to give a sneak preview of many of the themes to be found on the pages of “Humanocracy”. We will talk about what the future trend in organizations will be, the steps that managers must take to change the culture of their company, why, generally speaking, employees have lost enthusiasm and why bureaucracy is such a difficult phenomenon to eradicate. A reading that– together with the other articles in this issue of EVOLVE – forms an effectively comprehensive picture of what we find inside of companies, and on the type of work that managers of the third millennium will have to do, without being overwhelmed, to govern the digital revolution.

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Michele Zanini Michele Zanini is the co-author, with Gary Hamel, of HUMANOCRACY: Creating Organizations as Amazing as the People Inside Them (Harvard Business Review Press). Zanini is a co-founder of the Management Lab, where he helps large organizations become more adaptable, innovative and engaging places to work. Zanini is an alumnus of McKinsey & Company and the RAND Corporation, and holds degrees from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and the Pardee RAND Graduate School.



Professor Zanini, you wrote that excess bureaucracy costs the United States economy over $3 trillion in economic output per year. While for the 32 OECD countries, the cost of excess red tape rises to nearly $ 9 trillion. I ask: When was bureaucracy invented and with what objective? How did we get to this point? There was a time when bureaucracy was a new idea — and a blessing. Its stratified power structures, specialized roles and routinized tasks enabled unprecedented levels of control and, thereby, efficiency. Absent bureaucracy, scientific inventions like the automobile would have remained mere curiosities. But like all technologies, bureaucracy is a product of its time. In the century and a half since its invention, much has changed. Today’s employees are skilled, not illiterate; communication is instantaneous rather than tortuous; and the pace of change is exponential rather than glacial. Nevertheless, the foundations of management are still cemented in bureaucracy. Most organizations still concentrate power in the hands of a few highly paid executives, alignment and conformance are, as ever, prized above all else, and employees are still treated like semiprogrammable robots. Held hostage by this bureaucratic legacy, most organizations are poorly adapted for the knowledge economy, and even less so for the creative economy. They are unnecessarily elitist, overly politicized, change-phobic, and above all, disempowering.

Might there, then, be any alternative organizational models to replace the bureaucratic one? Yes there are. Around the world, a growing band of postbureaucratic pioneers are proving it’s possible to capture the benefits of bureaucracy — control, consistency, and coordination — while avoiding the penalties — inflexibility, mediocrity, and apathy. When compared to their conventionally managed peers, the vanguard — many of which we feature in our new book like Haier, Intuit, Nucor, Svenska Handelsbanken, and WL Gore — are more proactive, inventive, and profitable. These companies were built, or in some cases rebuilt, with a common purpose — to maximize human contribution. These organizations share a common set of practices, such as: • Small, autonomous teams that are empowered to make key operational decisions, including hiring, staffing, pricing, and equipment purchases.

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• Compensation models that tightly link pay and profitability and encourage employees to think like business owners. • Support services that are provided to operating units at cost (or are optional). • A strong sense of competition and collaboration between operating units. • A general aversion to formal titles and job descriptions in preference for dynamic, “natural hierarchies” based on demonstrated competence. • Significant and on-going investment in the financial, commercial and technical skills of front line employees. • A high degree of transparency around financial and operational information. • Deeply shared norms and a strong sense of mutual responsibility for unit and enterprise success. • Multiple channels for lateral communication and a reliance on ad hoc teams to address coordination issues.



• Radically simplified planning and budgeting processes which don’t rely on topdown targets or operate on a fixed calendar. Despite their high performance relative to industry peers, post-bureaucratic organizations are still a small minority.

Why, in spite of the combined forces of profit-obsessed shareholders, value-conscious customers, low-cost competitors and taxpayers, has bureaucracy been so difficult to eradicate? First, bureaucracy is familiar. It is the managerial operating system of virtually every medium and large-scale organization on the planet. Because bureaucracy is everywhere, and everywhere the same, it is easy to regard it as the evolutionary apex of human organization. Second, this consensus is reinforced by what might be called the bureaucratic “ecosystem.” Every organization is embedded in a web of institutional relationships, most of which are predicated on the belief that bureaucracy is essential. Third, bureaucracy is a massive, multi-player game. It’s the field upon which millions of human beings compete for status and wealth. As in all games, some

skills are more germane than others. While expertise and execution count for much in most bureaucracies, other skills are often equally, if not more valuable: deflecting blame, defending turf, managing up, hoarding resources, trading favors, negotiating targets and avoiding scrutiny. To the extent these behaviors correlate poorly with value creation, they add to the management tax. Nevertheless, those who’ve excelled at the game of bureaucracy are typically unenthusiastic about changing it. Someone who’s invested thirty years in acquiring the power and privileges of an executive vicepresident is unlikely to look favorably on a proposal to downgrade formal titles and abolish the connection between rank and compensation. Bureaucracy persists because it’s well-defended by those who’ve done well by it. Finally, bureaucracy is hard to root out because it works — sort of. All those bureaucratic structures and systems serve a purpose, if only poorly. To simply excise them would create chaos. Imagine, for example, what would happen if an organization decimated the ranks of middle management without equipping frontline employees with the skills, incentives and information they need to become self-managing. Moreover, there’s no well-trodden path for building a post-bureaucratic organization. The challenge is not unlike that faced by the first surgeons who attempted to transplant human organs: the stakes were high and the protocols were few. Bureaucracy is accepted, embedded, defended and useful. Any strategy for busting bureaucracy must confront these realities. While the hurdles are daunting, there’s reason to be hopeful. Deeply institutionalized systems can be changed. The proof? Most of us are citizens, not subjects — our leaders are elected, not crowned. And despite centuries of patriarchy, we are committed to gender equality.

What is the difference between the speed of change in organizations and that of human beings? We live in a world that’s all punctuation and no equilibrium. Change moves forward at breakneck speed. Lightning-fast communication allows us to combine knowledge and resources in ways never before possible. Everywhere one looks, network-powered collaboration means human beings can unite to solve problems in ways never before possible. The paper which announced the discovery of the Higgs Boson, for example, had more than 5,000 co-authors.

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Lightning-fast communication allows us to combine knowledge and resources in ways never before possible. Everywhere one looks, network-powered collaboration means human beings can unite to solve problems in ways never before possible.

catching up, not breaking new ground. It often involves involuntary reassignments and layoffs. It doesn’t roll up, it “rolls out”. Not surprisingly, this isn’t the sort of change that gets eagerly embraced, but that doesn’t make people change phobic.

In your general experience, what is the percentage of employees who work with commitment and motivation and what is the percentage of those who move through the maze of bureaucratic rules without enthusiasm? A 2018 Gallup study found that barely a third of US employees were fully engaged in their work — where engagement is defined as being “involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to work.” The majority of employees, 53 percent, were “not engaged,” while 13 percent — the maliciously compliant — were “actively disengaged.” Globally, the situation is even worse, with 15 percent engaged, 67 percent disengaged, and 18 percent actively disengaged. A more recent Gallup survey indicates that barely a third of US employees strongly agreed with the statement: “I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.” Less than a quarter said they were expected to be innovative in their job and only one in five felt their opinions mattered at work.

