Josef is an educated engineer and graduated in telecommunications and media-economics at University of applied science in St. Poelten Austria, in the year 2000. A year later at the age of 22, he became director of E-Commerce at Telekom Austria Group where he was in charge of building the online sales channels of the Austrian telecommunication incumbent. After that, he served several huge firms like Deutsche Post or Deutsche Telekom as a consultant. He started his assignment with KWAK Telecom in September 2009 as Vice President Carrier Relations. One year later, he was promoted to Chief Operating Officer of the group and Managing Director of KWAK’s German subsidiary. Since end of 2012, he is leading the firm as its Chief Executive. In 2014, he was accepted for the Advanced Management and Leadership Programme at Said Business School, University of Oxford and was awarded “Outstanding Alumnus” of the business school two years later. The same year KWAK Telecom was awarded “National Champion” in the Category “Business of the Year” at European Business Awards, the biggest business award in Europe.
Enabling Businesses to Bill & Monetize
Josef mentions that KWAK is at the interface of telecommunications and media markets and facilitate micropayment for media channels, content providers and service hotlines. The company realized very soon that these markets are becoming rapidly more international and many of them serve a global audience. For KWAK, that means that its portfolio of premium rate services has to reflect and cover this trend. Its main goal is to enable its clients from all over the world to bill and monetize on their services. Furthermore, it has identified that there’s a major shift in media markets going on. Classic channels like TV or radio stagnate and there’s a huge rise of online channels such as Youtube and applications. This of course impacts the company’s offer and the way it implements its solutions into the billing needs of its customers.
Achieving Superior Performance
Josef constantly strives to achieve superior performance in an extremely dynamic and global environment. In order to lead effectively, he continuously thinks about what does the company has to do to set itself apart from its competitors? What can it do to attract the best talent? And what is necessary to serve its client’s needs the best way possible? The company figured out some essential virtues mandatory to achieve those goals: It’s about building sustaining relationships with clients and suppliers, working as a team to identify the best solutions for tasks and problems, creating internal and external alignment to act agile, having a clear strategic direction what the company is heading for and most importantly.
Threats to Any Successful Organizations
In his entrepreneurial journey, Josef has learnt one important lesson that “Don’t stop learning and stay humble!” He opines that there are two major threats to any successful organization. It’s ego and hybris. Especially after being highly successful for a long period of time with great results and multiple awards won, one has to be careful of not becoming too self-confident and staying aware that people make mistakes and disruptors and competitors are just waiting to eat your lunch.
It Involves as many Contributors as Possible
When asked about strategies that are helping employees to bridge the gap between idea and execution, Josef asserts, “First of all it’s not my strategy but the strategy of the firm created by as many contributors within our organization as possible. Strategy is nothing that’s implied top-down but it’s about a process involving as many thoughts and thinkers as possible. My role as CEO is like the one of a conductor of an orchestra. Once we have achieved a mutual understanding what ideas might lead us to performing superior within our markets we start implementing and executing. Therefore, alignment and the respect and understanding of everybody’s contribution is essential.”
Filling White Areas on the Map
In the near future, KWAK is striving to improve its market leadership in the segment of Premium Rate Services steadily and to further expand out markets around the globe. Currently, it is serving clients in more than one hundred countries, so it still has some white areas on the map. One of its major initiatives currently is how to serve developers of applications and online media channels with micropayment services, especially in areas like Africa, South America and parts of Asia where still the penetration of credit cards is low. Further, the company is highly active to build call center resources all over the world to support its clientele going global and being able to cover a bigger part of the value creation process of Premium Rate Services.
Every Member Counts
In the opinion of Josef, a key attribute to perform as a CEO is the ability not to forget that it’s not you who creates the success of the firm, but each member of the team has to contribute to make superior performance happen. The understanding that a great leader is always a great enabler of talent is mandatory to create a vibrant and agile organization and to establish sustaining success. And of course, you need the capacity to cope with pressure when things are going not that well. As a CEO, you are the prime person who carries the culture of the firm. You are the one who represents the company and its values on the market as well as intern.