As I sit in my Oberursel, Germany office, I see the grey skies of winter rolling in. They make me realize that the year is nearing its end, and with that I’ve been thinking about all that happened in 2019. For me, it was a year in which my professional effort and personal thinking have begun to mesh, leading me – and by extension OTRS Group – to start taking steps down a path that fulfills my objectives as a CEO, but does so in a way that positively influences the world at large.
The Business of OTRS Group
As a company that’s listed on the Frankfurt stock exchange, I have clear duties that must be fulfilled. Along with board members Sabine and Christopher, I am charged with leading OTRS Group in a sustainably profitable direction.
I feel proud about the fact that we continue to achieve this. While there are still a couple more months before the 2019 annual report is published, as of the 2018 balance sheet date, the AG recorded growth of more than 18.6% with recurring revenue accounting for 83.1% of total revenue. The strategy that we identified in 2018 and continue to work towards in 2019 has been successful.
We got here as a team. Sabine and I began the year (concluding in August with our company-wide annual meeting) by touring the world to reinforce the OTRS Group mission statement that “We give companies the freedom to be successful.” Related to this, I was pleased to share my thoughts on what freedom in the workplace means, as well as gain feedback from employees worldwide about what it means to them. The shared ideas will continue to inform our culture in years to come.
The energy and enthusiasm sparked by these discussions have been poured into the development of our new product OTRS 8.
The energy and enthusiasm sparked by these discussions have been poured into the development of our new product – OTRS 8 – which is scheduled to launch in Q1 2020. This has been a significant focus in the later part of the year.
But, of course, I must look beyond the next release to prepare the company for the future. As we grow and seek to even better leverage input from our current customers and the marketplace in general, so too must the focus of our workforce and the expertise of each individual. Seeing this, I was pleased to work with Christopher on the development of both the Product Manager and Business Relationship Manager roles at OTRS Group. I see both as key positions that will help shift the way in which we work and help us to better serve our customers.
Biases in the Workplace
On a more personal level, 2019 led me to publicly question why our society doesn’t more positively embrace individual differences. For instance, why don’t we naturally look for the value in the experience of older workers as well as in the fresh ideas of younger workers, without trying to push both groups of people together into a single mold of what productivity should be? Shouldn’t each person’s contribution to the business be unique to the skills, thoughts and experiences that he or she has to offer?
I believe that it should. And, not simply with respect to different age groups. With regard to all of the differences among us – skills, interests, gender, location. Every difference brings with it fresh perspectives that make the collective group stronger. Our corporate culture has always embraced this, and we will continue to expand upon this thinking through the integration of our new role Senior Manager, People, Culture & Communication.
And, as the year winds to a close, I recognize that this emphasis on people and culture shouldn't stop with internal operations. With more than 100 employees, OTRS Group has the privilege of being able to pool together resources and ideas and experiences.
And, as the year winds to a close, I recognize that this emphasis on people and culture shouldn’t stop with internal operations. With more than 100 employees, OTRS Group has the privilege of being able to pool together resources and ideas and experiences that can help tackle the issues that society faces too – inequality, crippling stress levels, and especially the environmental crisis that we face today. There’s more that this dynamic team can do to address these issues when we all come together and take advantage of our unique personal differences.
Striking the Balance in 2020
You can probably see that the past 12 months have been a process of exploring the question of impact:
- What impact will I have as a leader?
- How do people impact profitability? And conversely, how does the drive for profitability impact people?
- Beyond making money, why does OTRS Group exist? What impact does it have as a company?
2019 has been a year in which I have solidified my thinking about the impact of business on the world and what my role is in terms of getting OTRS Group to a position where profitability and social responsibility are well balanced. I’ve come to view my role as a Social CEO, someone who must focus on the way OTRS Group can help to positively transform lives – both in workplaces and in society.
As we step toward 2020, I hope you’ll join me as I strive to lead as a Social CEO, someone who is pushing myself, my business and society forward. There’ll be much to observe with the new product rolling out soon, an emphasis on environmental sustainability initiatives and testing new ways of working internally.
With that, I wish you and yours a happy holiday season and best wishes for the start of 2020.