The shockwaves of this explosion in computation and bandwidth are reverberating all around us: Social media, the sharing economy, geolocation, e-commerce, synthetic biology, blockchain, and cyberespionage. In this maelstrom, the most important question for any organization is this: Are we changing as fast as the world around us? For most organizations, the answer is “no.” On average, they’re exceedingly good at what they do and quite hopeless at changing what they do. If you doubt that, try to think of a single case in which an industry stalwart has outpaced the upstarts. CEOs are inclined to blame this lack of adaptability on human nature. “People,” they solemnly intone, “are against change.” Like so many trite managerialisms, this is not true. Think about your family, friends and colleagues. Over the last three years, probably everyone you know has made an important change in his or her life, like moving to a new city, started a new job, enrolled in a new course, taken up a new hobby, formed a new relationship, or taken a holiday in a new destination. Humans have an insatiable appetite for the new. All those changes that are roiling our world, they’re our doing. We are the agents of upheaval. So why does the myth of fearful, change-resistant employees persist? Because the change CEOs talk about isn’t the sort of change you would choose for yourself; it isn’t change with an upside, change that opens new vistas, change that energizes. The typical corporate change program is defensive, dreary and disempowering. It’s about

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Here’s why these depressing statistics matter. Picture for a moment a hierarchy of human capabilities at work, a bit like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. At the bottom is obedience. Every organization has certain rules and regulations that must be followed — the equivalent of stopping at red lights. Employees need to be law abiding. Next up is diligence. Employees need to work hard and take responsibility for results. The third level is expertise. Team members need to be well trained and possess the necessary skills to do their job. As essential as these capabilities are, obedience, diligence and expertise don’t create a lot of value. They are commodities that can, for the most part, be acquired in the world’s low cost labor markets. If this is all your organization gets out of its people, it’s going to struggle. To win in the creative economy, more is required. Organizations need people with initiative — self-starters who are proactive in tackling new problems and opportunities; people who don’t wait to be asked and aren’t bound by their job description. Another level up is creativity — an ability to reframe problems and generate unconventional solutions. Finally, at the top, is daring — a willingness




change must come from individuals who create and catalyze change from where they sit. Managers can play an important role, but they also face the biggest challenge. If you’re a manager of any sort, you can’t empower others without surrendering some of your own positional authority. You have to trade in the old currency of power — perks, decision rights, and sanctions — for new coinage — wisdom, generosity, and mentorship. to take risks for something you believe in. It takes a great passion to unlock these “higher order” abilities. Unlike obedience or diligence, initiative, creativity and devotion can’t be commanded. They are gifts. Each day, every employee gets to decide: Do I bring these gifts to work today? For most the answer is “no.” A company can’t build an innovation advantage without an inspiration advantage. In the end, everything hinges on willing and enthusiastic engagement

A good first step is to ask those who work for you, “What am I doing that feels like interference, or adds no value?” Fearing repercussions, they may at first be hesitant to give direct feedback. If so, be patient. It may take several tries before they trust you enough to unload. Next, ask, “What am I doing that you could do better?” If they’re unclear about what it is you do, have team members shadow you for a few days.

What are the first steps that must be taken to change the culture of a company where the only choice for managers is bureaucracy? Are managers the agent of change?

There are many ways you can begin syndicating the work of managing to one’s team. Here are a few that we’ve seen be applied effectively:

Most of us quietly bear the burden of bureaucracy. We’ve bought into the fiction that the management structures and systems that confound and constrain us can be amended only by those at the top of the pyramid, or by their appointees in HR, planning, finance, and legal. The problem is, waiting for bureaucrats to dismantle bureaucracy is like waiting for politicians to put country ahead of party, of for teenagers to clean their rooms. It may happen, but it’s not the way to bet. If the goal is build an organization that’s as capable as the people inside it,

• Ask your team to define its shared mission. Give them time to brainstorm answers to questions like, “What’s our value proposition? “How should we measure the success of our team?” and “What are the most important things we could do to increase our impact?”

Instead of a management model that seeks to maximize control for the sake of organizational efficiency, we need one that seeks to maximize contribution for the sake of impact. We need to replace bureaucracy with humanocracy.

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• Support team members throughout the year in acquiring new skills. This could mean giving people time to take online classes, setting up job rotations, or working to become a better mentor. • Give team members the time and opportunity to liaise with other units and with functions such as quality, HR, finance, and IT. Delegate the responsibility for managing cross-unit coordination. • Invite team members to craft their ideal job descriptions. Set aside time to review and iterate these as a team. • Have the team organize and host weekly or monthly conversations about unit performance. Let team members create the agenda, assemble the relevant information, identify areas for improvement, and develop action plans. • Facilitate peer-to-peer feedback. Hold a session in which every team member is given constructive feedback by their colleagues.



• Help frontline team members better understand the strategic measures and screens that business unit or corporate leaders use to judge orgainizational effectiveness.

Despite digitalization, what is the future trend in organizations? Will bureaucracy increase or decrease? Since 1983, the number of managers, supervisors, and administrators in the US workforce has more than doubled, while employment in all other occupations is up by only 44 percent. Data from other developed economies like the UK suggests a similar trend globally. This wasn’t supposed to happen. The renowned Peter Drucker, writing in 1988, predicted that within 20 years the average organization would have slashed the number of management layers by half and shrunk its managerial ranks by two-thirds. He expected that advances in communications technology would allow workers to coordinate with each other and manage themselves, thereby reducing the need for layers of supervisors. He unfortunately was wrong. More recently some have hoped that the spread of collaboration tools like Slack, Yammer and Chatter would fatally undermine bureaucracy. Yet while messaging and project apps make it easier for employees to synch up, there’s little evidence these technologies are reducing management layers, rolling back bureaucratic mandates, slashing compliance costs or expanding the decision-making rights of those on the front lines. While collaborative tools could be used to crowdsource strategy development, capital allocation, leadership selection and change management, this has seldom happened. Thus far, collaborative tools have been used mostly to facilitate project work. They are to teams what Microsoft Office was to individuals 30 years ago. Rather than replace top-down structures, technology is likely to reinforce them. Digital technology allows jobs to be sliced into ever smaller segments and outsourced to the lowest bidder, further dumbing down work. Real-time analytics makes it possible to assess job performance minute by minute, allowing unprecedented levels of oversight. Social media tools threaten to replace the performance review with a 24/7 campaign to garner “likes” from your peers. Unique skills that once might have differentiated an employee can now be codified and absorbed into an algorithm which, in a cruel twist, can start to issue its own orders. Given the relentless growth of the managerial class, and their pursuit of control, where would you expect this to lead?

The spread of digital technology gives us more reasons, not fewer, to fear the relentless spread of bureaucracy, and more reasons to fight it.

