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TMC Italy’s 5 year anniversary

On January 15th TMC Italy is celebrating its five year jubilee. Starting from scratch CEO Antonio Abadessa has managed to build a healthy and progressive company in a country where traditional business values are still strong. In this interview Antonio talks about the challenges and successes of his TMC journey so far.

‘Even in Italy there is now a company without a boss.’

With more than 80 Employeneurs, three offices and a strong presence in Aerospace, Defence and Industrial Automation TMC Italy has proven that the TMC model works for them. Although still a relatively small player in the national consultancy sector, their growth and margins already outshine their big name competitors.

CEO Antonio Abadessa built TMC Italy up from the ground. And although the global health crisis hit his country hard, he still looks back on the past five years with a deep sense of satisfaction.

How did you become CEO of TMC Italy?

“I knew Emmanuel Mottrie [CEO of TMC Group] from our shared past at the company Altran, where we were both members of the board of directors. When he approached me about leading TMC Italy and explained the Employeneurship model, he convinced me to become an entrepreneur myself. I had always managed other people, that’s easy. Managing myself as entrepreneur was new. At the time I was 50 years old, so you see it’s always possible to make a fresh start in life.”

What attracted you to TMC?

“I’ve worked in the consultancy sector for over twenty years, but the Employeneurship model was new. Things like transparency and giving more ownership to the people appealed to me. I had applied it a little in my own management roles in the past, but our holding forbade consultants to speak directly to the client about the contract. It was not a very transparent environment. The fact that TMC is a people driven company is fundamental and convinced me to jump into this adventure.”

Did you struggle in the beginning?

“Yes, I basically spent one year starting up the company. My mental view was still in the old-fashioned mode of consulting and it took some time to unlearn that. Then there were also cultural difficulties, since the TMC model is Northern European in its values. In Italy people are used to permanent employment and fixed contracts. When someone starts at a company, the goal is often to retire there. Also, the first Employeneurs I hired were a little suspicious about the transparency and profit sharing. You’re only showing me the good part, they said. They thought I was hiding the bad part somewhere. What changed their minds was that they saw they really had a chance to choose their own projects. Even if a position offered less profit to the company but technical growth for them, they could go for it.”

Do you feel that the Italians understand the model better now?

“Definitely. There was an article about us in the Corriere della Serra, one of the most prestigious newspapers in Italy, that said that finally even in Italy there is now a company without a boss, where everybody is a manager of themselves. That was a great advertisement for us. I also participated in the television program SKY Economia where me and some Employeneurs were interviewed in our office in Milan.”

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Want to know more?

Are there areas you feel you can still improve?

“To my shame I still don’t have a single Employeneur that is using the TEL lab to realise their own projects. Perhaps that is also a cultural problem. In Italy we don’t have the mentality to give everything for our dream. People like to spend their free time at home with their families. We try to push in every way, because to me the TEL lab is one of the most interesting pillars of the Employeneurship model. A second thing is that I’m not able to spend the entire training budget for all the Employeneurs. Our Employeneurs feel a responsibility towards the client and the result, but sometimes they forget about developing themselves and thinking about their future. I have to remind them about that.”

How has the corona pandemic affected the company?

“When the first wave hit in March, we were really afraid. Several clients stopped all their activities, especially in the automotive sector. It was a big shock for us. By using the government subsidies and adding some of our own financial reserves, we were able to pay all Employeneur salaries at 80 percent of normal level and didn’t have to fire anyone. We lost some contracts, but have also regained some. On the other hand we’ve also profited because of Covid, since it has forced people to shop from home. A lot of companies are now building automatic warehouses to dispatch their goods and we have many Employeneurs in these sectors.”

The most beautiful cars in the world are made in Italy. Are any of them clients of TMC Italy?

“Not directly, but we work for the supplier of Ferrari, Lamborghini and Aston Martin to create a new dashboard that is like the cockpit of an airplane. It’s all around you, it really looks amazing.”

Do you drive a car like that yourself?

“Not yet. Perhaps at our next five year jubilee, ha ha.”

Would you like to know more about TMC Italy or the Employeneurship model? Feel free to contact Antonio and we'll talk to you soon.

Antonio Abadessa

CEO, Italy

Tel: +39 (0)02 805 363 8

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