A global leader and strategist, Marco Saitta’s journey is quite exciting and inspirational. He is a Strategy and Transformation Executive, passionate about offering operational excellence and transformation, all while enhancing governance through proper communication with stakeholders. In this interview, Marco talks about his journey as he delves deep into his major career transitions, promoting a culture of innovation, essential lessons he embraced over the years, and his commitment to lead changes from within.
Marco Saitta emphasizes the role of empathy, rigor, and tenacity in positively reshaping an organization’s future. He has observed and developed an understanding that people-centered approaches play a crucial role in the growth and success of any organization and followers alike. His insights and take on the manufacturing industry, while staying grounded and humble, inspire many young professionals in the industry.
A Glance At The Major Moments
We started the interview by asking, “Can you walk us through the pivotal moments in your career leading up to your current role as a strategy and transformation executive?”
Marco Saitta shared, “My career has been an evolution driven by curiosity and a passion for pioneering change in companies. From my initial roles optimizing manufacturing operations to spearheading enterprise-wide transformations, each experience expanded my perspectives and equipped me with new capabilities. Besides, thanks to my mixed heritage, I have gained a profound understanding of multiculturalism and how to bridge the prevalent gaps. Also, it aids me in building better collaborations, even amidst the odds.
Throughout my career, I’ve been motivated by bringing people together and coordinating across complex systems to drive progress. One of such pivotal moments was leading the development of a 5-year transformation project for a steel manufacturer across all key Business Processes. This project was the one that helped me understand my passion and work that aligned with the same, creating transformative impact.”
We were curious to learn what attracted Marco to the field he is currently associated with. We asked, “What led you to specialize in strategy and transformation, particularly within manufacturing companies?”
Marco Saitta shared, “Early in my career, as a young graduate mechanical engineer, I was drawn to solving complex operational problems on the frontlines of manufacturing. However, I soon realized that innovation in the entire system would be the real game changer, leading to a spark of interest within to bring an enterprise-wide transformation.
I was especially compelled by the challenge of evolving stalwart manufacturing companies into agile, people-centric organizations. While these businesses didn’t lack in-depth technical expertise, they often needed a catalyst to spark cultural change and unlock potential.”
“Rather than imposing top-down strategic plans, I could make a unique impact by spearheading transformation from within. I immersed myself on the shop floor, engaging frontline teams to identify improvement opportunities.
With the perfect blend of data-driven analysis and inclusive leadership, I brought people together to build solutions. This further ignited my passion for pioneering transformations that draw out innate innovation and care within teams. My sweet spot emerged in bridging the technical and cultural – enabling manufacturing companies to advance and fulfill their purpose. I saw that combining empathy, rigor, and tenacity could reshape organizations to thrive in the future. This was my calling for driving much-needed people-centric transitions in manufacturing.” added Marco Saitta.
Promoting Innovative Approaches
To learn more about how Marco fosters an innovation environment among his team, we asked, “How do you promote a culture of innovation on your teams? Can you share a success story?”
“Innovation thrives when people feel empowered to think freely and take intelligent risks. As a leader, I foster this with an environment of psychological safety, collaboration, and a growth mindset. Apart from this, I make sure to encourage them to challenge assumptions and experiment without the fear of failure. I also provide frameworks encouraging creative imagination, but giving them the freedom to shape solutions is crucial. We ensure maintaining transparency through open forums for sharing ideas across hierarchies and functions.
Besides, balancing creativity with accountability and execution is paramount for an innovative environment. Our most successful innovations couple cutting-edge strategies with clear ownership and disciplined follow-through. I instill this by having team members volunteer for initiatives they feel motivated to drive results. By encouraging teams to think big but start small and pairing their creativity with accountability, we can embed innovation in everything we do. This culture shift unlocked game-changing sustainability progress and reinvigorated our people.” replied Marco Saitta.
Assembling The Right Talent
Having the right talent is crucial for a team’s success. So we asked, “How do you identify and develop high-potential talent to drive your transformation initiatives?”
“When assembling transformation teams, I primarily look for curious and adaptable learners because innate traits like intellectual flexibility and tenacity are harder to instill. I support their growth with coaching and stretch assignments outside their comfort zone. But more importantly, I nurture engagement by connecting their work to a higher purpose.
