About Guillaume Lucci
Guillaume is the President and Chief Operating Officer of Prime Metroline Power Holdings (PMPH) and Prime Metroline Infrastructure Holdings (PMIH), the Infrastructure and Energy arm of the Razon Group. PMPH and PMIH are developers and long-term operators in their respective markets: Power (generation and distribution), Water (bulk water supply, WWTP).
A career focused on infrastructure development with numerous awarded projects, Guillaume brings executive management, heavy civil and industrial project development experience across five continents with a primary focus on emerging markets. Recent projects have been located in Iraq, Democratic Republic of Congo, Colombia, Mexico, Honduras, Argentina, The Philippines, and Australia, among others.
Prior to his current position, Guillaume served as Vice President and Head of Global Engineering for International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI, PSE:ICT), with global responsibility for all infrastructure and equipment projects and Capital Expenditures across 20 countries and over 30 terminals worldwide. Prior to joining ICTSI, Guillaume held several leadership roles in the Americas for Halcrow/CH2M HILL. Prior to joining Halcrow, Guillaume served as Principal VP and Director of River Consulting’s Maritime Division, a wholly owned subsidiary of Kinder Morgan Energy Partners (NYSE:KMI). As an adjunct faculty, he has taught numerous civil/structural and port engineering courses, as well as engineering economics courses at the undergraduate and graduate level.
Lesson 1: Never put your reputation and financial interest ahead of your employer’s reputation and financial interests 4m 23s.
Lesson 2: Leave the money…take the opportunity 06m 14s.
Lesson 3: Get ready to fail 08m 04s.
Lesson 4: You lead by listening 09m 23s.
Lesson 5: Promote yourself at work 10m 43s.
Lesson 6: It’s not about social media it’s about social skills 12m 57s.
Lesson 7: You only have your knowledge and your reputation, and you can only lose one of them 15m 46s.
Lesson 8: Perfect is a poor target 18m 16s.
Lesson 9: If it’s earned it’s sustainable 21m14s.
Lesson 10: It’s a lonely road 22m 46s.
Duff Watkins: [00:00:00] Hello, welcome to the podcast. 10 lessons took me 50 years to learn wisdom for the next generation. This is where we dispense wisdom, not just information or mere fact to an international audience of wising leaders. My name is Duff Watkins, and I’m your host. This podcast is sponsored by the professional development forum, which helps young professionals.
Of any age, accelerate your performance in the modern workplace. And this is where you hear honest, practical wisdom that you won’t find in any textbook because it took half a century to learn this stuff. Today’s guest is Guillaume Lucci, who is president chief operating officer of prime Metroline infrastructure.
Now, anything that is important to you, water, power, ports, and ports, particularly important because anything, any tangible good that you get injured, your country. From port, that’s what they do. In fact, they do it in a lot of places, 20 countries. And speaking of ports, they have over 30 terminals worldwide and places like Iraq, Congo, Colombia, Mexico, Honduras, Argentina, Brazil, Australia.
And I’m sure I left some out and welcome to the show. Thanks for joining us.
Guillaume Lucci: [00:01:12] Good morning.
Duff Watkins: [00:01:13] The pleasure being here. We first worked together in Brazil and I know you were educated in the U S you now live in the Philippines, so you’re an international person. So, let me ask you, what was your first business list?
Guillaume Lucci: [00:01:27] Well, it took me a while to think about that then. And eventually I remembered one of the most clear moments early in my career where I came to realize, you know, I’m educated as an engineer. I came to realize that at the end of the day, truly what matters is how the client perceives the product.
You know, when particularly comes from technical fields, we have this tendency too, to think very much about process then develop and very early in my career, I was very fortunate too, to see what I was designing, being built right outside of my office, had a roll through the whole supply chain and delivery chain in a very early, I came to realize, well, at the end of the day, all this work, where are you?
What matters is the product? How commercially viable it is for the client. I E. The piece of infrastructure, does it achieve actually needs functional objective? Everything else, frankly, is a step towards an enabler, but the end product is all that matters. That’s how we end up making, making a profit.
