Stefano Domenicali, CEO of Lamborghini on being successful: “Be totally yourself”

Stefano Domenicali

For Italian Stefano Domenicali, in order to stay on top of the game, you’ve to disconnect and allow yourself ample me time

Growing up in Imola, Italy, Stefano Domenicali worked 
at the nearby Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari racetrack. This early passion for fast cars turned into his life’s work. After graduating from the University of Bologna, Domenicali landed a job in Ferrari’s financial division. His career accelerated at the carmaker, and he was named director of the Scuderia Ferrari Formula 1 team, which went on to win the Constructors’ Championship during the first year under his leadership in 2008.

After piloting several successful seasons, Domenicali joined Audi as vice president of new business initiatives before landing the pole position at Lamborghini in 2016. He parks for a moment to share what keeps him on track.

What one thing do you do daily to stay sane?

Because I don’t live near my family during the week (I join them on the weekends), I’m at work from 8am until very late in the evenings. Therefore, I need to start the day with an hour to an hour and a half doing some exercise, just for me to refresh, disconnect, and think about myself.

Your biggest annoyance at work?

To be repetitive. It is something I really hate, so I try to be creative. For example, I always take a different chair during meetings – it gives my mind a different approach.

Stefano Domenicali
Stefano Domenicali drives a Lamborghini Urus

How long should a meeting last?

From a half hour to an hour, maximum. Otherwise the level of attention will decrease and effectiveness will be even lower. It’s not only how long the meeting will last, but how many people 
are attending. I want only the people that will make it effective and efficient.

What do you look for in an employee?

I look for trust, professionalism, and someone who is a team player, whatever the position.

Do you prefer e-mail, phone, or text?

If it’s business, I prefer e-mail. When you reach a certain position, you receive so much input and information that, if you are not organised, you run the risk of not processing everything. I want to be spot-on.

The best advice you were given?

To never give up.

What would you tell your younger self?

I would say to be totally yourself and not try to copy others.

Is there one adjustment everyone can make in their lives to be more successful?

Learning on the job. Know that there are always opportunities to improve.

One thing you want to improve in your work life?

The time that I am the most effective. When you have to do many things, you might lose that as an objective. Effectiveness is really what I have in mind in terms of my maximum result, and part of that is making decisions. One must avoid finding excuses to postpone decisions.

Do you have a favourite app?

I’m not a super-connected guy. I don’t really have one other than WhatsApp, which helps me manage time [communicating] in a proper way.

What is your daily driver?

The [Lamborghini] Urus. I am very privileged, I have to say.