The role of a CEO is a multi-faceted one at the best of times. There are always hundreds of decisions vying for your attention, and all of them are critical to the person raising them. In the current environment, everything is magnified. Small challenges can become big issues, and the physical distance between colleagues can feel like huge gulfs.
I joined Forsta a matter of weeks before the pandemic hit, and have yet to work in my local office alongside my new colleagues or visit our many offices around the world. As anyone new to a business knows, getting to know your team is a top priority, so adjusting to a fully virtual induction has been a career first. What this has done, however, is to reinforce my long-standing belief that communication and transparency are vital in an organization, whether “analog or digital”. It is the role of the CEO to ensure they take center stage when change is afoot.
In some ways, we were lucky. As a software business with team members all over the world, we were pretty well placed to work remotely. We had many digital tools already in use, but their importance has increased dramatically. Whether you’re working from your spare room or the kitchen table, video conferencing has become the bridge between these “gulfs” in maintaining and building relationships with customers and colleagues alike.
Developing these relationships has been so critical as we’ve been busy merging the Confirmit and Dapresy businesses throughout everything. The myriad collaboration tools we have at our disposal have come into their own at every turn, including the occasional virtual Happy Hour!
I read an excellent report by McKinsey recently, which reported on a survey of 800 executives to gather their views on the long-term business impact of the pandemic. The indications are that many of the workforce trends that were already emerging – such as remote working and the increase of automation – have been accelerated by the current situation. This not only maps to our experience at Forsta, but that of many of our clients, too.
As a business, we have a duty of care to our employees. Right now, that means putting in place policies and processes to keep them safe, as well as motivated and able to do their jobs. We also have an obligation to our clients, many of whom rely on our solutions to run their businesses, and even more so during these challenging times. Managing the ways in which our teams and our customers can continue to meet rapidly-shifting goals has been at the heart of many of the decisions that we have made, and we have worked hard to be completely transparent about every decision.
The heart of our business is the people behind our technology, and I am incredibly proud of the way that the Forsta team has worked together over the past six months. This week, we have been mentioned in The Software Report’s Top 25 Software CEOs in Europe, but this is really a testament to an incredible team working day and night in supporting our customers around the world. No CEO is an island, but rather a facilitator of change, to enable and empower everyone in our organization to do their best work, no matter what the circumstances.
Forsta’s role in the world is to make the complex simple. Whatever technology is in place, the key to that is communication.