Happy Leadership Moment on May 28, 2015: Dare to trust
Rémi Zunino
Rémi Zunino

Happy Leadership Moment on May 28, 2015: Dare to trust

We welcomed Alexandre Gérard on Thursday May 28 during our second Happy Leadership Moment of the year on a valuable subject in a team: Confidence. CEO of Chronoflex, Alexandre Gérard testified to his career from manager to liberating leader whose company is now enjoying unprecedented success.

Today, Chronoflex is what we call A liberated business. Alexandre, with a lot of humor and a benevolent perspective, told us the story of his company and what led him to release his business. Narrative

The crisis

Chronoflex was founded in 1993 and grew strongly until 2008, when the crisis hit it hard. In 2009, the nightmare year: the results were poor and he had to lay off staff. Alexandre is looking for solutions to put things back on track, to no avail.


Invited to a conference by Jean-François Zobrist, the liberating leader of FAVI, Alexandre became aware of his responsibility for what was happening. According to him, he had committed two mistakes

“I put everyone in prison. By managing the 3% of tire-au-flank with service notes intended for all teams, I was preventing any creativity and form of autonomy.”

“I led alone and asked others to execute.”

At the end of the conference, he asks Zobrist what he can do to change the situation. Zobrist simply replies: “Fuck off.”

Act without saying

Alexandre then engages in a deep but discreet reflection on the functioning of his company and especially on himself. He discovers important notions of involvement, parity and autonomy that his employees need to be fulfilled in their work. He brings his teams together for a collective brainstorming session and builds the company's philosophy.

A common vision is emerging “the passion to undertake differently for the success of your customer”. A vision structured around 4 values:

Performance through happiness

Cultivating customer love

Respectful and responsible teams

An open mind and an open mind

3 main steps

Alexandre first focused on freeing the path of employees to bring them more dynamism. It therefore allowed them to get rid of their pebbles, all these everyday things that consume energy for nothing: software that works poorly, an internet box that jumps every hour... The objective: a management team that had to respond to all these requests in 48 hours in order to simplify the teams' work. Bet won

The second stage was rooted in the need for parity: it was necessary to remove all the distinctive signs of power. The list was made with the collaborators. Results: no more parking spaces allocated, a CODIR open to all, smartphones for all and a boss who no longer arrives first and does not leave last.

Finally, last step and not the least. Alexandre compares it to a parachute jump: once you have jumped, getting back on the plane is impossible. On January 7, 2012, the management team brought together all employees. It's official and public: the power now belongs to them.

Develop and let decide

Teams can decide on the organization of the company, define the role of managers and appoint them. They also take care of recruitment and co-opt the captains who are in charge for 3 years on the basis of influence and exemplarity. Captains? The teams are now structured in speed boats. Working groups are emerging on topics ranging from compensation to the next team-building day.

It was necessary to support these collaborators who did not have the experience of participating in or leading a working group. But the development of these new skills has strengthened the commitment of teams and their ability to self-manage. Teams gain in responsiveness and performance.

Alexandre takes eight months off and comes back: the company is doing better than when he left. Learning to let go of his ego was a real release for him and his business.

At the heart of the system: trust

Au cœur du système : la confiance

Alexandre had met Isaac Getz and retained these four principles from their exchanges:

Listen to your collaborators

Share your vision

Stop motivating

Be the guardian of corporate culture

Chronoflex was thus transformed. The role of the boss today is to make sure that the company is going in the right direction. It doesn't matter if it takes a national road or a highway. The guardian of the temple as Alexander calls him must be aware of the decisions made but trusts in their implementation and accepts mistakes.

He is constantly putting vision back at the heart of the action. Managers, for their part, have not disappeared, on the contrary. Their expertise is in demand and they are learning to play a different role.

The recipe

There is no such thing. Alexandre told us again: “there are as many paths to liberate a company as there are bosses”. But he agrees very well with Isaac Getz: “The boss's ego and fears are what you need to take care of first to free a business.”

And to conclude:

“Societal redesign will come from organizations. I am convinced of that.”
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