....Die Geschichte hinter den Geschichten :
Francis Schubert ist Skyguide's Chief Corporate Officer (CCO) und ein genialer Cartoonist. Während zehn Jahren hat Francis anlässlich des jährlichen "Skyguide Business Day" einen etwas speziellen Rückblick gemacht. Dieser hat massgeblich geholfen die offene Kultur von Skyguide zu gestalten. Nach meinem Austritt aus skyguide veröffentlichte ich die folgenden "kleinen Geschichten". Lasst euch überraschen wie vielfältig der Alltag einer Geschäftsleitung mit ihrem CEO sein kann. - Aufgrund der Authentizität belasse ich den Text in Englisch. Und noch etwas: Ich bin derjenige mit der rosaroten Brille . . . ..
The story behind the little stories:
Francis Schubert is Skyguide's Chief Corporate Officer (CCO) and he is a brilliant cartoonist. For the last ten years Francis has given a special retrospective on the occasion of the annual "Skyguide Business Day". This has significantly helped to shape Skyguide's open culture. After having left skyguide I publised the following "little stories". Let me share with you the diverse everyday life of an Executive Management team with their CEO. One additional point: I'm known as the "Pinked Glasses CEO". . . ....
Story 1 - The trick
What most people inside and outside the company will remember most is that throughout his term as CEO, Dani was the eternal optimistic! Things always looked so simple from his perspective. Things that required 6 months of work in real life were a matter of 2 days of labour in Dani’s world! For long, everybody suspected Dani had a secret, until one day we found out his trick . . . .
. . . . For that reason, Dani was widely known as the “Pinked Glasses CEO”.
Story 2 - Riskmanagement
Dani was a strong adept of a risk based strategy. All his decisions were taken on the basis of a comprehensive and solid risk analysis and he wanted to be regularly updated on all identified threats . . . .
Story 3 - The preparation for the Board of Directors
Preparing a workshop for the Board of Directors was a yearly nightmare. Every time, Dani systematically insisted on explaining the company’s history to the Board, since the beginning of universe. That resulted in the production of an incredible amount of preparatory material. We always feared the Board’s reaction in front of the load of documents dumped upon them . . . .
Story 4 - Secrets
Dani’s communication regularly amazed people, internal and external alike for its limitless transparency. But Dani was equally strong when it came to keeping things secret and he applied an equally rigorous confidentiality policy . . . .
Story 5 – The work in the Executive Board
Dani did have an acute sense of priorities, especially when it came to discussing items on the Executive Board’s agenda. Jeannette, his head of staff helped him in the decision making process . . . .
Story 6 – Exhausted: My and Jeannette's view
Jeannette was my Chief of Staff
Stories 7 to 9 - Working with Dani
His employees will remember Dani as a very open, supporting and generous boss, who consistently rewarded business performance. But this had its price! Dani was a very demanding CEO and also had his own ways when it came to organising work. His expectations can be summarised with two elements: many, many, many meetings and a huge workload! . . . .
Stories 10 to 13 - ressources and working methods
Dani was undeterred in the face of the workload and as a true pink-glassed CEO, he applied the same overoptimistic approach to the use of his very thin resources . . .
Dani always tried to find a solution without giving too much in . . .
The BMS - the Business Model Skyguide - was a very challenging program for all of us. In the program management Dani always insisted in clear definitions regarding roles and responsibilities . . .
Throughout his tenure as CEO, Dani remained preoccupied about the collective performance of his Executive Team. He arranged repeated team building sessions and regularly invited external experts to observe the behaviours of his team. These specialists reported back without any complacency . . .
Stories 14 to 17 - workplace & rules
Dani dreamed of turning skyguide into a similar kind of working environment like Google. His greatest success in this field was his Dynamic Working Environment concept, which was meant to make all his employees happy by granting them access to the most advanced working space design methods . . .
With Dani’s particular ways of working, developing coping strategies was for his Executive Board a matter of survival! One would rapidly learn the rules. Aside from 7 weekly board meetings, each of his Executive Team’s members also had regular bilateral discussions with Dani . . .
Rule number three was: the ability to guess which ideas Dani would forget immediately and never mention again and which were the ones he would remember of a some later point in time . . .
One year, during one of our management training events, Dani invited a world famous neurosurgeon who explained some of the delicate processes that unfold within our brains, unbeknown to us. A stress alarm is triggered, we were told, as soon as our mind struggles to reconcile our expectations with the constraints of reality. . . and that day, we also learned the strategies that Dani uses to overcome this intellectual battle!
Stories 18 to 21 - behind the scene
Dani’s new Chairman was an experienced balloon pilot who skilfully drew many helpful parallels between his passion for flying and the world of business management . . .
Dani was well aware that his wealth of projects had a considerable impact on the increasing workload within the company. Based on this observation Dani drew many valuable and wise managerial lessons which he generously shared with his employees . . . (note: the abbreviations stand for large programs in skyguide)
In order to protect all the Executive Board’s documents, which are highly confidential, Dani made extensive use of passwords. The EB password changed every year and Jeannette, Dani’s Chief of Staff, was in charge of choosing the annual password. She always made a point of selecting a password that characterised the Dani’s way of working . . .
In order to review of the Executive Board’s performance, Dani developed an “EB Charter”, which was meant as a code of good governance conduct. Each meeting ended with a collective ceremonial critical assessment of how the Board Members had performed against the principles of the EB Charter. But to be honest, the more time went by, the more this exercise started to look like the kind of conversations the Board members would normally have with their wives . . .
Stories 22 to 25 - the Virtual Center
In spite of being a good communicator, Dani sometimes struggled to get his message across . . . This was particularly impressive on the example of the "Virtual Center" – an important strategic program for skyguide . . .
The Virtual Center project will enable Skyguide to close one centre over night. Dani tried to explain this by examples . . .
Dani believed in images and became famous for his many sayings which carried the weight of his managerial wisdom . . . such as "the holy cows" . . .
. . . or "you have to cut the elephant into slices" . . . however the real challenge was not to find out how to cut an elephant into slices. - The difficulty turned out to be how to put a sliced elephant back together . . .
Stories 26 to 28
Dani was once invited by the Minister of Transport along with all the CEOs of other State owned companies to discuss the latest developments in the Swiss infrastructure’s landscape. The Minister enquired about the content of the projects’ portfolio of each of these companies . . .
Dani was very concerned about strengthening the position of his company in the European landscape. He invested massively in the Functional Airspace Block European Central programme (FABEC). But that initiative stumbled badly and turned out to be one of his biggest disappointment and disillusion. Nevertheless, Dani was always very fast to react and to adapt his strategy to any change of wind . .
Dani himself often offered serving coffee to visitors and employees . . . see the secret behind . . .
Stories 29 & 30 - the last batch
After 10 batches of “little stories” in a row, the time has come for a break. - I'd like to thank Francis for his great work. I am thrilled with his cartoons and he knows that, of course . . . . sometimes he used this fact for hidden messages. See below our conversation after his (cartoon) presentation last year . . . .
Finally my desire - to see the entire collection of cartoons - prevailed . . . and so I decided to retire :-). As promised Francis published the full collection in a book.
One final point: The pink glasses became my trademark thanks to Francis’ cartoons. After my retirement, I tried to turn it into a business. It was a bad idea . . .