The central theme in your next book to be released with Gary Hamel is called “Humanocracy”. What does this term mean and can you summarize what we will read in your book? The core message of our book is that we need to put human beings, not structures, processes, or methods, at the center of our organizations. Instead of a management model that seeks to maximize control for the sake of organizational efficiency, we need one that seeks to maximize contribution for the sake of impact. We need to replace bureaucracy with humanocracy. We spend much of this book exploring the differences between these two models, but the essential distinction is this. In a bureaucracy, human beings are instruments, employed by an organization to create products and services. In a humanocracy, the organization is the instrument — it’s the vehicle human beings use to better their lives and the lives of those they serve. The question at the core of bureaucracy is, “How do we get human beings to better serve the organization?” The question at the heart of humanocracy is, “What sort of organization elicits and merits the best that human beings? We wrote the book to be both a manifesto and a manual. It argues, persuasively we hope, that it’s time to free the human spirit from the shackles of bureaucracy — and that doing so will produce profound benefits for individuals, organizations, economies, and societies. It also gives management renegades practical strategies for advancing the cause of humanocracy within their own organizations. The ultimate prize: an organization that’s fit for the future and fit for human beings.

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he international scenario in which main EPC contractors operate is undergoing a period of great transformation, mostly due to the change of pace resulting from the “digital revolution” and the productivity recovery that the construction sector, unlike other industries, has not yet carried out. The growing complexity of plants, higher costs and increasingly challenging contractual needs are forcing companies all over the world to adapt to new market conditions and raise the level of competitiveness through targeted digital strategies.


The impact of digital innovation on processes is not only changing business models, but also the management culture implemented by project managers. To give an example, for decades in the EPC world (Engineering, Procurement and Construction), those who were building a plant on site used the classic sequence that provided for the delivery of necessary materials, the respective procedures and the operating instructions accompanied by the drawings produced by the engineer. The engineer at headquarters designed the project in a logical and linear order. This would often lead to a misalignment between the materials and drawings that were needed at the construction site and what was made available by headquarters. However, today the digitalization of critical activities has made it possible to invert the project sequence of EPC processes and redefine priorities with a construction-oriented approach called Construction-Driven Execution (from which procurement and engineering work is

derived backwards) sought after for decades but only made possible today by new information technologies that were unavailable before now. “The paradigm of managing the typical design sequences has changed” explains Max Panaro, Group Organization, ICT and System Quality Vice President of Maire Tecnimont. “Today our engineers no longer need to refer to the classic progression, but can design in reverse starting first from the construction phase, and then taking the procurement and supply process into account. It is a virtuous path that begins by exchanging the starting point with the arrival point, in which construction needs dictate the pace of the previous phases”.

WITH THE INTRODUCTION OF THE AWP (ADVANCED WORK PACKAGING) METHODOLOGY, Alignment traps MAIRE TECNIMONT IS INNOVATIVELY RETRACING When faced with business complexity, not everyone AND INTEGRATING PROCESSES TO CREATE demonstrates the same degree of reactivity. We are often presented with “classic” bureaucratic responses, EFFICIENCY, REDUCE COSTS AND GENERATE which bind the company and its people to a sequence of linear procedures. For those who have clung to A COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE BY LIGHTENING the so-called “traps of strategic alignment” (to use the words of Yves Morieux, an expert in business orgaBUREAUCRACY AND INCREASING nization, whom we spoke about in the articles from page 4 on), succeeding in changing the management INTERDISCIPLINARY COLLABORATION. N° 5 - APRIL 2020



of a project, and consequently innovating the way of achieving market objectives, is far from easy. At Maire Tecnimont, this way of reasoning – specifically the idea of increasing efficacy, safety and productivity – has evolved from the increasingly incisive use of the AWP (Advanced Work Packaging) model. It is an approach – one that is becoming more and more internationally diffused – that starts from the Construction phase and then goes up the entire life cycle of the project, allowing the model to be integrated into the overall planning, clearly defining priorities. “To respond to the speed of our business and meet regulatory and planning needs, – Michele Mariella, Head of Information and Communication Technology explains – we have successfully introduced AWP, an application model that regulates current management processes and provides a planning tool for evaluating plant construction. This allows the three EPC disciplines to develop on the same plane. By using the AWP system, we have been able to take advantage of an opportunity that digital technology has made available to us. We have applied a new model that governs processes differently.” Advanced Work Packaging thus bridges the gap between the final project design and the needs that arise during the execution phase of the works for those who are building the plant. By increasing the visibility of project details, alternative design models are opened up that include resource planning and constructive information. “We no longer plan the three disciplines E, P and C sequentially, but rather at the same time. I see a strong connection between this way of planning and Yves Morieux’s message:

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Today, innovation allows everyone to use process data transparently. Along with an improvement in production, we help train our resources and expand the information model that was previously either immediately unavailable or particularly complex to assemble.



the “shadow of the future” of an EPC project starts directly with what makes work on site efficient”, Panaro says. “Let’s not forget that one of Maire Tecnimont Group’s three pillars of Innovation is called ‘EPC Innovation’. Better systems design is advantageous for both the contractor and the customer, since the application of these methodologies optimizes organization in the field by increasing the efficiency of work teams to the full advantage of the construction program and overall productivity”, Panaro concludes. With the development of an EPC innovation program, Maire Tecnimont remains highly competitive in the market: thanks to this process intelligence, able to generate savings, custumers can clearly see our crucial role in the chain. Luigi Anselmi, Head of Construction Methods & Innovation at Tecnimont explains: “Today, innovation allows everyone to use process data transparently. Along with an improvement in production, we help train our resources and expand the information model that was previously either immediately unavailable or particularly complex to assemble. In the pre-digital era, anyone who needed information regarding the purchase of a component or the location of a dispatched object could wait up to two weeks before receiving an answer that gave few assurances for the following steps in the process. Today, with one click, it is available in real time and, above all, it is substantiated information, having switched from a push planning model to a pull planning model, which is connected to the backward path concept mentioned by Panaro”.

AWP Ready Projects “Maire Tecnimont – Luigi Anselmi explains – is achieving excellent results in the process integration of medium and large projects by offering our customers a complete and competitive adoption of AWP. We started to test the AWP system in 2018. We then started to implement it in Azerbaijan, as part of the modernization and reconstruction works of the Heydar Aliyev refinery in Baku. From there the group of ‘champions’ was born within the Construction Innovation department which led to the adoption of AWP on various plants, including that of Baytown (Texas), where Maire Tecnimont is building units for the ExxonMobil petrochemical complex. Our mantra is now that of the three I’s: Innovate, Inform, Inspire. Today all Maire Tecnimont EPC projects are AWP Ready”.

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Related to the cover motto (“Step up and make things happen!”), what at first seemed like a silent revolution is now a real change in project culture. Max Panaro concludes: “We are working to break the “silo” approach, starting first with processes, and thanks to the new systems, relieve those processes of the kind of bureaucracy that slows activity down. This is the real ‘digital transformation’, an example of how innovation is able to bring about a series of changes in companies, not only technological, but cultural, organizational, creative and managerial ones as well”. When Morieux talks about extending “the shadow of the future”, he means just that. One of the rules for making sense of complexity is to tie one another’s future together. Managers and collaborators must feel part of a single vision-shadow, where the behavior of one has consequences on another’s work. Morieux insists on the need to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes and seek solutions to problems, not only in compliance with strict established procedures, but according to new contexts and mutual needs. In applying what he calls the “rules of simplicity”, companies will not necessarily have to abandon the classic organizational levers (definition of roles and objectives, processes, career paths etc.): his advice is to use them instead with a view towards simplification and cooperation between people of different levels. This is the only way we will be able to manage complexity without falling into the complicatedness trap.


