Ricardo Guedes de AlmeidaDirector of Fundación Universitaria Iberoamericana (FUNIBER)
Ricardo Guedes de Almeida is currently executive director and responsible for managing international teams at Fundación Universitaria Iberoamericana (FUNIBER), but has worked in several areas: operations, strategy, management, business development, business training, consulting and advisory services in management, health and education/training.
Ricardo Guedes de Almeida has a degree in Nursing, but has a background in Biological-Naturist Studies and Business Management and Administration. He considers himself "a naturally curious and proactive person".
Always ready to "explore new and diverse challenges", Ricardo Guedes de Almeida is one of the special guests at PARTTEAM & OEMKIOSKS Connecting Stories.
1. With a vast and diverse career, can you tell us a little about your journey and your professional experience?
I've done a lot, a lot of different experiences, so the question often arises: “Doesn't this cause confusion?”. And I usually smile and quickly answer: “at all!”.
I started in the area of health, a world of learning and opportunities. It made me grow a lot as a person and as a professional and to have a much broader vision of the potentialities and fragilities of the human being.
The contact with people has awakened in me, from an early age, several related passions, how to train/teach and how to empower them to be more and better.
I believe that knowledge is only useful if it is shared, otherwise it will die with us and without adding value to the world.
Throughout my career, I have always been in several projects at the same time, which have stimulated and promoted my need for constant learning and search for improvement and innovation.
The training eventually led me to teaching and teaching led me to the management of people and, later, of institutions.
Step by step, I grew, learning and maturing the opportunities that were appearing, until reaching the management in international markets.
FUNIBER has been for the last (almost) 10 years a source of incessant learning at various levels, which has allowed me to grow as a person and as a professional. Managing teams in totally distant contexts and with totally different social realities, participating in the execution and development of dynamic projects at an international level have been some of the key points in this process.
We live in a world that breathes at a crazy speed, and it is essential to have transversal skills and adapt quickly to new challenges that arise. This is what I have always tried (and try) to do, taking into account that there is a long way to go to learn, grow and improve.
2. You are a graduate in Nursing, but you are now more connected to the business and consulting area. What made you change business?
I have always been connected to social and cultural projects throughout my life, of various types and formats. But always focused on people. And this has also led me to my core training area – health. As always, I tried to know and learn more and ended up continuing my training and trying to adapt it to the gaps I was feeling or the knowledge I was looking for.
My experience in health has led me to enhance communication and management skills that have led me to other experiences and contacts. Training/teaching and management came naturally, being something I love to do and that motivates me every day.
Today I see my background as a starting point that prepared me and made me more sensitive to people management.
We can't manage institutions without taking people into account. Because without people there are no institutions.
3. The business area is a stimulating area, which requires enormous technical and creative capacity, in order to solve the countless challenges that are faced daily. What are these challenges and how do you overcome them?
Every day there are challenges to manage, because we don't live inside a "bubble", but also because each market and its people are different and equally in constant change. This constant readaptation and identification of convergent points between them need to be identified, stratified and worked on. In other words, it is essential to find points of convergence, explore competitive advantages at points of divergence and constantly manage expectations.
The challenges I feel are of various types, but I essentially highlight two: resistance to change and the need to adapt to highly dynamic contingencies.
There are no magic formulas nor adaptable to everyone. I believe, however, that there are three key words to overcome challenges – the 3P key:
It is essential to reflect correctly on the themes, work in and with our teams, listening to them and promoting correct communication, as well as making decisions based on facts.
When we work with teams that are in different countries, with different realities, different time zones, among others, there is a multiplicity of factors to be taken into account, so it is essential to keep the 360º vision of everyone, trying to ensure that the communication is effective and adapted to the context.
4. Although you operate in diverse economies (operations, strategy, management, business development, business training, consulting and advice in management, health and education/training), you are mostly specialized in health. What relationship can be established between health and these areas of intervention?
Health focuses on the human being – the basis of all institutions and operations. And it was this health base that led me to seek and promote other skills and knowledge, such as management.