Duff Watkins: [00:02:22] And when you say how the client perceives the in
Guillaume Lucci: [00:02:25] product read; indeed, it sits about the usage, the functionality the reaction, the value for money. The timetable now, whether or not it was engineered with the latest techniques or not at the end of the day, those are again enablers. But the end product and how the client values it is what keeps us in business they in the out.
So that was, that was a bit of a clear moment for me early in my career. That’s
Duff Watkins: [00:02:49] an important lesson for a structural engineer to learn, I suppose, early on. How about this? What have you unlearned lately? And by that, I mean, something you absolutely positively knew to be true then, but now realize is not the case.
Guillaume Lucci: [00:03:04] Well look, I think the clearest response to that question is the past few years, actually it took me a long time to understand this, to, to put more empty space in my schedule. Again, very much trying to progress the business and keeping busy and moving meetings, very action oriented. And then you come to realize that unless you have empty space in the schedule, it’s actually quite difficult to reflect on what you’re doing and changing direction.
And we adjusted right. The past few years maybe five plus years, I’ve actually taken an approach of keeping empty space in my schedule. And it’s completely transformed. My ability to rethink the ongoing activities, the business opportunities. And so that’s been a very difficult one for me to unlearn.
I thought busy-ness was really the main driver behind the success.
Duff Watkins: [00:03:56] Hmm. Thinking takes time and space as you, as you put it. Very good. Very good. Well, let us get stuck and proceed into the 10 lessons. It took you 50 years to learn. Number one never put your financial and reputational interests ahead of your employer’s financial and reputational interest. Tell me more.
Guillaume Lucci: [00:04:14] Yeah, Cindy is a very important one for me. I think it goes to the core of the concept of integrity. At the end of the day, an employer employee relationship is, is a contract we’re entering into. The consequences of that contract are for each party respectively to, to live with. So, the way I see it as very simply, there will be times where a personal benefits or value or image or personal marketability will be challenged simply because interests of the, the, the employer takes over that objective.
And one must do the right thing. The right thing is to, to attend primarily. To the interest of our employers, both commercially and additionally. So that’s the point.
Duff Watkins: [00:04:57] And so, okay. Let me make sure I understand that though. I think that could be easily miss misunderstood. So, if the, I mean, the reality is they’re paying you, they’re paying you to do a job so therefore their, their wishes have a certain priority in your life is what if there was a conflict between your personal values and their personal values or professional path?
Guillaume Lucci: [00:05:19] That indeed that happens. But the, the right thing to do at that point is just essentially an employment. And nobody’s forcing anyone to do anything. Employment is at will, but once one is engaged, representing our organization, one can walk away and express his opinion and walk away, but, but not fulfilling the interests of the employer and its primary objectives.
That’s not an option. That’s not the, the core underlying value or agreement that you enter into when you sign an employment contract.
Duff Watkins: [00:05:45] In which I like to remind people, it’s all voluntary. You don’t have to be there if you don’t want to. Or if you, if you feel you can’t lesson number two, leave the money, take the opportunity.
Guillaume Lucci: [00:05:55] Yeah. So that one, I think early, early in my career, I came to realize that, and I was very fortunate having phenomenal mentors early, that that knowledge is, is actually the key to all this and, and. A strong basis is, is far more important than making a nice living after, after graduating college.
Right. So, leave them on your side, focus on your opportunity, orcas on the mentorship and build that foundation. Well, and then the rest of the knowledge will build around that. The stronger the foundation, the brother. The perspective and spectrum of knowledge acquired over the years on
Duff Watkins: [00:06:29] that foundation.
And if I, in the notes that you send me, it’s not the simple repetition of knowledge or the simple accumulation, because knowledge can stagnate. I mean, a lot of the things we learned stagnates and becomes diluted over time, but it’s, it’s more w the way you described it sounded to me like compounding interest.
It’s not simple accretion, but not simply arithmetic plus plus plus, but it’s. Constructing a compounding interest, almost like a synergistic usage of knowledge.
Guillaume Lucci: [00:06:58] Yeah. That’s a good way to put it the way, the way I see it, frankly, it’s, I mean, life is continuous learning and ways, right. But continuous learning evolves as we accumulate those foundations early on.