DIGITAL IS A PRAGMATIC SOLUTION «The word digitalization is often misused and thrown around without meaning. As an entrepreneur, I think the success of this revolution will be the result of an approach I would define as “widespread entrepreneurship”, through which we must all reinvent ourselves and innovate our way of working. Everyone must take responsibility for making decisions in the face of uncertainty». Therefore, at the end of 2019, the Chairman and Founder of the Group, Fabrizio Di Amato, introduced the “BEYOND DIGITAL” event, a strategic passage of great importance for the multinational company Maire Tecnimont which operates in a traditional sector characterized by the process rigidity typical of the EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) world. In an issue of EVOLVE like this one – where the streamlining of bureaucratic processes and organizational models of the third millennium is the common denominator of the various articles published – we will provide you with a clear idea of our Group’s vision of digitalization by going over some short passages from BEYOND DIGITAL. It will help us to understand how this transformation has already profoundly changed many industrial sectors (such as energy, engineering and construction), by channeling investments for innovation and improving business performance. «Digital gives us an important competitive edge in our industrial network – Pierroberto Folgiero, CEO and Managing Director of the Group explained – High profile resources and excellence in the technology sector make digitalization the only way to compete at higher levels. At Maire Tecnimont, where engineering is our business, we have the pragmatic approach of contractors who are used to taking the measure of complexity in the field: because of this, we have been undergoing an intense optimization of all of our internal processes for quite some time now, in addition to establishing a wider range of digital services for our customers». Like other industry leaders, Maire Tecnimont has chosen to be a pioneer in the digitalization of both engineering procurement and construction as well as the creation of a coordinated supply chain. Our main objective is to promote flexible platforms capable of integrating the best digital solutions for customers, while creating an open ecosystem that keeps all the interested parties involved. «We are a company of great minds and great technical skills» said President Di Amato. «Our growth comes from the combining) of processes that, from a technological stand point, must be increasingly evolved over time. Therefore, we must involve all of the stakeholders in our supply chain in a vast portfolio of initiatives to make sure we seize the opportunities that are to come from digitalization and the energy transition».

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21 Hybridizing is better than Dreaming Thanks to a variety of factors, the application of digital solutions to a petrochemical plant can generate, in practice, an estimated recovery of efficiency between 4 and 7% of operating margin. «Today, artificial intelligence and the enormous availability of data – Folgiero explained – make it possible to create a system’s “digital twin”, allowing you to optimize energy consumption and the various phases of the chemical process in real time. In this new operating model, Maire Tecnimont has its digitalization interpreted not by “dreamers”, but by “doers”. This is why the contractor of the future is a sort of “orchestrator” on the value chain, a competent and independent technologist, able to “hybridize” different worlds. It makes me think of the process engineer who works in synergy with the data scientist, and of the big corporation that must develop technologies alongside start-ups. In fact, it is the union between the DNA of engineering tradition and that of quality people». On the occasion of the BEYOND DIGITAL event, Franco Ghiringhelli (Human Resources, ICT and Process Excellence SVP of the Group), explained that digital transformation «must be an opportunity for professional growth for the approximately six thousand companies that collaborate with us along the supply chain. We have been asking them to get involved, with greater entrepreneurial proactivity, using the enormous and increasingly accessible technological opportunities available. It will also be an opportunity for us to include resources with profiles that are not typical of our sector, but that help us to interpret the transformation taking place». People and the culture that surrounds them are the keystone of change that will help us leave a rigid bureaucratic approach unsuited to complexity behind. To increase the level of engagement, Maire Tecnimont asked its employees for their active participation as “Digital Catalysts” or accelerators of digital change. Citing Yves Morieux’s Smart Simplicity once again, one of the basic rules is precisely that of transforming managers into integrators: they will be the ones who stimulate the productive cooperation that will bring value to the whole organization.




When was bureaucracy created? Napoleon signed the law that instituted prefects (local government representatives), on 17 February, 1800. The state system, with its army of bureaucratic and administrative officials, was born.

Which writer invented the literary genre called the “White Collar Novel”? In 1844 Honoré de Balzac published Les Employés, a long story that was run on the pages of La Presse in which he describes the nature of the white-collar employee and sustains that “Bureaucracy is a gigantic mechanism moved by Pygmies.”

Speaking of turnaround and the need to redefine corporate culture, which book invites managers not to be afraid of eliminating “obsolete trappings”? Who says elephants can’t dance? by Luis V. Gerstner Jr., the man who helped rebuild IBM, bringing it back from the edge of the abyss to be, once again, leaders in their market.

Why is bureaucracy often referred to as being “kafkaesque”? Writer Franz Kafka (1883-1924), born in Prague, is the author of The Process. It is the distressing novel about a bank official named Josef K. who is overwhelmed by the excesses of bureaucracy. That is why today the word kafkaesque is synonymous with paradoxical, shocking, absurd.

What does “Writing with a human voice” mean? It means writing text with a clear sentence structure and not “clinging to gerunds like bureaucrats”. Conceived of by Rick Levine, Christopher Locke, Doc Searls and David Weinberger (professionals, economists and pioneers of the web) in 1999, the Cluetrain Manifest is a 95-point essay that anticipates the impact of the internet on markets and organizations. The first six theories are eloquent: 1. Markets are conversations. 2. Markets consist of human beings, not demographic sectors. 3. Conversations among human beings sound human. They are conducted in a human voice. 4. Whether delivering information, opinions, perspectives, dissenting arguments or humorous asides, the human voice is typically open, natural, uncontrived. 5. People recognize each other as such from the sound of this voice. 6. The internet is enabling conversations among human beings that were simply not possible in the era of mass media.

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What is the name of the novel that describes the life of a group of U.S. tax agency officials from the Midwest? The unfinished posthumous novel was called The Pale King, written by David Foster Wallace. The common thread linking the main characters is their need to face the “intense tediousness of their work” in a highly hierarchical and bureaucratized workplace.

“Bureaucratese is the anti-language”, the title of a long article published in the newspaper Il Giorno on 3 February, 1965 declared. Who was the author?


01 .

Put all facts within a time and place.


Give readers the greatest amount of information in the least amount of time and space with the clearest language possible.

This refection was written by Italo Calvino in response to Pier Paolo Pasolini regarding the debate on the linguistic dynamics of those years, which were characterized by great cultural and economic transformation.

Which films portray bureaucracy as a defining theme of the plot? The Terminal by Steven Spielberg, with Tom Hanks whose character is obliged to live in an American airport for months due to a bureaucratic loophole.



Favor the active voice to the passive and the positive phrase to the negative.


Choose familiar, concrete and precise words (avoiding turns of phrase) used in short sentences.

Fantozzi of Luciano Salce, with Paolo Villaggio in the role of a humble and unlucky office worker, ignored by his colleagues and afraid of his bosses. Tucker. The Man and His Dream by Francis Ford Coppola. The true story of a man who dreams of creating an innovative automobile company but is driven to failure by political pressure and the interests of multinational automobile corporations.

Focus on characters, showing the reader actual people who function in the real world.