To manage, it is necessary to understand the biopsycho-sociocultural phenomenon that involves people. I often use the expression that before we are professionals, we are people.
It was this multi-factorial and 360º understanding that gave me an integrated and broadened thought, which every day adds value to each act.
5. What aspects, more specifically political, cultural or other, do you consider most relevant for the success/insuccess of the internationalization of portuguese companies in the European and African markets (taking into account that these have been your focus)?
Each market is different. The complexity of socio-cultural realities requires a deep knowledge of each one of them. Portugal is a small country in terms of size, but with significant cultural differences, with, for example, only 300 kms of distance between two points.
If this happens in such a small country, we easily extrapolate to even more different contexts when we talk about such different markets and cultures.
I believe that the success of internationalization will depend largely on how companies are able to establish themselves and know reality and how they integrate people with this knowledge into their staff.
The collaborative way of working will also be central. Today there are several institutions that have extensive experience in these matters and can be of enormous help. I always remember an expression I heard at a conference (which makes perfect sense to me): “many businesses fail because they don't ask those who know the reality for help”. Collaborating is fundamental for growth.
6. Building better relationships with the people around us can be a very productive goal within organizations, in order to leverage the potential of a team. As director of Fundación Universitaria Iberoamericana (FUNIBER), what are the best ways to achieve this goal?
First, it is necessary to be close to people, understand them and listen to them. Dale Carnegie, in 1936, already drew attention to this fact. Our focus must always be on people, inside and outside organizations.
We all have in us a potential and capacity for evolution. It is up to the manager to observe and give conditions for the potential to manifest itself, and to move from the intention to change to effective change.
Many studies show that satisfied employees are more productive and loyal. It is up to us to create the conditions for this.
7. As founder and CEO of Triple Knowledge – an organization of business advisory and consulting –, how do you see entrepreneurship today?
It is fundamental. We live in a highly dynamic market and, as such, there is no other way but to be in constant process of innovation and start new projects and dynamics.
Today, the management isn't the same as it was 20 years ago. In 10 years, it will not be the same as it is now. Companies have to understand this process, contradict the resistance to change and promote innovation to flourish and grow.
8. And in Portugal? Do you consider entrepreneurship beneficial to society and to the economy?
Yes, undoubtedly. I firmly believe that Portugal is a country rich in top professionals and potential in many areas. We have proved this over hundreds of years and we continue to make a difference worldwide. If we have the raw material, we must create the conditions to promote these processes. We can only gain from this if (and when) they exist in a sustainable way, promoting the generation of value.
9. As an entrepreneur, and as PARTTEAM & OEMKIOSKS is a leader in the development and export of digital billboards and multimedia kiosks to the international market, what relevance, in your opinion, does digital have in a company's strategy and internationalization?
The digital is absolutely unavoidable. We cannot escape this reality and we have to prepare people and organizations to be vanguards in this process. It is fundamental to invest in this reality, in a coherent and organized way, but also in digital literacy and what it involves. There is still a lot of illiteracy in this area, but it is an issue that is being addressed and that is on the agenda of several market players. I can say at first hand that it is one of my areas of interest and that I have a project in the oven with Inês Coelho (current Head of Digital CTT) to enhance the acquisition of skills in this area.
Digital is part of our reality and we must use it in favor of organizations, so they can be prepared for the future and to generate value by working on it.
Connecting Stories is a new editorial space led by PARTTEAM & OEMKIOSKS which consists of conducting exclusive interviews, directed at influential personalities who work in different sectors of activity.
The project, conceived by PARTTEAM & OEMKIOSKS, includes the publication of success stories, through small interviews with influencers who want to share details about their projects, opinions, plans for the future, among other subjects.
The idea is to connect stories, share knowledge, develop networking and generate content that can provide new visions, opportunities and ideas.
Founded in 2000, PARTTEAM & OEMKIOSKS is a world renowned Portuguese IT company, manufacturer of indoor and outdoor multimedia kiosks, self-service equipment, digital billboards, interactive tables and other digital solutions, for all types of sectors and industries. To know more about our story, click here.