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Leadership Lessons Learned


May 6, 2010

FreeBalance President and CEO, Manuel Pietra, has been nominated for the for Peter Brojde Award for Next Generation Executive Leadership by the CATA Alliance.

How has Manuel achieved profitable and responsible growth for FreeBalance? Manuel has 3 lessons learned:

  1. Decision-making tools
  2. Customer-centricity
  3. Social responsibility

Decision-Making Tools

FreeBalance leverages the “Six Thinking Hats” approach developed by Edward de Bono. The company was organized like most software companies when Manuel joined in March 2006.  The organization structure needed to adapt to better serve the market. And, the company needed to make numerous strategic decisions. Manuel assembled the management team. He provided training materials on the technique. He described some high level objectives. Then he left the room. Manuel believes that executives gain more control by relinquishing control.

The 6 Hats technique is used throughout the company and with customers. Members of the FreeBalance International Steering Committee leverage the technique when prioritizing product roadmap items.

Customer Centricity

Most software companies are not customer-centric.  Manuel realized that traditional operational processes used by software companies can result in inferior service and put barriers between  company and customer decision-makers. We reorganized the company and provided customer metrics as the main dashboard for success. We’ve written a lot about customer-centricity in the past.  Initiatives such as the FreeBalance International Steering Committee (FISC), support SWAT Teams and the FreeBalance Customer Exchange have improved support and products. This has aided our growth.

Social Responsibility

Many traditional business leaders believe that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is company cost. Companies that engage in CSR risk profits. Manuel advocated the move to a For Profit Social Enterprise (FOPSE) where CSR is core to company decisions. We’ve talked about the benefits of this approach. We’ve even published a white paper on how to become a FOPSE.  The business media has been interested in this approach Manuel has explained how FOPSE companies are able to effectively achieve social goals and achieve growth.

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Doug Hadden

Doug Hadden

Executive Vice President, Innovation at FreeBalance
Doug is responsible for identifying new global markets, new technologies and trends, and new and enhanced internal processes. Doug leads a cross-functional international team that is responsible for developing product prototypes and innovative go-to-market strategies.

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