Ikiru (aka Vivere) by Akira Kurosawa, a film that tells the story of the suffering of a bureaucrat from Tokyo and his search for the meaning of life.

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rom Weber to Ford, and Taylor to Gantt. Perusing Fayol e Toyoda, until you come to Olivetti e Mintzberg. This is not the cast of a historical documentary, although their thinking contains in itself the history of how – over the last 150 years – the West conceived and theorized the organization of work.

For decades, sociologists and economists have studied and developed ever new procedures and methods to help organizations coordinate the achievement of specific goals. Increasing in size and complexity, internal administrations are growing hand in hand with the activities necessary for their maintenance. Bureaucracy was born as a result of this increase, as a rationally organized formal social structure with defined activities and functional processes for business growth. For decades, bureaucracy remained a central element in the life of a company: like a machine conceived and built according to rigid schemes and procedures in a closed system of strictly and minutely codified rules. Organizations only opened up to the surrounding ecosystem towards the end of the twentieth century, reacting to environmental stresses as thinking entities, capable of acquiring information and processing it to optimize their adaptation. Here below, we present a non-exhaustive history of the figures who made the history of bureaucracy. It is a selection that looks back to a period when the organization of work profoundly influenced social life and the behavior of individuals in our industrial companies. Stopping at the time before the digital revolution, this “gallery” does not take into consideration the recent organizational models that we all know well (Apple, Amazon, Netflix, etc.) and that we will cover in one of the next issues of EVOLVE.

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Max Weber, the ideal type of bureaucracy The study of bureaucracy as a typical phenomenon of the modern era is mainly due to Max Weber (1864-1920). According to the sociologist and philosopher, bureaucracy is a particularly invasive, and in some ways, dangerous, form of the rationalization process that sometimes characterizes modernity because it directly involves the management of human beings and not objects. Weber identifies the fundamental elements of the ideal type of bureaucracy: the clear division of labor between the different offices with the use of specialized personnel; the hierarchical order within the organization where each office is supervised by a higher office; a system of written rules that governs the operation of all operations and guarantees their uniformity, regardless of the person who actually


performs them; the impartial and detached attitude of the official in carrying out his business; technical qualifications and a system of promotions based on both merit and seniority. Finally, Weber’s bureaucrat does not have his own work tools.

Henry Ford, assembly line and mass-production Founder of one of the world’s major car manufacturers, Ford promoted important innovations in the relationship between industry and the working class, leading to a social revolution that contributed to the formation of the American middle class. Starting in 1913 Ford applied an organization and industrial policy system called Fordism in his car factory. Based on the principles of Taylorism, this system aimed to increase production efficiency through the rigorous planning of individual operations and production phases, the generalized use of the assembly line and a series of labor incentives (higher wages, shorter working hours, etc.). It is with Ford that mass production and mass consumption began.


Frederick Taylor, the father of scientific management In his work The Principles of Scientific Management, Taylor (1856-1915) starts with the assumption that any operation of the industrial production cycle can be broken down and studied in detail: this is the task of the manager who, on the basis of observational analysis, must assign each worker a specific task and establish the timing and method of completion. The Taylor principle states “one best way”: when faced with a problem, there is only one valid solution. This solution constitutes the standard that workers must adhere to. The rule of organizational rationality is expressed in concrete terms by the assembly line. According to Taylor, organization is a centralized system, led by the useful logic of economic efficiency. Workers become the wheels of an inflexible gear: the direction is separate from the execution, the strategy from the operation. The organization is structured vertically, with a small summit that plans and a large base that passively executes. The supervisors, responsible for monitoring the execution of the employees, are located between the top and the base.

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26 Henry Laurence Gantt, the management diagram is born


The best-known output in planning is his, the so-called Gantt chart. The bar chart system was developed by the American engineer (18611919) in the 1910s, but it began to be applied only after his death. With this diagram Gantt identifies the fundamental principles for effectively managing the key activities of a project: in a single scheme there are the activities to be carried out, their positioning over time, the correlation among them and an indication of the resources involved. The Gantt chart represents an important planning, communication and sharing tool between the project manager and his collaborators. It is also useful in subsequent production control activities.


Henri Fayol and the 14 principles of management The French theorist was also a mining engineer who worked in a mining company of which he became the manager. He has the merit of having identified the 14 principles that govern the management of management division of labor, authority, discipline, unity of order, unity of direction, priority of organizational interest over individual interest, renumeration, centralization, the line of authority, order, equity, job security, the awarding of initiative and the spirit of belonging. The proposal to make the direction of work a scientific discipline derived from this theoretical basis. Fayol (1841-1925) published his most important work in 1916, “General and Industrial Administration”, in which he also provides a scientific theory of administrative management, identifying five key elements: planning, organizing, commanding, coordinating and controlling.

Eiji Toyoda and Taiichi Ohno, innovation-revolution With these words Eiji Toyoda (1913-2013), grandson of the founder of Toyota and a profound innovator of the production model of the Japanese car manufacturer, in the late 40s underlines the value of time. The perfect company is the one characterized by an organization able to guarantee “just in time”, that is, the exact synchrony of production parts. The rest was done by the engineer Taiichi Ohno (1912-1990): his philosophy is based on the obsessive search for the best technical organizational conditions for a production in small diversified lots. This innovation allowed Toyota to respond to market changes and customized customer requests with timing and flexibility unknown to the Fordist model. In addition, small batch production enabled more effective and more convenient quality control than Ford’s large chain, putting an immediate stop to production flow as soon as any defects were found, rather than only intervening at the end of the line. With the revolution of the Toyota production system, concepts such as the minimum factory, Lean Production and Total Quality were born.

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Adriano Olivetti, 27 between ethical business and social responsibility Olivetti’s vision that runs countercurrent, the exact opposite of Fordism. In the opinion of Adriano Olivetti (1901-1960), the company is the heart of an ideal community, where ethics and production merge and where the enhancing of human resources, and on a broader scale the company’s intangible resources, are of primary importance. Olivetti sees the company as the center of a community capable of bringing people, work and culture together. The company is not only the engine of the economic and social development of the community, but also the center for the dissemination of ethical values for all the people who work there. His entrepreneurial culture is based on strong reformist and solidarity beliefs: the activity of a company must not only ensure good profits, but also achieve the social, cultural and human development of those who work there, respecting every individuality, talent and aspiration.

H. Mintzberg and the organizational social structure Mintzberg’s analysis of the organizational structure dates back to the 1980s, which in addition to identifying the different forms of coordination, also develops a model that indicates the constraints and rules to be followed in the design of an organization’s internal structures. The Canadian scholar refers in particular to the theory of contingencies, which developed between the 60s and the 70s, which establishes how the social structure of an organization changes in relation


to the type of environment in which it operates. The companies that set themselves up with a structure more in line with the technological and environmental conditions in which they operate are also the most efficient; while companies with structures that do not correspond to those conditions are those of lesser efficiency. To be optimal, the design of an organization must be made in correspondence with some strategic “contingencies”.

