Joining us on is Ryan Tognazzini, Chief Executive Officer for iGrafx, an enterprise class business operations and modeling software that allow it’s users to capture, communicate, improve and optimize every aspect of their business processes.
Ryan represents one of the new breed of sales-driven chief executive officers who have come through the ranks of sales. Ryan shares his incredible journey from a frontline sales rep to the office of chief executive.
Below is a timestamped summary of the show segments and the topics covered. If you’d prefer to listen to the podcast version click here.
Segment 1: From Salesman to CEO
- Making the transformation from salesman to CEO. minute 3:28
- Advice to aspiring CEOs. minute 4:23
- The impact of consulting experience. minute 5:50
- Biggest surprise as CEO. minute 7:52
- The advantage of coming from outside the industry. minute 9:15
Skip to minute 9:26 to listen to Ryan describe why coming from outside the industry was advantageous for the company:
“Four centuries of expertise, we don’t need more expertise. I’ve been in and out of 200 software companies as part of SBI, so I’ve seen a lot of things done really, really well with lots of innovation, lots of creativity, and I’ve also seen lots of things that were done the wrong way, so the organization didn’t need somebody who had more expertise in our space. They needed someone to bring some different ideas, and apply the expertise to those ideas…”
Segment 2: Succeeding in the Role of CEO
- Prioritizing the company’s needs. minute 12:46
- The first 100 days as CEO. minute 14:45
- Implementing major initiatives. minute 16:24
- Creating empowerment with your functional leaders. minute 18:29
Skip to minute 18:59 to hear Ryan discuss the importance of involving functional leaders in the decision making:
“Sometimes, as the CEO of the company, there’s a misconception that you have all the answers, and by no means do I have or want them all. I would rather make fewer decisions than more. So, one of the things we recognized was that there was a bottleneck of a lot of decision-making happening at the CEO level, and I oftentimes don’t even understand what the right decision would be because it’s just not part of my expertise. So, getting input across functions is vital…”
Segment 3: Leading the Transformation of a Company
- Creating a transformative plan. minute 21:26
- Expected gain from the transformation. minute 25:53
- Results from the transformation. minute 28:26
- Advice for new CEOs. minute 28:27
Skip to minute 24:28 to watch Ryan give his advice for new CEOs :
“Be patient, especially if you’re coming from the sales side of the business. Learning patience in this role is crucial. If there are things that are happening in the business that are symptomatic of larger issues, you have to be patient because it really takes time to make some of those changes stick, and you’re not going to know if the things you’re doing now are working for a couple of quarters at least, so patience is key…”
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