Interview with Andreas Schwengeler, CEO Creative Software

“We make complex things simple” is the mission of Creativ Software AG, based in the Rhine Valley of St. Gallen. The company, with around 30 employees, is the leading Swiss software producer for non-profit organizations, associations, clubs and political parties. We wanted to know from the CEO of the successful company why he sought advice from FORAN and what has changed as a result.

How did it come about that you turned to FORAN?
I became curious because FORAN’s human-centered, value-neutral approach is new to me. That’s why I requested a consultation for myself and the entire cadre.

What challenges do you struggle with most in your position?
Well – it’s been the same for years. Especially in the cadre, the workload is enormous and intense. I can handle this load relatively well. But there are other members of the management team who are almost suffocating under the stress. A change was needed.

How do you see your team?
Productivity and profit depend on people. My team works well when the people in it feel good. When employees are doing a job that fulfills them, that suits them and makes them happy. That is my goal. That’s what I want to promote.

Were you surprised by the profiles of your team?
I clearly recognized myself in the Reiss Motivation Profile. To get this view of my closest employees was enormously enriching. Yes – I was amazed. I was not so aware of various characteristics. Who especially needs feedback and confirmation? Who is stress-sensitive or who needs clear framework conditions? Reflecting on the profiles revealed that we have a problem with delegating tasks and following up well with team members. Above all, however, I have become aware that it is dangerous to apply one’s own feelings to others. We are different. And everyone, just as they are, is valuable.

What happened after the analysis?
The concrete practical discussion with my team brings out things that are important. We talk, analyze and find solutions. And I – no, we all – learn to see difference as an asset. We are still in the middle of this process, which will probably never be over.

Consulting companies are a dime a dozen …
… my words. But foran is different. With Roman Büchler, I had a competent, experienced counterpart. I like it when people say what they think and address what is right and important. No matter whether it suits me or not. Only then is change possible. And only then do we develop in the right direction.

What has changed?
As I said, we are still in the middle of this process. Based on the discussion with the people in the team, we have already been able to derive concrete measures that are now leading to relief. More than that. Mutual understanding has grown.

And what does that look like in practice?
In practical terms, it means that today we recognize where we need to take action. Employees in emergency support who are stress-sensitive cannot perform this task constantly. They need variety. Variety towards the area where they can play to their strengths. Sometimes people need regular encouragement and praise from outside, sometimes a completely new field of work. In the cadre, we need additions. We know what we are missing. But that will take time. Above all, our corporate culture remains: We invest in people and go the extra mile. That’s what makes corporate management exciting and beautiful.

Will you continue with FORAN in the future?
I think, especially when I am filling positions, I would like to invest in this consulting in the final phase. In recruitment, I see great opportunities through the Reiss Motivation Profile. I will also remain in contact with FORAN in order to coordinate further developments and to gather input.