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BUREAUCRACY Custom, form, hierarchy. In this issue Evolve, too, has left its typical format, changing the customary photographic reportage into a gallery of evocative illustrations depicting the dangers of bureaucracy, present even in this simplified digital era. Taking for fact that communication travels quickly, the temptation of wanting speaking to everyone comes with the risk of not finding any true recipients. This happens when we send an email to too many addressees: the message is not heard by anyone.

Illustrations by Pixelheads

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The hierarchical layers, like obstacles to overcome, one after another, to achieve a determined objective. Each step requiring a signature, a stamp, a validation of the one before. And so, the path becomes process: a succession of stops pushing those on the path away from their goal. Meetings cease to be enriching encounters and become mere pauses in the journey of each individual. Stations from which you do not know if you will depart, but where, all too often, you remain, activity paralyzed.

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hough just 10 years ago economic and financial risks were the greatest concern for the global economy, both in terms of probability of occurrence and potential, today we find environmental risks at the top of the ranking. Particularly concerning are those related to climate change such as extreme meteorological events, the failure of climate policies and natural disasters. It has now been ascertained that these risks transversally pose further economic, social and geopolitical risks with global and sometimes unforeseeable consequences including migration, damage to the energy sector, scarcity of food and resources, and health risks. From fear of the Black Swan - an unexpected catastrophic event, ready to upset our financial markets - to fear of the Green Swan: this one determined by the consequences of Climate Change.


Professor, parliamentary and former Italian minister of the environment from 1996 to 2000, Edo Ronchi has been president of the Sustainable Development Foundation for the last ten years, an organization that works alongside companies, helping them in the transition process towards the green economy. A few weeks ago, NextChem, a Maire Tecnimont group company active

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37 Edo Ronchi Edo Ronchi is the president of the Sustainable Development Foundation (of which NextChem takes part). An expert of the green economy, he has also been a university professor and researcher. A member of Parliament, Ronchi was Italian Minister of the environment from 1996 to 2000.

in the field of green chemistry and the technologies that support the energy transition, became one of the founding members of Susdef. “The green economy is changing the way we do business” Ronchi explains, “and it is obligating companies to rethink their business models. Our approach to environmental issues can no longer be bureaucratic and defensive, but must rather be proactive and competitive, in regards to the environmental quality of both the production processes and the final products. For this reason, companies need innovative tools and approaches, new reporting tools and strategies dedicated to a business that must already be thought of as “green” at the outset. Entrepreneurs and managers have come to understand that developing what is known as eco-innovation is what will make the difference.” The interview with the Foundation president began with an account of the general situation, the worsening climate emergency and the politics in play that will guide the energy transition onto economically sustainable ground. “The epic challenge of climate change is starting to become the heart and soul of a great project that is giving new meaning and valor to Europe. With the Green Deal, in fact, the European Commission has put an investment plan of approximately one trillion euro within the next decade in place, a program that will require a necessary adjustment of institutional process. However, in this stage of history the rate of innovation is very fast and should not be slowed down, or a country like Italy will be made less competitive. Without a reworking of this kind, some territorial and sectorial markets may not be ready to manage the financial resources for technological innovation, investment development and new employment. There is some positive data that brings hope. In February, the International Energy Agency (IEA) announced that after 2 years

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38 of growth, global emissions of CO2 from energy sources has held steady at about 33 billion tons in 2019, the same as in 2018. The halt in the increase in emissions has been caused by the ongoing positive evolution of electricity generation. “The reduction in the use of coal to produce electricity” explains Ronchi, “has resulted in a decrease in emissions of around 200 Mt of CO2 compared to 2018. The most advanced economies (USA, Europe and Japan), despite GDP growth, have reduced their emissions by over 370 Mt of CO2: a cut of 3.2%.” The other great matter of debate for businesses today is the circular economy. At the most recent National Conference organized by the Circular Economy Network, the decisive role of the circular economy was discussed in concurrence with the launch of the Green Deal program. In addition to the reduction of environmental and climatic impacts and the consequent economic and employment advantages, the theme of Regenerative Bioeconomy emerged. It is considered to be a field capable of consolidating the future of successful sectors, such as agribusiness, simultaneously initiating new development in marginal territories and relaunching abandoned industrial sites and activities. The former minister stated: “Circularity in the use of natural resources is now a necessary provision for the well-being of populations and the development of businesses. Italy registers a higher overall circularity performance compared to the other main European economies, despite showing some delay.”

In fact, our country holds the role of leader in production (resource productivity and eco-innovation) and waste management. It does, however, present more marked delays in regard to the market of secondary raw material (including the reutilization of recycled material within production systems). “Public policy has the role of helping the market make strides towards decarbonization, facilitating necessary technological innovation. Politics and bureaucracy must move at a speed that is appropriate to the transition, not become an obstacle slowing down progress.” Ronchi explains. “Let’s take the case of the End of Waste act, which regulates when waste ceases to be waste. The process, which allows refuse and differentiated waste to become legitimate products that can be reintroduced to the market, must be accompanied by regulations that facilitate those who would like to invest in the green economy. Putting sustainable choices in practice must become easier and more convenient.

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39 Circularity in the use of natural resources is now a necessary provision for the well-being of populations and the development of businesses. Italy registers a higher overall circularity performance compared to the other main European economies, despite showing some delay.

A demand for a broader range of exchange, rental and sharing services must be initiated. If bureaucratic controls (with the exception of environmental protection and product quality) become too slow, in the end it will no longer be worth it for a company to recycle its waste. Therefore, it will be necessary to have corrective measures such as carbon pricing in place to gradually lessen the dependency on energy derived from fossil fuel: the only way to avoid regulatory delays and constraints on the circular economy and decarbonization is through an extensive plan of public intervention.” A significant example is the conversion of industrial areas. “A relevant topic in Italy is the green conversion of brownfield industrial sites” responds the Foundation’s president, “a fundamental step towards cleaning up the territory and avoiding further land use. The energy transition must bring with it a change in economic and production activity: this is the reason why the use of abandoned industrial sites is an important road to take. Germany sets a good example with their plan to convert all carbon power plants by 2038. Government, businesses and the main mining Länder have reached an agreement which provides for an allocation of around € 40 billion for the progressive closure of the plants, their economic conversion and subsequent support for the loss of jobs. The collaboration has overcome bureaucratic delays and mapped out a fast and dynamic path on both a national and local scale.” We asked Ronchi in closing: What do managers and entrepreneurs need in order to successfully navigate a change as important and articulated as the green transition? “First of all, Vision. A vision in the medium-long term that will allow businesses to keep up with innovation and the scenarios around them. Second of all, I would say the ability to continually be up to date, making alliances with Universities and Institutes of Technology of premiere importance. Today, technology and solutions are evolving with remarkable speed, faster than ever before. And last, but certainly not least, is the ethical side of the business. The responsibility towards stakeholders and the idea of social enterprise that gives back to the territory and the community in question should be pillars upon which companies of the third millennium are built. I feel that an essential characteristic and objective of the green economy is an all around well-being of a better quality than was in the past. Only in this way will we be able to prevent the outcomes of the climate crisis, improve our health as citizens and protect those landscapes and territories that make our lives enjoyable.”

