Case Studies: Bob Conrad
“Anne Litwin’s assessment got to the essence of what I needed to focus on.”
—Bob Conrad, President & CEO Trebia Networks, Acton, Massachusetts
Trained as an engineer, business director Bob Conrad brought both technical and management skills to Analog Devices, Inc., (ADI). While his intelligence and technical knowledge were undisputed, Mr. Conrad’s management strengths were sometimes masked by a leadership style that differed considerably from that of his colleagues. “I was very logic- and fact-oriented,” he recalls. He also acknowledges he needed to become more effective in problem resolution. So he sought the help of an experienced outsider who could assess his leadership style, articulate development issues honestly and directly, and serve as a resource for improvement. He found Anne Litwin & Associates through a referral. His first meeting with Dr. Litwin convinced him that her expertise would help him reveal and define the dynamics being played out within the company. Plus, he notes, “I felt comfortable with her straightforward approach.”
Dr. Litwin conducted interviews at ADI to get to the root of senior-level misperceptions about Mr. Conrad’s capabilities. Her assessment, he recalls, “got to the essence of what I needed to focus on.” Subsequent discussions helped him understand organizational dynamics and how he contributed to them. Dr. Litwin also presented him with strategies to boost his effectiveness, such as communicating in emotional terms as well as using facts and logic. She also served as a source for other development resources.
“Anne helped me learn how to decompose a problem, gauge its impact, and deal with it,” remarks Mr. Conrad. He also learned how to interact with a variety of leadership styles and to develop and showcase his strengths. As a result, he was promoted to Vice-President and General Manager. Less than a year later, storage networks start-up Trebia Networks tapped Mr. Conrad to be its president and CEO. Once at Trebia, he recalls, “I was much quicker to assess the management team’s capabilities and act on them.” Today he focuses his leadership skills on meeting the dual demands of internal management and a board composed of venture capitalists and other investors.