People development programs are bolstering the growth of Odebrecht members
A native of Rio de Janeiro, civil engineer José Eduardo Quintella joined Odebrecht as a Young Partner in 2005, during the first stage of the Light for All rural electrification program. Today, at 31 years of age, he is leading the second and third stages of the program, at the head of a team of 2,000 people. The projects cover 330 municipalities in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, with works being carried out simultaneously in several locations. For José Eduardo, it requires constant delegation of responsibility, dynamism and prioritizing.
Ana Carolina Farias, 33, is a native of Pernambuco who has worked on the BR-101 highway and Abreu e Lima Refinery (Renest) projects. She joined the Organization as an intern in 2001, on the Recife airport construction works, and is currently the officer Responsible for Engineering Management for one the largest infrastructure projects now underway in Brazil, the Transnordestina Railway linking the northeastern states of Pernambuco, Piauí and Ceará.
Ana Carolina’s fellow interns included Fábio Toscano. Like Ana, Fábio was born in Recife and has a degree in Civil Engineering. At 32, he is also tackling a major challenge: as Project Director, he is taking part in the construction of the rocket launch site in Alcântara, Maranhão, a complex project distinguished by advanced technology. Fábio has worked on several projects for Odebrecht Infraestrutura, including mining projects – Onça Puma in Ourilândia do Norte and the Carajás Iron Mine – both for Vale, and carried out in the state of Pará.
Throughout their careers at Odebrecht, José Eduardo, Ana and Fábio have been able to rely on strong allies: people development programs. Carried out by the People & Organization area, these initiatives focus on spreading and deepening knowledge of the Odebrecht Entrepreneurial Technology (TEO). Programs like Culture 101, Young Builder and the Program for Developing Entrepreneurs (PDE) have proven to be effective ways of acculturating, integrating and grooming members and honing their management skills.
History and philosophy
When Anna and Fábio joined Odebrecht, the method for learning about the Organization’s principles and values was very different from the current format of Culture 101. For 30 days, the young members participated in meetings to read and reflect on the concepts of TEO with the guidance of a tutor – usually a Project Manager or Director.
Today, Culture 101 is organized in three modules that present a general approach to the history of the Organization and its entrepreneurial philosophy, and the characteristics and competencies of Odebrecht Partners. The current method includes personal meetings, distance learning, visits to the Odebrecht Culture Center in Salvador, Bahia, and supplementary reading of Survival, Growth and Perpetuity and Education through Work, by Norberto Odebrecht.
The Young Builders Program was established in 2004 to give Young Partners a broad and holistic perspective on the business in which they are working. With a duration of one year, it is divided into two modules that cover the entire implementation cycle of a project, from preparation of the bid to delivery to the client. Through lectures, group activities, case studies, practical research and distance education, participants deepen their knowledge of areas such as business management, finance, legal issues and quality.
Fábio Toscano was a member of the first class to take the Young Builder Program. “It enables you to exchange experiences and perceptions through examples and practical exercises. That way, you acquire an overall view of business, which is key to each member’s education and performance.”
Ana Carolina also took part in the first edition of the Young Builder Program. She observes: “It helps you realize that you’re part of something much bigger than just one construction project. Sectors that had seemed remote become closer and you start to realize their importance to the overall business.”
In general, to complete the Young Builder Program, each member becomes Responsible for a Program (RP), taking on new responsibilities and bigger challenges. “It’s time to put into practice all the experience you’ve gained inside and outside the corporate environment,” said Paulo Quaresma, the officer Responsible for People & Organization at Odebrecht Infraestrutura. “At this stage, we observe attributes like maturity, attitude toward challenges, overall perception of the business, innovation and way of relating with clients, and those who show major potential for entrepreneurship are recommended to participate in the PDE,” he explains.
First held in 2003, the PDE enables the Organization’s young leaders to hone their managerial skills by exchanging experiences with members from different generations and spheres in the company. During face-to-face meetings, the leaders who helped build the Organization discuss their successes and failures and how they have overcome challenges in the course of their careers. The year-long program reinforces the leader’s educational role, encourages people’s capacity for self-development and provides a space for reflection on the interrelationship between their life and career plans.
“It’s a time when everyone’s attention is focused on individual Odebrecht members, and you realize you’re always being observed. You always have to show who you are and what you’re doing here,” says Ana Carolina. The PDE was a watershed in her life. She participated in the program in 2009, the same year she first took on responsibility for managing a project. About 410 members from Odebrecht’s Engineering & Construction companies have participated in the PDE since its inception.
The school of experience
For more mature leaders, mainly project directors, the Organization offers an MBA Program developed in partnership with the Getúlio Vargas Foundation. The 530-hour course furthers the participants’ professional development by carrying out wide-ranging and systematic corporate activities in strategic areas such as finance, people management and sustainability.
José Eduardo Quintella and Fábio Toscano are part of the group of 30 members who currently taking the MBA course. José Eduardo sees it as an opportunity to refresh his knowledge and return to academia. “You need to find the right time to invest in this level of education, so learnings become tools for the job.”
Odebrecht also invests in courses focused on developing specific skills, such as training programs in procurement and logistics, and specializations in finance, foreign languages and leadership. In 2010, the Organization’s Engineering & Construction Business companies invested about BRL 7 million in in-house educational programs, which helped groom 7,846 members.
The companies’ People & Organization teams design and implement development programs internally, and in some cases, in partnership with educational institutions. According to Paulo Quaresma: “Our biggest challenge is to strike a balance between the expectations of people’s life and career plans and the Organization’s objectives, particularly with respect to its commitments to its Clients. But decisions should be taken within the sphere of the leader-team member relationship.”
José Eduardo Quintella, Ana Carolina Farias and Fábio Toscano joined Odebrecht when they were very young, assimilated its entrepreneurial philosophy, and have learned how to transform challenges into opportunities. They are still quite young, and have attained important positions in the Organization. Although their backgrounds, experiences and challenges vary, they all agree on one point: the real school is day-to-day experience on the job. “Our working environments are very rich and rewarding, and learning opportunities are everywhere. Development programs are key, but everyone is responsible for the educational process,” argues José Eduardo.