The primary motivation of Fernando Neves de Almeida, CEO of, Centrocar, is to deliver happiness. Happiness for all the company employees, meaning they should enjoy, love, feel well compensated, and be proud to work with the leader. As their business with Centrocar, happiness for the stakeholders must be profitable and repeatable in a way that we should be a reference in our sector. Happiness for the stockholder creates value exceeding their expectations. And happiness for himself, being an example for his employees, respected by the stakeholders, well paid by the stockholders, and loved by his family!!
When Fernando was invited to be the CEO of Centrocar in December of 2012, he was CFO since November 2009, so he knew clearly, what were the problems of the company and what should be done to take it to another level. Being a strategic thinker, communicative, and people-orientated, Fernando led by example. “The first thing I did when I assumed this position was to define what I would like the company to be, in terms of organization, market position, and people culture. Then I had to communicate this to my people and convince them that, that was the way to reach top performance,” he elucidates.
“Having this spread throughout the organization, with my management team, we started to get the hands dirty, showing a different business attitude, how to be a team worker, how each one could be an entrepreneur on his job, and replacing the non-aligned ones. To have the right people is the only way to reach performance through people, which is the key to success.”
Armed with this brilliant mindset, Fernando has been taking the company to new heights and leading them towards enhanced developments and productivity.
Leading the Team
According to Fernando, the first way to motivate a team is by being an example, being a good listener, and respecting them. This is the first and decisive step to have the company follow its leader. There is no big secret to having a company committed. A company can reach the “sky” with the right attitude towards people. “Motivation is the key button that works completely different depending mainly from the soft skills of the person. Therefore, if you want to have people motivated you have to understand how they think and what things are important to them,” says Fernando. “We are using a HBDI (brain profile test) to understand them better. This test evaluates people´s brain profile, regarding mostly soft skills and their approach towards work, allowing us to understand what the main driver for their motivation is, which make easier to push people for higher performance levels and better adjustable depending on the job positions and finally towards success.”
“For me success happens when you feel that your team is with you. I needed around one year to start to feel this osmosis!”
Looking towards the Future
The construction equipment industry is much more traditional than the automotive one, meaning that all the innovation they introduce in the industry first arrives in the automotive. “When we did a brainstorm about our core market and about our competitors it was clear that our success come for the capacity that the company had to take Speed decisions, and this was what we were doing better or differently than our competitors,” explains Fernando. “We have a very flat organigram with well-defined processes and clear delegation bands, which allowed us to increase the speed of decision that gave us an incredible advantage to close sales.”
This was only possible with the significant work Fernando has done with his management team to change the traditional mindset established in the company. This capacity of having people all over the organigram with decision capacity has allowed Centrocar to reach first place in the rank of sales of excavators in Portugal and Spain, which is a tremendous achievement given the fact that the Doosan brand does not have the recognition like the top 5 ones. Speed doesn’t seem so innovative, but in such a traditional market as it is the construction equipment one, with the majority of the companies still family companies with strong but centralized leadership, speed was the innovative attitude that allowed Fernando and his team to be better than the others. Sometimes innovation is quite simple!
“I still have two goals that I am working on to achieve. Beat the volume of sales of Centrocar before expanding the company to a fifth country, which is the second goal. Centrocar has companies in Portugal, Spain, Angola, and Mozambique,” says Fernando. “I am already doing active procurement to find opportunities to grow. This potential expansion will give extraordinary career opportunities to my people and for me to learn more about this business, to learn more about other cultures and to put to the test my skills of CEO again. I love new challenges and to be out of my comfort zone. Let see what future will bring!”