January 24, 2014

Urs Berger – Der CEO im Dialog mit dem Unternehmen

Urs Berger ist heute Präsident des Verwaltungsrats der Mobiliar Versicherung. Zuvor war er CEO der Mobiliar, und davor CEO Schweiz der Baloise Versicherung. Im vorliegenden Gespräch schildert er, wie er als CEO auf methodische, seiner eigenen Art entsprechende Weise mit den Mitarbeitern an der Unternehmensbasis in den Dialog tritt und dadurch eine Vertraunensbeziehung im Unternehmen aufbaut, die als Basis dient für konstruktive Auseinandersetzungen.

July 24, 2013

In Memoriam Carsten Schloter

We are devastated by the tragic death of Carsten Schloter, CEO of Swisscom.

I cannot understand what has happened. But I would like to help those of us who want to remember the person he was, at least as a professional. Someone who has a very compelling way of reflecting about his behavior and leadership.

Earlier this year I have published a text based on an interview with Carsten. I am reposting this text below, together with the full audio recording of the interview. Maybe it transmits more of how this man has been reflecting, how he developed his thoughts on the corporate mindset, on leadership, and on himself.

That is how I would like to remember him.

 Carsten Schloter – People’s Energy for the Corporation

Carsten Schloter in conversation with Bernhard Sterchi, 4 December 2012

How to run a business that has to compete in an ever faster moving world of innovations in technology and customer needs? Swisscom has mastered these challenges better than many in the industry. In addition, in my opinion, Swisscom stands out by the fact that the management team has a high awareness of the importance of the common mindset for the performance of the company. On another occasion, Carsten Schloter has even gone so far as to say that the bottleneck in the recent complexity crisis is not the technology, not the money, but people. The following key messages from our conversation describe his present focus in leadership.

Carsten Schloter_Energie von Menschen

Carsten Schloter_People’s energy

July 17, 2013

The Discipline of Innovation at SRI

What we can learn from the organization whose innovations are in just about every technological device around you!

When it comes to groundbreaking digital, technological and scientific innovations, SRI International is the backbone of Silicon Valley. SRI’s very business model is innovation, either as a contract research and development institution, or with the purpose of developing, and then selling or licensing out breakthrough technologies. Examples range from the computer mouse to LCD display, SWIFT banking system, HD television, and the software at the basis of SIRI and Nuance.

So how do they do it? Is it just because they have managed to collect a bunch of geniuses?

Not quite.

In this conversation, SRI’s CEO Curt Carlson and Palladio Associate and EDG Principal Herman Gyr talk about  SRI’s current innovation system. Describing some of its central elements, principles, and processes, and sharing the experience they have made with SRI’s legacy and its latest development, they show how tangible, practical, but also how disciplined a systematic approach to innovation can be.

June 11, 2013

Freitag – Authentizität als Unternehmensbasis

Starke Marken transportieren Authentizität.

Wie kommt es denn, dass viele Firmen, die diesen Weg zu gehen versuchen, in irgendeiner Form “nicht echt” wirken? Ich glaube es gibt zwei Aspekte, die das Echte vom Aufgesetzten unterscheiden. Authentizität muss im Kern entstehen, sie ist nicht das Resultat eines Designprozesses. Was aber bewusst gestaltet werden kann und muss ist die Stringenz zwischen der Markenidentität und der internen Funktionsweise der Firma. Intern muss gelebt werden, was beim Kundenerlebnis wirksam sein soll.

Ein herausragendes Beispiel ist der Schweizer Taschenhersteller Freitag. CEO Monika Walser zeigt im Gespräch, woher diese Authentizität kommt, was das Verhältnis zwischen den Mitarbeitenden und dem Kundenbedürfnis ist, und vor allem wie sich die Firmenidentität in Abläufen und gemeinsamen Verhaltensmustern niederschlägt, die bewusst so gestaltet – oder öfter: bewusst so zugelassen worden sind.

 

April 29, 2013

Carsten Schloter – People’s Energy for the Corporation

Carsten Schloter in conversation with Bernhard Sterchi, 4 December 2012

How to run a business that has to compete in an ever faster moving world of innovations in technology and customer needs? Swisscom has mastered these challenges better than many in the industry. In addition, in my opinion, Swisscom stands out by the fact that the management team has a high awareness of the importance of the common mindset for the performance of the company. On another occasion, Carsten Schloter has even gone so far as to say that the bottleneck in the recent complexity crisis is not the technology, not the money, but people. The following key messages from our conversation describe his present focus in leadership.

Carsten Schloter_Energie von Menschen

Carsten Schloter_People’s energy

April 17, 2013

Self-organisation: A Company Managed by a Document

What happens if a company is self-managed, meaning it has no clear, pyramid-shaped hierarchy of command and control? The Seattle-based, 300+ employee game developer Valve is a great example – if we are to exaggerate a bit, they are run by a document.

We’ve heard that other companies have people allocate a percentage of their time to self-directed projects. At Valve, that percentage is 100.
(Valve Handbook for New Employees)

This is not just a company happening to be like that because that’s how it happened, but the founders have made a lot of experience in large and small IT companies, and have concluded that since the market is moving so fast, their organization needs to focus on innovation, speed, and flexibility.

It’s worth checking out the implications on self control functions they have thought about. If every employee has comparatively huge freedom of decision  (and responsibilities!), it is essential to have a very thorough recruiting process. If everyone can decide on which project they want to work, they must be careful not to start a fierce and continuous competition amongst projects for the best people. They have also created two peer feedback processes which have a large impact on people’s development and (is this old-school?) salary.

Here’s a Valve employee’s blogpost which describes the experience of working at Valve in the context of the IT developers industry.

If you want to have a look at the real thing: Valve Employee Handbook