• Prof. Dr. Ulrike Baumöl, Professor - University of Liechtenstein, lecturer for digital innovation & business transformation - University of St. Gallen.

    She is co-founder of the consulting companies Business Engineering Institute (BEI AG) and IARDA GmbH. The focus of her teaching and research is the environment of “digital business transformation” and "business-IT integration". This is based on business engineering as an interdisciplinary approach to method-based coordination of business management and information technology. Main topics of her research are: Business transformation and business model innovation in the context of digitalization, Holistic change management, Information and communication management in distributed organizations & Method construction for business engineering projects. Alongside her teaching activity she successfully led and supported several transformation programs, both in internal roles as well as an external consultant.

  • Dr. Sandra Hutterli, Head of People & Transformation and a member of the IT Management Board at Swiss Railways.

    Together with her teams, she assures a people-oriented transformation in the digitalization of passenger and freight transportation, infrastructure, and real estate. Being responsible for the conceptual strategic workforce planning, shoring solutions, scaled agile leadership & collaboration, and organizational learning for 2’000 IT professionals she contributes to a successful implementation of the business strategy, profitability, and sustainability. As chairperson / vice-chairperson / member of national and international governing boards, she builds on her PhD in change management & learning acquisition, her Global Master of Business Administration, her 20+ years of professional experience in education and HR, and a proven track record of successful leadership. Through lecturing at different universities, speaking at events, and publishing papers on digital transformation and human potential she keeps herself at the forefront of trends.

  • Guido Kaufmann, Dr. phil. nat. Computer science and Business administration

    He has more than 20 years of experience as CIO and Head of Corporate IT of medium and large national and international companies from various industries with various additional management courses at the University of St. Gallen, ETH Zurich and MIT Boston. Since 2017, Guido Kaufmann supports companies in challenging situations and transformations as an independent IT interim manager (Herakles Digital GmbH). From 2010 to 2017, he was CIO at localsearch, a subsidiary of Swisscom and Tamedia. Prior to that, he was CIO of the Hotelplan Group and Head of the Group's int. shared service center ICT. Further stations were SBB Informatik (Head of Corporate IT), Swisscom Innovations as well as the Swisscom spin-off plenaxx.com (CIO). He is guest lecturer at the Universities of St. Gallen (HSG) and Lucerne in the areas of business IT management, change management and digitalization.

  • Benjamin Gietzendanner, Senior Manager at BearingPoint

    For more than 20 years, he has been accompanying organizations in their major transformations. On one side as external advisor, with 18 years of experience in consulting, on the other side being the CTO of the Piaget brand (Richemont group) for 3 years. He is Romandie leader for our consulting activities towards Commercial Industries segment and the Swiss-wide leader of our People & Strategy service offering which is organized in five key offers: 1. Business strategy (Strategy planning, M&A, Organization and governance, Sustainability) 2. Operational excellence (Lean Management, Capacity planning, Cost reduction, Data driven performance) 3. Talent management and Human Resources (HR strategy and policies, HR organization efficiency, Digitalization of HR) 4. Management & Leadership (Management Maturity model, Management behaviors transformation, Active Manager, Autonomous organization) 5. New ways of working (Change Management, New ways of working, Smart Building, Real estate masterplan)

How to successfully lead and drive transformations as a CTO?

A transformation is a far-reaching process with an unknown end. It is not limited in time but rather to be understood as continuous change. Today, after decades of research and practice, transformations are still struggling. It is nothing new to say the involvement of affected employees being a very important factor. Yet, two major reasons why transformations fail are resistance of the people and lack of leadership commitment.

How can leadership support employees in major transformations?
 

Leaders as role models are the key for employees to follow the call for transformation. There must be one common goal that is held over individual BU goals. A true sense of ‘we’ will boost the support across all employee levels. Leadership style should turn from a 'command and control' to a people-oriented 'inspect and adapt' approach. In this context, it is crucial to understand that new skills are required, and that the development of new skills needs an investment.

Based on our discussion, we can summarize three key success factors for transformations:

  1. Give sense to the transformation: Make the transformation and the need for it understandable. Break an abstract concept down into benefits for the employee, in an ambition that is powerful for the employee and allows them to be proud of it. It is about the flow of information and a communication approach that is more than a concept but designed to take care of the people's needs and considering the individual company culture (future has a history).
  2. Empower employees: In a transformation, an organization and its people need to deal with ambiguity. What is right is sometimes unknown. Successful transformations need a culture that encourages employees to experiment. Consequently, the governance needs to be set by defining decision-making processes to delegate power to lower levels (middle management). 
  3. Motivate and support: Generally, motivation comes through the meaningfulness of the work one does and through being valued for doing this work. Being skilled and having the ability to contribute to value creation is another important aspect. Eventually, motivation happens individually. Some people, for example, are motivated through the sense of belonging. In this case, belonging to a team. Those people are rather motivated by messages like ‘we support you to succeed with your team’. The right incentives need to be identified and set accordingly. Continuous measuring and monitoring of the employees’ feelings and opinions can be very helpful in that regard.

What profile is needed for a CTO?
 

The CTO as a leader of the transformation must be a people person who can think in networks. They need to be good listeners to understand the needs and challenges of the business and its people. And they need to be able to integrate and link different levels of the organization: the different board members with each other, the top management with the middle management, and management with the employees.

Additionally, the CTO must have a bundle of competencies. These include being a problem solver, a business leader with emotional and interpersonal skills, and having a solid cross-functional background (M-shaped profile).

The functional expertise does not have to be very deep but rather broad. A CTO should have experience with different challenges and business situations and be able to interfere when needed. Interfering refers to connecting and to giving missing information to enable others. The goal is to think in networks and empower the people.

For more information, listen to the full discussion in our podcast.

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