Interview with Stephan Kreuzberg
Start-up Mentor, Trainer, Public Speaker and CEO @ The IT Guys- Stephan Kreuzberg
is a business Leader with robust finance expertise. turnaround manager with strong people management skills. 20 years of international experience from SME to corporate level across multiple industries.
What are some of the industries you're personally the most excited about? In what industries do you see the biggest innovation trends taking place?
Well there are a lot of industries that are exciting these days.
Anything where you see massive disruption through technology or through new business models, for instance in the service industry but one particular industry jumps to my mind which might be out of the box for some people and not really on their radar yet and that is the personal development industry.
I think we have seen a lot of growth there in the last couple of years and that is due to the fact that a lot of people are starting, I would say to wake up, to wake up in a way that they do something for themselves that they are starting to go on that journey of personal development and with that they're starting to go deeper and deeper and not only broader doing more. Nowadays people have started to be kicked off in a way. But what I believe what we will see is that there is more depth to this industry than it is still to come. And this will create a lot of new trends. This will create a lot of new offers and an industry that will grow exponentially that is at least my conviction.
How has the transition from corporate to startup life influenced how you look at the current approach to work-life balance and work lifestyle?
Very interesting question. Lifestyle, work-life balance.
I would say from a lifestyle perspective. This has become less formal coming into the entrepreneurial environment into the startup world, less formal, more flexible more agile and more fun.
From a work-life balance perspective, actually, I don't like that word that much work-life balance because I believe nowadays people are talking more about work-life plan which is I think the better way of putting it. Because how would you distinguish between work-life balance because work and life, I mean work is part of life, and so I believe it's all about finding work that really inspires you, that is fun, that really drives you, and then creating that balance with the rest the remaining pillars of your life your family life, your private life your social life.
And this is actually why I believe an entrepreneurial environment gives you more flexibility to create that life.
What's next for your work as a coach and mentor? What companies, industries and sectors will you be focusing on throughout the next year?
Yes. I'm going to run trainings again this year. Trainings for startups of course, but also trainings, once again for bigger organizations for scale-ups as well on aspects of how to build a team how to put the right culture in place, how to reshape a culture or even work out what the culture is and what we wanted to be.
And then finally I'm going to work with a lot of individuals on a one to one basis. This is going more and more part of my activity as well. On an annual program bases also ad hoc. So it's going to be once again a very exciting journey.
In your current talk on how to "Put a winning Team at work," what are some of the tips you offer? What are some of the biggest mistakes startups make when assembling their executive teams?
Well actually this is a training that I run for a group of startups, 14 to 15 startups actually, and it's about how you build your team, how you find the right people for your team, how you find the right advisors for your company and how do you make them stay as well which can be more challenging than getting them on board, and one of the key mistakes that young companies make at this stage, I would say the typical one is to have the difficult discussion, the hot talk early, which means how do we want to slice the pie between the co-founders, how do we want to distribute shares, what's the real strategy for this company, where do we want this to go, do we have an exit in mind, whatever.
And then secondly it's when you build a team. I think one mistake that a lot of people do is they try to get resources as cheap as possible. I believe that hiring few people, fewer but more is really the formula for success here, by paying more doesn't necessarily mean that you need to put a lot of cash on the table it might be giving shares. But that is actually what I believe there is a big leverage if people follow that simple rule.
Hi Stephan! Could you please introduce your work with The IT Guys and how it intersects with your career as a business coach and mentor?
The IT Guys is a managed service provider we're basically the outsourced I.T. department for many of our clients and these clients might come from the NGO sector, so NGO such as the Kofi Annan Foundation, Norwegian Refugee Council and many others in the Geneva region and we're also supporting big corporate head offices based in Switzerland and then last but not least we are joining scale-ups on their journey supporting them during their journey from out of startup stage into further growth and scale, and this is actually where it really intersects with my work as a business trainer and as a coach because I am really keen on learning about great business ideas but I'm even more excited by great personalities, young entrepreneurs for instance who want to make their way and and really on a path of changing the world or changing a market but also people who have had already their career their corporate career, successful corporate career and now up to trying out a new path in the startup arena.