Werner Hingerl, Managing Director at Mitel Austria & Central South Eastern Europe, Turkey & Israel, in an interview on how he has adapted his management style and what it takes to be entrepreneurial in these times, in addition to the appropriate technology solutions.

 Technology as a Prerequisite for Leadership and Communication

How has Covid-19 changed the IT industry?

The workplace will never be the same. New collaborations between companies, incredibly evolved products and the latest technologies combined with the growing decentralized and globalized workforce have drastically changed the business landscape.
Video-centric communication and collaboration tools are quickly becoming the only way to successfully interact in this new environment. At the same time, new forms of "as-a-service" with agile remote workers, collaboration platforms, AI-powered analytics, and omnichannel options are providing the incredible experiences customers have been demanding for years. In this new environment, companies and business practices must be ready to adapt. That means being open to new opportunities wherever they come from. For many leading companies, it's critical to connect all employees, including those on the front lines. 5G and better mobility will help us stay connected wherever we are. 5G will also help improve breakthrough technology in the form of voice-controlled intelligent assistants that cater to all our needs, and VR / AR technology that brings new realities to customer conversations.
Mitel, for example, offers a range of customer experience solutions that allow you to integrate AI into the core of the customer experience. With our CX products, we set ourselves the goal of exceeding customer expectations. More inquiries can be handled, regardless of what device they come from, while ensuring that every interaction is effective and branded.

What were your key learnings from 2020? What kind of lessons were you able to take away personally?

2020 brought big changes for me . One important conclusion: communication is particularly important - with employees, partners and customers. Direct contact during coffee-breaks or meetings is no longer possible. Other strategies are required. 


"WakeUp-Call" via Mitel MiTeamMeetings - (my) one approach for an effective team

As a manufacturer in the telecom industry, we put our technology to work directly - a short video team call every morning. MiTeam Meetings is the perfect tool for this. It's not just about the day-to-day business, but also about the private things that come across the table - just like in the office over a cup of coffee. It has something of a "breakfast TV" feel to it. My team became even closer thanks to this daily ritual. Even with clients and partners - less travel time to appointments provides more room for increasingly in-depth discussions. It also doesn't always need the pre-planned video meeting, a spontaneous phone call often works wonders. 
The most important thing is - communication! For the future, I certainly see a healthy mix of communication via video and face-to-face meetings.

What has changed for you as a leader?

"Leading remotely" means trusting employees - picking them up, keeping them informed and giving them enough security. As mentioned earlier, our daily team calls have made us grow even closer. The concerns that come with a situation like Covid-19 affect me as a manager as much as my team. Sharing this and learning to deal with it makes us stronger. 

As a manager, it is important to be approachable, addressable, and accessible. During a video conference, you suddenly find yourself in a new environment  with your employees - in their private environment. And vice versa, my employees are "standing" in my home. These are new situations that everyone has to deal with at first. This can certainly be easier for an extrovert than for an introvert, but it can only be solved with the right approach. Target employees and offer support. Learning opportunities with coaches on how employees can present themselves specifically in video meetings have worked well for us.

What role does communications technology play in overcoming the current challenges?

We are always communicating. Communication is an essential part of our social relationships and engagement. Technologies change - from stone slab to letter, phone, email, video chat - communication remains! 

But modern technologies make it easier and more understandable. We have real-time communication in text, audio and video. Information is exchanged and processed in a very short time. Especially in the pandemic, communication technologies are essential to keep everything running. From a phone call or video chat with family and friends to mission-critical enterprise processes. No communication means regression.

How do you see MITEL's role in this and what are the business prospects?

As a tech company in the communications space, Mitel understood very early on that communications is a "global" issue - both in terms of supply and availability worldwide, as well as the unique needs of businesses in every industry. It is not without reason that Mitel is one of the market leaders for enterprise communications solutions worldwide. 

For Mitel, innovation has always been part of its DNA. And thanks to this innovative force, we are better equipped than ever to meet current demands. The market is moving ever so fast to the cloud. In addition to Covid-19, the 5G network will accelerate this. With many years of experience, Mitel can smooth the migration path for companies, with the pace of the transition always being based on the specific requirements.
Mitel will strengthen its entrepreneurial role in the cloud space without excluding proven technologies. On the contrary, we will continue to improve it. In addition to technological progress, another focus is on improving the user experience. Access to various communication tools must be as simple as possible.

This interview article is published with the kind permission and support of Confare GmbH, Vienna (http://www.confare.at/). Direct link

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