Create your own opportunities.
Julio Marquez Specia, General Director of Top Management, with over 26 years of experience in talent management and executive recruitment, interviews Raul Sanchez, General Director of Fisher & Paykel Healthcare. Raul shares with us how he has managed to apply his life philosophy and thus a very particular leadership style, within the maquiladora sector. A sector that could logically be foreign to his Civil Engineer profession, and in which he has found his calling.
RS: Far from what I’ve done, I believe that when you see an opportunity you have to take it without thinking twice. If you think it’s an opportunity, do it without knowing. Learn on the go, it is terrible to stick to one thing: “I’m a civil engineer and I must only build”… you fit yourself into molds that won’t let you go beyond them.
I began from scratch. The first step I took I did only out of need to secure my family’s future. During the early 80’s, I worked at a Bank and Tijuana had severe inflation and shortage issues. Since I worked at the Bank, I was offered a job because the new company required banking services, sometime later I moved to the Accounting Department.
Later on, I was offered a position in a Shelter, where they needed someone in the Finance area. This is how I got my start in the maquiladora industry. I had to learn about banking, insurance and customs, among other things.
I worked at other companies; one of them needed someone who “could do everything” and hired me.
I had no knowledge of cost accounting, which is very important in manufacturing. However, in civil engineering they teach you how to do unit costs to determine construction costs. The concept is the same and the procedure is very similar, but applied to a manufactured product, and once again, you learn as you go. I worked many years for this company, but always with the itch to do something else.
Later, the need for a Plant Manager that was more administrative rather than technical arose, to implement a new corporate culture; and since I had expressed my desire to do something else, they appointed me and that is how I started my process as Plant Manager.
The common denominator of everything I am sharing with you is to go for it…, don’t be afraid to learn and ask. You do have to be very honest with who hires you and say: “I’m in, but I don’t know how to do this, however, “Im willing to learn”, what is not fair is to say that you know how to do things when you don’t, you are only hurting yourself.
Humans may find their fulfillment at work if they see it as a challenge. I am convinced that work dignifies and sanctifies.
Our work reflects who we are. It reflects the best of me, and that is why I do it and I do it right. Not just because I’m being paid, or they demand it from me, I do it for me and no one else. Payment is important, but the main motivation is to do it for myself. In that case, there are no bad companies nor bad jobs.
There are companies in which you don’t fit in for many reasons. In those cases, you leave, and that’s that. You are the slave of no one, you’re not obligated to stay. One time, I left a company because their ideas and principles were not compatible to mine, and since I wasn’t going to change their minds and I didn’t want to be like them, I went to another company. Even though they payed me 20% less, I did it for my dignity and mental health.
Don’t do anything or stop doing something for fear of being fired, because you then become a slave. It is okay to be different, but do it well. It’s easy to be different when most people go aimlessly through life. I like people who question you and ask questions, because they are constantly thinking on how to improve, how to learn.
My personal view on life, is that all of this is a learning process and that we have a body because learning is not just a mental process, it requires all of our senses. Someone said once that angels envy us because we can feel, and they can’t. We go through this process and we take a physical form as part of the learning process.
RS: I would tell them not to worry about achieving the next position, I would tell them to do their job right, let your work speak for you. I would also tell them, go for things that are outside your area of specialty, for example, if you are in the quality department and they need someone to help in the warehouse department, raise your hand, go for it, because the more you know from the different areas it will be more easy to move forward.
Don’t be afraid of something unknown, because most bosses will help you if you tell them: “I want to learn this”, and I’m sure they will help you. I would tell those who are starting to take on a task and don’t know it, learn it, get help and be humble enough to say: “I don’t know how to do that but, what do I need to learn in order to obtain that position?”. Ask for itand do it. That must be supported by your work, with your ethics, be punctual, keep your word. Be your word. Your word is the substance that will help you grow in your professional career.
Business Development Manager.
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