It’s much easier to build. So yes, it’s continuous learning. It’s compounding and you must focus on the right opportunities unless you’re exposed to the right opportunity, the right mentors. Then it’s very difficult to be, to be acquiring knowledge in the right environment. Mm Hmm.
Duff Watkins: [00:07:22] There’s been a lot of work done by that by a famous psychology he talks about, you have to be in the right domain, the right place in order to acquire a certain knowledge, certain skills.
I won’t belabor that point list. Number three get ready to fail. I’ve been preparing this my whole life.
Guillaume Lucci: [00:07:41] it’s inevitable. Isn’t it? And I see that more and more with maybe the newer generation even more so. And I’m sure the previous generation perceived us the same way, but we leave more and more an environment where we’re failing.
We stumble. Nobody wants to fail yet. Then the only real opportunity to learn is in the context of failure, it was likely Mondex Dahlia. So, it’s overcoming the emotional hardness that goes with that. And building on that then and try not to repeat the failure. As long as you fail, once everything is okay.
Duff Watkins: [00:08:10] That reminds me. I used to have this friend of mine. He was a world professional karate champion and the super lightweight division. And I know I was very impressed. The trophy that he won was taller than, than you want it in the Philippines, by the way was taller than he was. And we were talking about this and, and, and his professional career and he said something to me that sounds about right.
He said, Oh, man, you lose eight times more than you win. So that ratio sounds pretty right to me. So, yeah. And as you just said, fail, you provide you with the best, perhaps the only really laboratory you have in order to learn some stuff. I’ll be at perhaps the hard way. Point number four, you lead by listening.
Guillaume Lucci: [00:08:52] Yeah. So, I I’ve very much. Made tremendous efforts to, to build teams that give you very different perspective. Give me a different perspective. And I see, I see me being, making decisions as more as I’m crystallizing an image and each one of your team members in a way as some pixels with that image, right thinking, and you’re the one talking most of the time or only addressing one person and vice versa.
It’s, it’s, it’s pretty much impossible to make a real profound transform rational decision. So, the idea here is listen to as much as you can change perspective, make sure you put yourself in an environment where you’ll be challenged and everybody will contribute the right amount of pixels, adventure.
That image will become very clear and the decision we can make that’s much more powerful when achieve by listening and speaking.
Duff Watkins: [00:09:44] Yeah. It’s the changing of the perspective. I think I’m going a lot of people. Listen or think they listen or maybe even try to listen, but the actual changing of the perspective and viewing it from another that’s what seems to be rewarding or it enlightening to somebody, or as you said, you know, don’t, don’t think that your way is the only right way.
Lesson number five. Promote yourself at work.
Guillaume Lucci: [00:10:08] Yeah, a bit of an unglamorous one, frankly, but yet an important one. We’re all very busy, particularly in the early stages of our career, trying to achieve trying to be productive, trying to meet the rock. And I think often promoting oneself is forgotten, particularly in large organizations.
Everybody’s busy unless you put forward your achievements and I’m not. And also, Jesse that that’s done overly aggressively, there is a right way to do it, but unless that’s communicated, it’s more about communicating the achievements that we promote say and this is communicating internally up and down as well as externally.
It’s very difficult to market oneself to us to achieve the career objectives. One has himself or herself.
Duff Watkins: [00:10:45] You have to let others know about what you have accomplished because otherwise, I mean, as you say, they’re consumed doing what they’re doing. They’re not always watching what you achieve. Now, let me ask you about this.
So, I see a lot of people who promote themselves in organizations, but they don’t have much to promote, you know, it’s, I mean, basically it ends up being bullshit. And I mean, we see this in politics. We see this all around the world. What’s a, what’s a young person to do. You know what I mean? They’re wondering T you know, how what’s the right way to promote myself within this large company in which I work.
Guillaume Lucci: [00:11:14] Very difficult because every circumstance is different. Promoting is not bragging, right? Actually, nobody wants people that are overconfident promoting is simply communicating the achievements that your organization has. Action. First and foremost, the many organizations that fight the concept of using I in a sentence.
So that’s, to me, the starting point we have again driving the success of your organizations forward. Eventually if you’re the one discussing them and putting them forward. Well, the timing becomes pretty clear that you are at the source of all of these successes, right? So, there’s a very thin line there that that one doesn’t want to cross, but unless it’s communicated effectively in the interest of your organization, then then one remains in the shadows, particularly in larger organizations.
