Gianmaria Fulgenzi, Head of Sports Car Development for Ferrari in Italy, opens his diary to Mark Edwards, Programme Director, Executive Education at London Business School.
I get up at 5.30am to run 10-12km in the countryside. It’s how I relax from the demands of my job. Maranello is a small place in the Emilia-Romagna region. It’s really beautiful, with lots of hills, trees and flowers.
I come home, have a shower and breakfast, then take my sons to school for 8am. I live in a normal three-bedroom flat. I don’t have many luxuries, apart from a new smart TV because we like to watch movies with the children.
I met my wife when I was 16. I’m very happy, but if my kids said they had met their partner at 16, I would tell them they were crazy and had to explore the world first!
My journey to work is only five or six minutes. We have no traffic in Maranello. Sadly, although I build Ferraris, I don’t have one – yet!
At work, I first deal with emails that come in from around the word overnight. After this, I have a daily meeting with the team to deal with any issues. We then go to work. I have my own office with glass walls that face the workfloor. Around 2,000 people work here and around 100–200 report to me depending on the phase of production.
We try to all work very closely together so we can help each other as much as possible – we can hear discussions, phone calls, etc. Working together in a large box is like one continuous meeting. It gives us an opportunity to share our thoughts and act very fast. We don’t have enough time to schedule everything. We are working, as we say in Italian, navigare a vista.
We stop for lunch around 1pm, depending on the job we do. Sometimes I don’t have time for lunch. We have a beautiful canteen full of many types of Italian food. I always check the calorific content!
After lunch we normally discuss engines, chassis or interior problems. We always keep the work active and dynamic. Sometimes we meet together in a small group of four to fve people. Other times, we will need to find a solution very fast so we invite 20 to 25 people; making sure we have all the right people present.
One of the favourite parts of my job is to test the new cars we are developing. It’s fantastic to drive the prototype because you can really feel the potential of the car. You can tell everything from the first test. You have to find a new performance level – higher than the previous car. So you sometimes test the speed, the grip of the tyres, the noise – all of the performance factors that make the car the best in the world. We test the cars at the same Fiorano circuit where the Formula 1 cars are tested, which is wonderful.
I’m very proud when I see Ferrari cars in newspapers and on the TV. When my son says, “Daddy – it’s your car”, it feels fantastic. I know how many hours and struggles I put into the car so I feel it’s a little bit mine. It’s dynamic, it’s challenging, it’s target focused. I work with some of the best guys and engineers in the world who are proud to give their support to create new treasures. Ferrari is not only a fast and beautiful car, Ferrari is also a dream and we have to fight to keep the dream alive.
I generally have a light dinner alone and spend time talking with the children about their schools; about their swimming – they swim every day at school – about afternoon activities and if they’re getting on with each other. I kiss them a lot – I really love them tremendously! At 9.30 I start struggling to send my children to bed. They always ask for five minutes more!
While the children sleep, my wife and I have an hour to talk about the children or any problems and watch something on TV. I fall asleep at 10.30 at the latest. I touch the pillow and I dream. I often dream about work, so I wake up and write down my thoughts and then sleep again. Sometimes some good ideas emerge – how to solve problems, save time and improve performance.
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