#WayForward with Benedikt Germanier, CEO zai, Spreitenbach AG, Switzerland

In the #WayForward series, CEOs tell us what’s on their mind in coronavirus times. Read how Benedikt Germanier, CEO of zai, sees things.

Benedikt Germanier #WayForward visual

Entrepreneurs usually are optimistic. We like to act as a strong person who leads the way whatever the challenges may be. But in this crisis, it has been important to me to also express my biggest fears. I deeply believe in a culture in which everyone can say what she or he really feels – unfiltered. Your fears tell you where the company’s threats lie.

Leading a business is about two things: keeping it alive and making it successful. On the one hand, the current situation can turn into a huge threat. On the other hand, this might become one of the best times in the history of zai. The reason for that is that we have great collaborations going for next winter and that we feel very awake during this lockdown. We went straight back to the design lab and started to work on the future.

My best tip for CEOs is that we start on top: X-ray your vision, the purpose of the business. Then move down to the strategy. Then make sure you execute on an even higher level. Fully focus on the core business. Amplify your strengths.

Benedikt on selling luxury goods: “When the lockdown started, we went immediately to the lab. We’re currently working on next winter’s models made of natural rubber and on the zai & Moncler Grenoble ski. This collaboration gives us great joy and that helps us to keep moving forward. We are in the luxury brands business and start to be seen as the “Haute Couture” among ski producers. Our prices range from CHF 1950 to 9800. It’s crucial for our success that enough people desire to own a ski built from someone aiming for perfection in design and performance. While our global niche is small, local, hand-crafted quality products might even see higher demand after the crisis. We can’t possibly know which way this is going. That’s an interesting element of this crisis.”

#WayForward Table Of Contents: Click here to get to the #WayForward series’ Table of Contents with all the posts we did with CEOs plus recordings of media events where the WayForward insights are discussed.