We’re talking about large multinationals, very, very difficult by many, many layers to break through those layers communications with paramount.
Duff Watkins: [00:12:06] Well for a start with some achievements that you have to in order to promote. But as I like to say in business, it’s we not, I, you get tired of hearing that point.
Number six, my personal favourite. It’s not about social media. It’s about social skills.
Guillaume Lucci: [00:12:21] Well, yes, that one you, we all want to think the hard way, particularly coming from technical fields, you graduate thinking that you have the right tools to Yeah, with the professional world in reality, the most important tool is one.
They don’t teach you social skills and managing people. It’s, it’s all about the people. So, the first lesson there is hire the best possible talent. One can hire and afford for the organization, make them as successful as possible for them forward and become very, very good at managing them and an illusion to value.
Each individual can, can bring to the organization. Right. So, it’s all about the people, not about social media and, and IE, many ways of superficial human interaction and social media grants. It’s actually about true grassroot, personal relationship with the management and the staff around you as well.
Duff Watkins: [00:13:10] Let me just repeat that, hire the right people, and then you make them successful. You are the manager.
Guillaume Lucci: [00:13:17] The job is the manager is to make them as successful as possible. And hopefully. I know people are much brighter than you and make sure they’re very successful.
Duff Watkins: [00:13:25] A lot of managers who don’t know that yet about making their staff, making their people successful.
That yeah. That’s why I wanted to emphasize that that is crucially important, but you know, you know, you can be thinking in my previous cure career when I was a group psychotherapist, I mean, not once in my whole education, has there ever been a, I never had a course, a class, anybody teach me on how to function within a group.
Within a team within a, you know, maybe sports, but I, you know, a bet, I bet you haven’t had any teaching on how to function in a group. And you think about how many groups you are and your work career. And that’s a pretty useful skill tapping into the balance of developing one social skills and working with people.
Guillaume Lucci: [00:14:05] Yeah, absolutely. Dealing with groups is what we do day in, day out in or outside of the office. I will even say that this very sad pandemic that we’re going through has made that aspect even more important, even more difficult. Because now we even lose some of the elements that drive social interaction within the group.
We don’t even have physical contact. The camera reading people, behaviour is even more difficult to data in use. So, you call that choir, those skills relatively faster with human interaction, physical interaction. Now with a camera and a distance it takes even a more educated manager to initial that value and make groups.
Really functioning, productive. So, I think more and more than ever, these are fundamental skills and I’m looking forward to higher education institutions driving that as one of the programs that they could subsequent department.
Duff Watkins: [00:14:54] Mm. Hmm. Well, I cannot help, but agree. Point number seven, you only have your knowledge and your reputation, and you can only lose one.
Guillaume Lucci: [00:15:03] Yes. Reputation is the key. And that was reflecting on this a bit when the reputation is the brand of oneself. Reputation is white. People want to work with you whether it’s an employee that’s seeking an opportunity or a partner wanting to collaborate or a client that wants to be associated with an organization.
Repetition is the key. Unfortunately, often I think reputation is labelled under, under good reputation. And I think reflecting on this a little bit to take a little bit deeper, it’s not about a particular set or brand that you want. All have very different reputations and all valuable in their own environment.
Some people have a reputation of being, working, others really tough businessman or others being very transparent, and handshake driven. Everybody. Everybody has a little bit of, of, of, of an element that ties their professional image and reputation. And I think be true to that and be true to who you are and maintain it because that’s what will make people gravitate towards you.
That they’re looking for that. Aspect, you know, business relationship. So that’s X decades to build and only a very few mistakes. To evaporate. So, managing very cautiously.
Duff Watkins: [00:16:14] One of our previous guests on the show, Gary Brown wrote a whole book about your personal reputation. He is a brand expert and he said, it makes the point whether you want to, or not, whether you like it or not, whether you’re aware of it or not, you have a reputation and you need to be aware of it.
And as you’re saying, it takes decades to develop a good one and it’s, it’s worth developing.
