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Cultural traits and energy

Rafael Herzberg's picture
Consultant energy affairs, Self employed

Rafael Herzberg- is an independent energy consultant, self-employed (since 2018) based in São Paulo, Brazil* Focus on C level, VPs and upper managers associated to energy related info, analysis...

  • Member since 2003
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  • Oct 24, 2020

Cultural traits and energy

In these pandemic times, webinars have invaded our networks. .In the energy area I have been attending Brazilian and American webinars. The differences are striking:

1) Punctuality

In Brazil it is common to start with a 5 or 10 minute delay "to wait for everyone"

2) Agenda

Americans clearly define what will be covered

3) Approach

The Brazilians love to go for a retrospect and above all, indicate how each webinar "speaker" acted in a "brilliant" way

4) Delivery

Americans point to "what the challenges are and how to face them"

5) Vision of opportunity

Brazilians consider the country "with a great future". A "fluffy" statement!.

Rao Konidena's picture
Rao Konidena on Oct 24, 2020

Part of your observations is cultural, right? And that's your main point.

To get more out of your observations, since you work with C-level executives - what works in the Brazilian energy ecosystem that may or may not work in the US context?

I am thinking, as you point out in webinars, even in requesting meetings to "catch up" - there should be a goal or purpose of the meeting on the US side.

Does that hold true on the Brazilian side, based on your experiences? Please give us an example so that it can stick with us. Thanks!

Rafael Herzberg's picture
Rafael Herzberg on Oct 24, 2020

Hi Rao! Great questions!

I am led to believe that it is about decision making processes.

Two emblematic examples from real life situations as an energy consultant.

The VP of a big American company with 8 plants spread out in Brazil said in the fvery first day: you were hired to identify and come up with alternatives to reduce our energy costs in Brazil). So I visited the plants, interviewed thier operations managers, got energy related info, talked to the local utility company and then crafted solutions that were presented a couple of month later.

This VP then organized a conf video call with Headquarters (US) so that these solutions were shared with all prties that were involved in the process. 

Then a decision was made.

A  Brazilian company through its maintenance manager asked we to help him about potential solutions. My diagnosis was very simple. The best bet would be using the existing emergency genset to displace the local utility company during the on-peak hours. The cost difference (savings to the client) were very hefty!

So this guy and I worked together. He wanted to make sure that all details were covered before preseting the caseto the VP. Then, half a year later, he was happy with what he gathered and asked me to go with him to the meeting with the VP. 

It was the quicked meeting in my life. Just a few minutes. The VP quickly told this manager: this project is not relevant for us. 

My point - with the articled I posted - is:it is very important to align perceptions and motivation before we start. 

Bottom line: having a clear understanding about the decision making process is vital for prperly allocating your time and energy! 

The developed countries are more focused. Emerging ones as Brazil, are far behind. It is about our cultural trait. It is about the value we give to "our time". My ssessment: Brazilians don't give the propoer value for "time". Wasting it is not - therefore - a problem!


Dr. Amal Khashab's picture
Dr. Amal Khashab on Oct 25, 2020

I believe that  making decisions process is a maturity reflective one, regardless the origin.

Rafael Herzberg's picture
Thank Rafael for the Post!
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