Introducing Cédric Jolivet, IT Manager at ENGIE IT
“I like being out of my comfort zone –it brings out the best in me.” Discover the daily challenges faced by Cédric Jolivet, a project manager within teams dedicated to information technology for ENGIE.
There is no humdrum in his day to day
Cédric Jolivet is not a "routine" kind of guy. In fact, this 35-year-old French-Swiss national actively seeks out change, discovery and adrenaline. Cédric likes to keep moving!
"I like to look for answers, not to rest on my laurels. I am always thinking about what I can do differently.”
Cédric is in charge of incident management and IS supervision teams. He loves his job because no two days are alike. Routine is almost non-existent. Every day, there are different topics to address, and different decisions to be made. And that's what he likes: working with his 22 employees on solving problems, pushing the boundaries, and continuously improving the system.
Cédric's career path reflects the man himself: out of the ordinary. After studying engineering between the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and Telecom Paris Tech, he began his career in finance and joined an investment fund in London: "For me finance held a certain mystique, it intrigued me, and I wanted to unravel the mystery. I imagined the profession as being very procedure-driven, but was surprised to discover that everyone had their own methods".
Once finance had revealed its secrets, Cédric needed to explore new horizons. "As an engineer, you want to create, to make real, practical things." This is what brought him to ENGIE in Paris, to work as an IT project manager: "Project management was my most formative experience. The interaction with customers, experts, architects, software publishers and outsourcers was very rewarding." Cédric quickly came to supervise a team of eight project managers. He is passionate about management, and finds it both rewarding and motivating: "When an employee thanks you and says that you have taught them something, it's extremely satisfying. It is also a challenge: getting feedback from teams makes you very aware of your responsibilities, you have to behave in an exemplary - even impeccable - way.”
Going against the grain
Generally, careers progress from operational roles to project management. Cédric has done the reverse. "I am convinced that if we want to bring added value to our organisation, it is crucial that we ascertain the strengths and weaknesses of the entire operational chain. That's why I needed to get closer to the teams working on the ground.”
Since 2012, he has been managing technical teams. He particularly likes being surrounded by colleagues who are full of positive energy, as well as being a leader: "You have to be fair and consistent. When managing a project, you can change direction if the situation requires. When managing a team, however, you have to set a course and stick to it like a skipper. The entire crew needs to be on board, and be convinced that this is the best direction". According to Cédric, in order to do his job, knowing how to explain, to provide meaning and purpose, and to motivate people, are all essential qualities.
Always looking for a challenge
True to himself, Cédric always seeks to go further and to create even more value for the customer. "I like being outside my comfort zone, that's where I find the best of myself. When I have found a certain stability, I get bored. I like to feel challenged, and a bit out of my depth." He has this same need to excel outside his working hours. He is a keen runner and has begun training for the Paris Marathon. This need for a challenge applies to all aspects of his life, including his musical taste: "When you listen to classical or electro music for the first time, it seems strange. I wanted to understand that mystery too. You have to sit, listen, take the time... and suddenly the mind escapes, and you discover that the music is actually a journey. It is a kind of meditation." When he travels too, Cédric is all about the long-haul getaway: "My wife and I have been lucky enough to travel to Australia, New Caledonia and South America. Our next destination is Cuba.”
For the next step in his career, Cédric is considering various options. "I really want to be a part of ENGIE's industrial strategy, at the heart of the action, by getting closer to customers and their problems. Either as an application project manager for Smart Grids, IoT (Internet of Things) or big data, or on the community/local authority side, offering them solutions related to energy transition, developed by the Group." One thing's for sure, he will be at ENGIE. "Why look elsewhere when you have access to such a variety of activities, and such a vast playing field? In every one of my roles, I was given responsibility very quickly, very easily. I was encouraged to suggest new products and mobilise the necessary human resources to push the boundaries. For someone as passionate about innovation as I am, it's exciting to successfully add something new to an existing eco-system.”
A tenacious go-getter, Cédric sees the future with great optimism. When summing up his approach, he quotes Socrates: "Falling down is not a failure. Failure comes when you stay where you have fallen.”