Guillaume Lucci: [00:16:35] It’s even more complex. I will say from the perspective that a lot of people are perceiving the reputation through their own eyes. Reality, what truly matters from a reputational perspective. It’s not what you think about yourself.
It’s how other people perceive you to be. So that’s what takes a long time to develop because you have to read the signs outside how the people perceiving you in the industry and then essentially adapting your actions to achieve. To she got rid of additional brand that, that suits you. That’s true to you.
And by reading those external signs,
Duff Watkins: [00:17:07] I’ve said it a million times. I want to say it one more time. If you don’t pay some attention to the way that you’re being perceived by other people do not be surprised if those people are unable to support, you in your career endeavours. Cause they don’t, they just don’t have the information.
Very true. Lesson number eight, perfect. Is a poor target.
Guillaume Lucci: [00:17:26] It is so very important targets. And I think that’s true in many, many arenas, including sports. Now of course there are arenas where it’s paramount. Right. The pharmaceuticals the space industry. It’s got to be perfect before you send us out the light space.
I think we’re going to agree to that the vaccine, but for the vast majority of the business world perfection typically gets to drain resources, drain human attention. And the only thing you got to do is you got to be better than the other guy. It’s as simple as that true in sports. As I said earlier any sports you play, the perfect shot is great.
But as long as your short is better than the other guy you win, and business is no different. Right? So, there’s a point where a product, a service, whatever, whatever industry one is in riches or level of perfection, that’s adequate for its commercialization. Anything beyond that and it’s 20 warranted is really a train on resources and value.
Duff Watkins: [00:18:19] Mm. And so therefore that perfectionism is really a dangerous, deceptive goal because, well, as you’re saying, it consumes a lot of resources that you don’t have. Tell me, tell me if you agree with this. I mean, I learned this decades ago and in fact, the guy who said it or read it in a book back in the Mac in the eighties, he’s, he’s also a guest on this podcast.
He said, be satisfied if people do 80% of what you require. And I often say in business, if you have 80% of the information to make a decision, that’s good. That’s enough. And you’re lucky to have the 80% does that sound about right to you?
Guillaume Lucci: [00:18:55] Completely it’s absolutely accurate. 80% is a good day. Most of the decisions you make are with less than that, but this has got to move forward.
So, you make decisions what you have, if you can have 80%, it’s time to. To move forward, but we do see many organizations pushing that envelope, wanting to achieve that abstract 1995, 99% accuracy or perfectionism. And typically, those are the organizations we label as slow. Right. Bureaucratic. And, and that in the world of business, particularly in today’s world, agility speed experimental does the right amount of information is just sufficient.
Perfection is, is not, is not an entity itself.
Duff Watkins: [00:19:35] You have a Juul here that I want to share with the audience, because I think one, I think it’s funny too. I think it’s true. Even if you don’t know what to do, even if you don’t know what you want to do, at least try at least start. And by the time you figure out what the hell you’re doing, you’re halfway there anyways.
So, you know, you’re pretty much,
Guillaume Lucci: [00:19:55] I have a mentor who always told me this very early in my career. Oh, we don’t know what to do next. And he used to say all the time. Just pick something, start by the time we figure it out next week, it will be pretty much done. You’ll see. Right? Every night, just,
Duff Watkins: [00:20:08] this has become my new concrete law of management lesson number nine, if it’s earned it’s sustainable.
Guillaume Lucci: [00:20:16] Yes. I think it goes back to a point you were making earlier about how actually we we’re talking about promoting internally and communicating internally substance rather than. Then non substantial achievements, I think qualified efficiently. There’s more shit. Yeah. So, I think that’s the point I’m trying to make here.
Things have to be earned. They have to be developed by an individual. They have to be achieved genuinely by someone. And once you achieve something that’s productive for an organization can be, anything can be, can be internal, external. He doesn’t have to be something that generates revenue. I mean, really transformational and you cannot change and be marketing a product.
We can be achieving a new level of brand quality. But when you achieve something and you’re earned it, then it’s forever, it’s yours and nobody can take it away from you. And that’s another element of building one’s image. Once brand things have to be earned never, ever take credit for someone else’s work for that matter.