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INDIA'S CHALLENGE WITH BUREAUCRACY THE GREAT ASIAN NATION’S COMMITMENT TO STREAMLINE THE ORGANIZATION OF WORK. FOLLOWING THE EXAMPLE OF MULTINATIONALS. he traditional image of millennial India, a complex and fascinating civilization, has been flanked by the modern India of recent years, a global center for services that require a high content of knowledge. As a growing nation that regularly trains a very large number of engineers and other graduates, today, India is the country of “brains”, outsourcing, Bollywood and Bangalore (the Indian Silicon Valley). An emerging power characterized by rapid and sudden development, where critical issues and the sluggishness of bureaucracy coexist with the economic dynamism of a continental-sized state in full transformation.


Bureaucracy – the backbone of the Indian administrative system – is still largely based on the Weberian model (hierarchies, written rules, clear division of labor, impartiality of officials and careers based on seniority). But in the era of globalization, its nature is changing, hand in hand with a change in the socio-cultural and economic landscape. In fact, after decades of having an overly rigid approach, widespread proceduralism that makes one lose sight of objectives and an absolute loyalty to the bureaucratic rules of a system that is not

very responsive to innovation, the India of today sees the digital age as a springboard to streamline itself and its business models. India has the second most startups in the world, and Bangalore is second only to Silicon Valley. To use a concrete example, Flipkart (the giant Indian competitor of Amazon) was bought by Walmart for 16 billion dollars. In India, there have been 13 startups with a value surpassing the billion-dollar mark, essentially considered unicorns, worth a total of 44 billion dollars. Bangalore was born as an IT hub, with numerous fundamental infrastructures for the development of innovation, ranging from connectivity to co-working spaces. The community is very active, and every month there are hundreds of events entirely dedicated to networking attended by world giants companies (Amazon, IBM and Oracle) who act as incubators and accelerators. Even the government has begun to promote innovation, creating numerous SEZs (Special Economic Zones), areas where there is up to a 100% tax reduction, with available funds and support agencies.


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Baride – that of foreign companies like Unilever, IBM, General Electric, Microsoft, Cognizant, Coca-Cola and Deloitte. Generally, these big companies tend to carry their “domestic” culture with them, driven by performance goals. However, Indian branches show different cultural traits in interpersonal behavior: in addition to greater respect for authority, teamwork is often influenced more by the members’ personalities than by their roles».

On the whole, the overall change will not follow a linear path. Prime minister Modi is working intensely to shake the prevalent culture to the core: his administrative and economic reforms, such as the introduction of the Goods and service tax (Gst), a nationally applied indirect value added tax, have been met with remarkable resistance. Breaking the bureaucratic-financial conglomeration that opposes any real expansion of the Indian economy and the digitalization of businesses, does not appear to be a simple task.

Four models of being a company To outline the different types of businesses in the private sector, we spoke with Milind Baride, Vice President of the Indian region of the Maire Tecnimont Group. «There are at least four organizational models in India today. There are the large historical groups, founded by Indian entrepreneurs like Tata, Birla, Reliance (Ambani), Mittal, Agarwal. In this type of company, the financial and commercial functions (treasury, accounting, corporate finance and purchases) are still controlled by the owner’s family, while the areas that deal with customers and suppliers (sales, marketing, production engineering and human resources) are facing rapid changes to adapt to market speed». Another typology regards some groups (banking and telecommunications) like ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Infosys, who have instead adopted a dynamic, performance-oriented and innovative corporate culture, with a large number of employees who began working in multinationals from the start. «Then there is a third group – continues

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The fourth division is that of Indian startups with online platforms such as PayTM, MakemyTrip, Ola and BookmyShow. Baride explains: «These organizations have a very entrepreneurial culture, where the average employee age is very low. Typically, the staff come from excellent institutes of technology and business schools, while managers come mainly from multinationals specialized in related sectors. As would be expected, startups are strongly influenced by the founder’s personality and operate in a fast-paced scene». Although the corporate culture in this kind of context is poles apart from bureaucracy, it is true that when these organizations grow, the structure adapts by introducing a series of rules necessary to coordinate operations. In short, there is a varied and complex panorama, that in some cases is travelling at two different speeds, with major changes taking place on both the public and private sides. One can find signs of openness to market dynamics in news like this: for the last two years or so, the New Delhi government has started to hire dozens of Indian executives from private organizations for the role of Joint Secretary, with the job of bringing “fresh and vibrant ideas” to the area of public bureaucracy. A move long awaited and welcomed by businesses, who see a revival of what is called “lateral leadership”, meaning the ability to influence people on whom you do not have hierarchical authority. As Yadvinder Rana, professor of Cattolica University of Milan explained to us in a previous issue of EVOLVE, lateral leadership rests upon three key elements: credibility, relationship skills and effective communication. Without credibility there is no influence, and without relationships, the ability to exercise one’s leadership is lost.



A SUSTAINABLE APPROACH TO INTEGRATION The Maire Tecnimont Group, present in India since decades, is a multinational that has gradually integrated its corporate culture with that of the rapidly growing nation’s local vision and strengths. Tecnimont PL India is one of the most important international engineering centers of our Group, a real flagship in the design and management of complex projects, as well as in procurement and construction services. Having developed a very strong Italian-Indian collaboration over the years, today Maire Tecnimont can count on Mumbai capabilities, comparable to those of Milan headquarters. Of the Group’s approximately 6,300 employees, over two thousand work in the Mumbai office, which regularly coordinates a further three thousand technicians specialized in the electro-instrumental sector. «Not everything happened quickly – explains Sathiamoorthy Gopalsamy, Service Project Vice President of Tecnimont and Managing Director of Tecnimont India– As with any integration between companies with different habits, lifestyles and languages, group management had to implement broad cross-cultural strategies to facilitate the transition to a single entity with shared rules and objectives. The idea of proposing the temporary transfer of a certain number of Tecnimont staff to India created a “real” dialogue between the two offices. At the same time, Indian employees began to spend periods of time, on a rotating basis, working in Milan where they joined project groups composed mainly of Italians, where their professional skills would come to light. As far as work methods were concerned, the transition between the various

departments went smoothly, thanks to the mutual trust and support provided by the ‘parent company’ to Tecnimont India. Over time, we also worked on the employees sense of identity, expanding the group vision and opening career development opportunities across the board, no longer just in the Indian office». Particularly dear to Maire Tecnimont is the Diwali festival, which is celebrated at Milan headquarters and in various other Group locations. During the “festival of lights” – one of the most important Hindu anniversaries that symbolizes the victory of good over evil, of the return of light over darkness – the faithful light thousands of small candles in temples, homes and special public places. With Diwali, the soul is honored: pure, eternal and infinite. It is the light of knowledge, capable of defeating the ignorance that masks reality.

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the women involved in the project into a network where they feel valued and supported. There are full-time childcare support services at the training centers, along with study support and monthly health monitoring. When a woman knows that her child is well cared for, she can work with peace of mind. It is also important for the women from the various centers involved in the women’s empowerment program to meet and share their experiences, essential moments that keep them updated on activities and let them see how important it is to be a part of a Group».

