The Challenges of transformation from a CEO’s point of view
Last week we spoke about how product designers start a new project and deal with past baggage and today we want to further explore this with Juan Rodriguez, CEO at Camaloon, who joined the startup after it has been running for 5 years.
At itnig every Friday we sit down to talk with interesting people whom we meet throughout the week and we make a podcast (in Spanish) out of our conversations. You can listen to it on iTunes, subscribe to our channel on Youtube or enjoy it through iVoox.
For this Podcast #20 Bernat Farrero, CEO at itnig, Jordi Romero, CEO at Factorial, César Migueláñez, Product Director at Factorial, Masumi Mutsuda, Media at itnig and Juan Rodríguez, CEO at Camaloon came together to talk about the challenges a CEO faces while joining an existing company.
How do you as CEO plan changes in an already existing company?
Firstly, it is necessary to evaluate if there is even the need to make a change or if instead the company can continue as such? In our case Camaloon had a very strong and positive company culture from the get-go but it has been lost a bit on the way. So when I started I aimed to revive this initial startup culture.
Camaloon is a company based on technology, we want to grow differentiating ourselves from our competitors through the product. This means that we are always looking for tech talent who can bring the differentiating factor to the company.
When I started in the spring of last year, the company culture had gone a little bit of track, we were focussing on other areas and when I joined, my challenge lay in bringing us back on track.
When you decide to enter a new company at the most important decision making role in an already working company, how do you understand how the dynamics work? How do you decide the way to go? How do you develop what needs to change?
You observe the synergies in the teams, the dynamics. Is there a good communication between teams?
Of course there are many approaches but I believe in the end you base yourself on intuition, you have only a short window to make a change.
I would say it’s a mix of data analysis, observation and intuition. You try to provoke change observe where the road blocks lay, you have to move quickly as if you don’t make any changes in the first two months it will be hard to overcome the inertia moving forward.
When entering a new company and pushing for strategic transformation I think it’s important to:
- Make decisions quickly
- Fix strategic north
- Focus people (feel secure, perform better)
- Maintain the same message continuously
How was your first day at Camaloon?
First I arrived somewhat incognito, I sat down next to our admin department and asked for data. Everyone thought I was a tax auditor or investor, nobody talked to me and everyone was very polite. Then, on my first real day as a CEO I sat down between marketing and technology director. I started talking to everybody in the office and in our production plant.
Was there anything surprising?
All I knew about Camaloon before starting came from Bernat and he is an entrepreneur so when I started I was surprised to see that there was no startup culture. It was a very corporate and traditional company, with many departments and a deep structure.
And for you, Bernat, how were the first months of not being Camaloon’s CEO? Was it hard to hand over your control?
Yes and No. It was hard as I had worked daily with the Camaloon team, had a strong relationship and Camalooners came running to me even after Juan started. As first reaction I had the instinct of jumping in as always. But it was also easy to hand over control to Juan as he was 100% aligned in strategy and I realized his way of attacking the problems not only seemed right but I also saw he had the capacity to implement them. I had no doubt.
And indeed, Camaloon is growing. We are adding new products, entering new segments and going all in for technology. We are looking for great talent and great growth opportunity for team members, actually we are looking for Sales, Marketing & Tech professionals of all areas: itnig.net/jobs