You should always fall on the other extreme and sure that you credit others for a lot of what’s being done because they deserve the credit, particularly impedance, but. Only promote yourself and advertise what you have achieved, and that achievement will become sustainable. I accredited through your career because it’s yours
Duff Watkins: [00:21:31] and no one can take that away from you.
Right. We’ll conclude with the 10th point. And I think this is crucially important in a way I’ve, we’ve saved the best for last it’s a lonely road.
Guillaume Lucci: [00:21:43] very much. So, I think most people are not prepared for that. I think nobody’s prepared for that. The higher, the success, the lonelier, it gets one finds himself surrounded by multiple people that want to.
Crawford or take advantage. One gets around a lot of people that want to attack the core of the business, the image, the brand for various reasons. So, it’s a very lonely road and he takes a very special individual to, as I think there’s so many stereotypes expressions that having thick skin and others at the end of the day, one needs to be able to resist that environment and other comparable units because it’s, it’s a long road and it’s very, very lonely.
Duff Watkins: [00:22:24] It’s a, it’s a cliche, but it’s true. It’s lonely at the top of what you’re saying. And what I think is accurate. The road itself to the top is lonely and lonely in the sense that you, you are what makes it aligned well, you’re required to make some difficult decisions, some far reaching decisions, and you are required to make the decision.
And if I’m, if I’m hearing you correctly, the way to do that is to cultivate. These are my words, not yours, a sort of a Zen like detachment, a certain sort of high-level objectivity where you can see farther than some of the others. And this, as you say, in the first sending, you said a lot of young people don’t understand that, you know, it’s just it’s beyond them, perhaps.
They’re still thinking a little too emotional.
Guillaume Lucci: [00:23:09] True. And then I think, I think that’s absolutely right. Who many decisions are made around the emotional environment they’re in and they want positive emotion emotions constantly? You’re not surrounded by positive emotions to a career. The road, the road is very, very lonely, but look, it’s like everything else in do are easy.
Everybody will do it. And it’s something you never be prepared for. You just got to deal with it as best as you can, as you go through that, that path and hopefully achieve whatever objectives, one selves, et cetera, or for him or her after their career.
Duff Watkins: [00:23:38] Yeah, leadership is experiential. I mean, you experience a lot of the difficulties on the road as one of your mentors for saying, and then that’s how you get there, I suppose, by working through those experiences without a doubt.
Yes. Well, that’s our tin, but I’m going to conclude with a bone here’s, here’s a lesson that I learned from you. You may not remember this. But we were we were sitting in Brisbane somewhere and I think at the time there was a professional sports team in the U S that did not want to go to the white house.
They won a championship; they were invited to the white house to meet the president. They did not want to go to the white house. They did not want to meet the president because they did not like the president. And you said, Man, if you only shake hands with people, you like, you’ll be living in a small world.
And I remember that that’s a great piece of wisdom because in business, on the road of life, you meet a lot of people you might not really care for, but still, you know, it’s okay to shake their hand and be civil.
Guillaume Lucci: [00:24:30] Absolutely civility is, is, is the basis of our society, right? So, you have to be civil, and you have to be professional and, and your emotional attachment to the person or not, frankly, It’s secondary.
Ideally you only shake hands with people you love and like, but unfortunately, it’s not always like that, but it’s just part of the job.
Duff Watkins: [00:24:50] Any parting words of wisdom to our audience before we conclude,
Guillaume Lucci: [00:24:54] I think everyone has their own path. And I think this podcast is fantastic on the perspective that we hopefully will inspire a couple key points and thoughts and lessons learned.
But at the end of the day, every career is. Fundamentally unique. So, the best we can do is make this available and encourage every young person who their career to do the best they can. And go back to fundamentals, which will be themselves. And things typically work out for the right people.
Duff Watkins: [00:25:22] And we’ll finish on that note. You are listening to the international podcast, 10 Lessons it Took Me 50 Years to Learn. This episode is produced by Robert Hossary rate and is sponsored by P D F professional development forum. PDF provides webinars, social media discussions, podcast, parties, anything you want, everything you need.
They do it all free too. It’s all online http://professionaldevelopmentforum.org/. Thank you for listening. And please tune into the next episode of 10 Lessons it Took Me 50 Years to Learn.