Another highly profitable area for integrating different cultures is sustainability and social responsibility. The Maire Tecnimont Group continues to invest in training opportunities for Indian women who are socially marginalized, making economic independence the first step in the discussion on gender equality. In collaboration with the local NGO CORP, our Group has promoted the active participation of women who live in the slums of Mumbai in the economic life of their communities for the fifth consecutive year, thanks to the professional courses offered, capable of generating quality employment and micro-enterprises (tailoring, beautician, training programs, computer literacy and income generation). The project, launched in 2015, has involved approximately 1,000 women and children every year, with 7 centers located in the most disadvantaged neighborhoods of the Mumbai metropolitan area.

By being able to contribute to the economic support of the family, women also gain more of a voice in decisions on spending and choices related to the education of their children. This more balanced family dynamic gives a fundamentally important message, acting as the “role model” of an egalitarian relationship between parents: a model that sons, and especially daughters, will absorb and replicate. «Finally, there are also positive impacts on circularity – Grieco continues. CORP has focused its tailoring activities upon this production, both for training purposes as well as to generate income through the sale of finished products made from the recovery of sari fabric which then becomes the new base material for the creation of original accessories and new clothing. The scraps left over from the processing of used saris are in turn recovered and donated to other operators, thus activating a zero-waste circuit and further economic uses for scrap material».

Valentina Grieco, Communication and Sustainability Specialist at Maire Tecnimont tells us: «In addition to providing basic professional knowledge with opportunities for training, the program aims to place

The Maire Tecnimont Group has put the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals in action with this pragmatic and integrated socio-economic approach. Grieco concludes: «About half of the people in our Group are located in India. It is like having part of your family on another continent. So, supporting those who offer women development opportunities and children prospects that are less uncertain than the ones they have today all living in a country that is so close to ours becomes a real opportunity to invest in our own future, too».

SUPPORT FOR NITK TRAINING Since March 2020, our Group has joined the National Institute of Technology of Karnataka, Surathkal, to develop a program focused on small waste management with training opportunities and study aid. The collaboration involves the creation of a pilot plant for the generation of bio-gas, from food waste, which will be used for the needs of the NTIK campus. The pilot plant will also be a useful facility for training young engineers in the use of waste as a raw material, with a view to creating new technical skills for the energy transition. The Mangalore - based NITK is, in fact, one of the country’s most distinguished engineering training centers with a large pool of students. Our group has set up scholarships to give those who are less well-off access to quality technical training.

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tep up and make things happen. This is the Motto from which we started designing this issue of EVOLVE, being published in a particularly unusual period of our professional and personal lives, given the public health emergency we are currently facing. In general, among the many challenges for a multinational operating on different continents to overcome is the one regarding the excess of bureaucracy weighing down and paralyzing organizations: this having continued despite the advent of digitalization, the compass that will help us become more linear and effective in our work.


What you have in your hands is an EVOLVE full of external contributions. As we see in the interview with Michele Zanini – international expert in business organizations and author with Gary Hamel of a soon to be published book on the theme of humanocracy – bureaucracy is difficult to eradicate because it is a mechanism that works, giving projects a clear, visible, measurable structure. Our Motto, “Beat the bureaucratic approach”, was created precisely to combat the kind of approach that threatens to undermine large companies from within. And not just them. If you have not already done so, be sure to carefully read the content on the work of Yves Morieux, director of the Boston Consulting Group’s Institute for Organization. Thanks to him we have discovered some rules that help reduce bureaucracy, while increasing cooperation and engagement. Topics to ponder to get us out of the complicatedness trap and away from all of the unnecessary bureaucratic procedures that prevent every company from making the best use of complexity to achieve competitive advantage. Then, looking at Maire Tecnimont, we have told our readers about the use of the AWP (Advanced Work Packaging) digital methodology, which helps our project managers redesign processes to generate efficiency, cost reduction and competitive advantage. In Maire Tecnimont’s vision, the “contractor of the future” uses technology to the fullest to coordinate the supply chain and create new digital services for customers.

Our sights, however, are cast towards end of this strange tunnel, to the next issue of EVOLVE in which we will talk about “resilience”, an absolutely prevalent theme. We know well how adversity makes us stronger (and in this case it is not just a saying). In times like these, every organization needs to cultivate within itself a reserve of resilience and the capacity to respond to emergency. As CEO Pierroberto Folgiero has explained in the editorial, Maire Tecnimont has found itself to be ready, from a cultural as well as an organizational perspective, thanks in part to a smart working system that allows the entire company to remain operational, continuing work on the different projects in the various countries where we operate. Among the many stories of resilience we have taken record of in recent days – episodes that we will discuss in greater depth in the next issue – we can cite the remote communication network being used with members of the external HAZOP LOPA team that has allowed the activities of the “PDH Kallo” project to be carried out effectively, a project entailing the construction of a new propane dehydrogenation plant in Belgium by the Tecnimont subsidiary for the Borealis group. And in the case of the Amursky project located on the border between Russia and China– where our Group is executing a 3.9 billion euro contract for Gazprom for the treatment of gas in the outer reaches of Asia –smart working has made it possible to manage relationships with people who work across 16 different time zones (from Moscow to Svobodny, all the way to Punta Catalina), everyone connected with Milan headquarters. We see from the feedback collected in the various departments that, generally speaking, remote meetings are more effective, productivity is high and people face emergencies with a healthy enthusiasm. As a result of this crisis, we within the Group are rediscovering the value and potential of a working method that, until a few weeks ago, was considered to be a backup solution. «Thanks to everyone’s enormous commitment – wrote president Fabrizio Di Amato – in early March, the Group was awarded two new contracts, a tangible sign that customers appreciate what we are doing and continue to put their trust in us. Furthermore, we have fulfilled our obligations with the closure of the 2019 financial statements, as well as those provided therein as a company listed on the stock exchange. I am convinced that – continues Di Amato – by complying with the national regulations and simultaneously continuing to pursue our objectives with the support of the digital tools at our disposal, we will be able to overcome this difficult moment and emerge stronger than before». Concentrated and resilient: it is the only antidote that will let us all take a great leap forward together, with the awareness that we can change. In fact, we must.

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The challenge of our Group: impeccably deliver our portfolio through operational and financial discipline.

Master the change, be actively part of it!

EVERY SINGLE DECISION COUNTS! Our work-success is the result of a thousand single choices made in the right sequence. There is no time for procrastination.

Your contribution makes a difference!


Fast changes in the market create discontinuities while opening also opportunities to the most responsive players.

Agility is the key!

NOT JUST THE COMPANY, THIS IS YOUR COMPANY! Building together the success of our Group creates shared value to everyone.

Be entrepreneur in a network of entrepreneurs!


Managing uncertainties is the core of our job… As a sailor faces the sea every day.

Let the passion for results drive your actions!

STEP UP AND MAKE THINGS HAPPEN! Talk and listen directly to your colleagues. Sending an e-mail could not be a solution. Let’s keep our doors open.

Beat the bureaucratic approach!


Recovering quickly from drastic changes is part of our noble and precious DNA. We live in a tough environment, but adversity made us stronger.

Let’s capitalize on lessons learnt!

OUR TOMORROW IS NOW! These are extraordinary times. If we stay focused on our corridor of growth we will be ready to build the next decade of Maire Tecnimont.

The floor is ours!