Bernd Gross – CTO of Software AG – Empowerment, Trust and The Best of Startup and Corporate Worlds

Bernd Gross became the CTO of Software AG after he chose the company to acquire his successful IoT startup, Cumulocity.

In this episode of Leadership Deep Dive, Hendrik Deckers takes a detour from the ECOTY tour into exploring what makes a leader successful in product-based companies, like Software AG. Bernd has a unique perspective of someone who went a long way from nearly two decades in corporate IT in Germany, to co-founding an IoT startup in 2012 in California – a little too far ahead of the market curve at the time – only to realise that Europe was actually a better environment for the innovation that he brought to the market.

Bernd shares his very interesting take on combining the best of the corporate and startup world, on attracting engineers and IT managers to companies that are definitely not startups anymore, on the thin line between empowerment and chaos, on trust and authenticity, and on other aspects of leading a big team in a fast-moving market.

Table of Contents:

01:10 – About Bernd Gross, Software AG and Cumulocity
15:44 – Bernd’s role as the CTO of Software AG
20:49 – How do you implement a culture of co-creation, co-innovation?
24:42 – Co-creation with strategic partners and clients
28:40 – Combining corporate and startup experience
31:45 – Bernd’s management style // With empowerment comes great responsibility. If you do it wrong, you create chaos.
36:21 – Attracting and keeping talent in IT. Why would people want to work for you? What do you offer them that startups can’t?
40:50 – Your leadership style – what do people say about you when you’re not around?
43:19 – Bernd’s MBTI profile
45:48 – Managing the stress to go the extra mile
49:25 – Making tough decisions
51:43 – Nature and nurture in leadership
53:19 – What values do you want your child to grow up with? // Overnight success takes years of hard work
55:01 – Bernd’s most brilliant failure // The importance of being yourself in business
59:22 – His mentors
1:01:20 – Bernd’s advice to future digital leaders
1:03:18 – Where do you see IoT, machine to machine and Software AG in 5 years
1:07:55 – How do you see your role evolving in the next few years?

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