I am speaking today at an "offsite" leadership conference for Odebrecht. The firm is a fast-growing global player with about $12 billion (U.S.) in revenue, principally from Infrastructure construction and petrochemicals. These days, Brazil is frequently mentioned alongside China, India, and Russia as one of the Big 4 economies of the future—and Odebrecht is emblematic of Brazil's probable rosy future. Odebrecht emphasizes "entrepreneurial technology," and a principal focus of this conference is keeping the keystone entrepreneurial spirit alive in the face of growth and enormity—no small feat.
When one finds in one's hotel room a book about the company written by an insider, the appropriate response is to groan. Which is exactly what I did when I found Education Through Work, by Norberto Odebrecht, weighing in at 599 pages, on my bed. Little did I expect it to keep me up half the night—especially when it was competing with both jet lag and the latest from Daniel Silva, The Secret Servant. But read it I did, and Education Through Work is a superb work that explores the philosophy and reality of the idea of Entrepreneurial Technology. I am especially keen on leaders who look the enemy squarely in the eye. And Sr Odebrecht does just that: "Data drawn from the real world attest to a fact that is beyond our control: Everything in existence tends to deteriorate."
Amen. And what a clarion call to action, especially in these brutally competitive times that do indeed call for "perpetual revolution" and command the Ultimate Sanction to those who fail to appreciate the new economic realities.
(I'll let you know how it comes out.)
[PPT link is below.—CM]
Excellence. Always. Odebrecht, São Paulo, Brazil