Our transformation initiatives aim to catalyze a positive impact for the entire community rather than just cutting costs, as meaningful outcomes motivate people to bring their best daily. To sustain energy, I prioritize celebration and storytelling. We consistently recognize completed milestones and amplify success stories company-wide. This reinforces team accomplishments and learnings.” replied Marco.
Lessons Embraced In The Journey
Professionals often share their experiences and how their lives changed with lessons from mentors in their journey. We asked, “What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from a mentor over the years?”
Marco Saitta shared, “Rather than having one singular mentor, I’ve been fortunate to learn from many talented leaders and teams I’ve worked with over the years. While gathering valuable insights, I also observed a common thread – the importance of people, culture, and mindset in bringing transformation. Though I am naturally analytical and data-driven, my most significant growth came from those who opened my eyes to the human elements of change – offering me a human-centered perspective.
When implementing a new quality system, our production chief spent hours on the floor, understanding concerns. That empathy led the team to embrace the solution as their own eventually. In another case, a senior engineer won over skeptics of a new technology by inviting them to shape the training process. Her transparency and inclusion turned resistors into advocates.
Across these experiences, the power of empowering and uplifting people before technology struck me the most. I learned to become a better listener who connects to shared goals. This people-first mindset gained my credibility to drive the needed operational changes.”
Staying Updated With The Market Shifts
“How do you adapt your strategic approach when faced with disruption like new technologies or market shifts?”
Marco Saitta shared, “I believe lifelong learning is critical to recognize disruption and constantly expand perspectives. Attending executive programs exposed me to case studies of industry evolution. This helped develop my foresight to spot the latest trends easily.
When faced with potential disruption, I take an inclusive approach to assess the impact across the business. Leveraging cross-functional teams allows us to holistically evaluate risks through strategic, financial, operational, and people lenses. A key is staying grounded in our core principles while being agile to realign vision and priorities.
For example, as a former employee, we could have pivoted radically to seem innovative when additive manufacturing emerged. However, by focusing on enhancing our existing capabilities, we adopted 3D printing judiciously, which augmented our strengths as a precision manufacturer. Ultimately, it’s about balance – blending adaptable thinking with our core competitive strengths. This allows us to respond to disruption with agility, yet build on our legacy rather than abandon it.”
Mastering The Soft Skills
We also wanted to know what Marco says to aspiring and young professionals starting a similar journey. We asked, “For young professionals aspiring to become strategists and change agents, what advice can you offer?”
Marco Saitta replied, “First, nurture an insatiable curiosity to expand your perspectives constantly. While committing to lifelong learning is critical due to fast-paced transformations, navigating broad experiences beyond your current role and company is essential with a growth mindset.
Secondly, don’t fear failure or disruption. Instead, have the courage to tactfully challenge assumptions without being abrasive. And also, try bringing a solutions orientation focused on the end goal over protecting the process.”
Marco Saitta continued, “Next, build a multifaceted toolkit and hone your soft skills, including empathy, communication, storytelling, and influence, as these are essential to driving change in complex organizations. Master collaborating across cultures, geographies, and functions. Importantly, recognize that strategy starts with people and culture and take time to focus on people-centric communication and solutions. No plan survives first contact without deep buy-in. Remember, you’re managing a change journey, not just executing a project plan.
Finally, stay grounded in purpose. While strategies must evolve, don’t stray from core principles. Change, for change’s sake, rarely succeeds. Anchor innovations in value.”
The Future Plans, we asked Marco Saitta
“Looking ahead, what are your long-term goals, and how do you plan to drive innovation in your field?”
“Looking ahead, I aim to create sustainable societal value through innovation in my field. By staying true to my ethics and humanity, I believe significant positive changes can be achieved. My long-term aspiration is to combine strategic foresight with a purpose-driven leadership approach. I intend to continuously explore emerging trends and scenarios to broaden my perspective.
At the same time, I’m committed to deepening my connections with others. While keeping an eye on the future, my goal is to foster cohesive, balanced environments where individuals feel fulfilled both professionally and personally. This journey begins with genuine care for those around me. By merging empathy with technological advancements, I hope to infuse innovation with a sense of responsibility, leading to prosperity for all involved.
Ultimately, I aspire to be acknowledged not only for competitive excellence but also as a compassionate and responsible individual in our global community. I believe in encouraging everyone to bring their full selves and creativity to the table, making a positive difference daily. By balancing profits, ethics, and human values, I aim to spearhead changes that genuinely benefit the world.” shared Marco Saitta.
Connect with Marco Saitta on LinkedIn.