Benedikt Laux, Country Business Manager DACH Esaote

Beats and debates: creative instinct and the discipline of discussion

Benedikt Laux, Country Business Manager DACH Esaote

Benedikt Laux, Münster, Germany, 1961.
Country Business Manager DACH at Esaote. A Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Bachelor of Commerce, he has held prestigious roles in large international companies and has built high-performance teams. A drummer, he enjoys traveling (especially in New Zealand) and driving fast cars and motorbikes.

Debates and positive patterns of discussion, where nobody fears their own thoughts, are where everybody's ideas can be fostered and grow. You can feel it, when you reach the point of harmony.

The complexity of an organization, of the connections within it, which have tight dynamics in terms of the relationships within the team and with the environment outside it, becomes an opportunity when we are able to build harmony (a fundamental need of people), starting with those unexpected notes that happen in the routine of our work. It is the debates and well-paced discussions where no one is afraid of their own thoughts that succeed in helping everyone’s ideas to grow.

In my work, which focuses on the sales and marketing of our Esaote US, MRI, and technical support portfolio, I often put into action what I have learned as a drummer in my band – that is to say, rhythm and timing. Being open so as to pick up on the other person’s musical intent, helping to keep their energy up. What happens in the rehearsal room, I find again when I am in another arena, where it is words that travel through and fill the air, transmitting ideas, needs, solutions. As in music, you have to know how to keep together in the air, to recognize the momentum of something that comes from several sources, and trust the results it will produce. With customers too, this creative tension of mutual benefit comes from knowing how to listen to each other. It’s all about flow – and you must never stop the flow (or rhythm) – but to achieve that, you have to practice, again and again, day after day. It takes discipline in terms of training, learning, and dayto-day development, all to get to the point where what might seem like knots unravel with natural simplicity.

Like any complex reality, we have to deal with the unexpected every day. In times of crisis, it happens that those who have seen you as the only point of reference in the sector up to that moment want to experiment with something else and, at the same time, new clients arrive by word of mouth. And the same thing happens with the people in your teams – you have to give up people you thought were extraordinary, because you respect and facilitate their need for change (knowing that you will find them again, perhaps with renewed energy) and, in the meantime, fantastic resources arrive in the company, injecting their enthusiasm and fresh ideas into those who had lost some of their passion.

There is no manual for dealing with unforeseen events. I think you have to handle them using your experience, stay open and take on board that, over the years, the best way to deal with uncertainty is to embrace it. Always try to stay calm and see the bigger picture, but also allow yourself to show emotion by sharing your conviction in any debate. Sometimes you need to make a quick decision on whether or not to close a deal and the facts and figures don’t speak for themselves – that’s where you have to trust a visceral, positive feeling that I call intuition.

A sense of surrender to what you feel must be balanced with a sense of control. Never yours alone, but drawn from feedback from your team, by identifying a unit or sounding board in your team that you can trust and asking for a second opinion before deciding.

It’s part of my belief that constructive feedback about your decisions, your behavior, anything at all, is always a gift. A long time ago I came up with an expression that I really like: “Advance planning prevents subsequent disappointments”. Thinking and planning before you act is critical (it allows you to assess complexity without panicking), but you must also allow for improvisation, because you cannot predict everything. You always have to do both. Within Esaote I feel that intuition and creativity are really welcome, much more so than in other – even much larger – companies where I have worked. A clear but not pyramidal hierarchy allows for quick and creative decisions if your ideas are reasonable. A good new idea can come out of anywhere and be taken forward, without necessarily having to come from above. Both intuition and creativity play an important role for me at Esaote.

Esaote plays an important role in supporting medics in identifying many conditions or reassuring them that all is well. Regardless of the methods used by physicians or veterinarians – whether it’s ultrasound systems, magnetic resonance tomography systems, or information technology for healthcare – simplicity is what they are seeking. User-friendly technology for performing the examination that provides intuitive user interfaces and workflows, combined with the best image quality – this is the key for all our customers.

All of our research is focused on the clinical outcome that allows the physician to detect and recognize any disease or abnormality that distorts the natural rhythm of the organs. For example, the easier it is for a physician to choose how to set up a pulmonary examination, the simpler their work will be and the more value they can add to it. Being aware of our presets (our advance planning preventing the disappointment of uncertain use – to repeat my favorite saying) will create the best possible image and reduce any possible confusion that could be created by trying different settings, without perhaps ultimately achieving the desired result.

This is important, especially for those customers who are not specialists in “testing and exploring” the possibilities of the system, but who prefer to “simply” use our systems as a working tool. Artificial intelligence-based technology, sophisticated in itself, may be complex to develop, but the customer should not have to worry about that. The key for customers is that “complexity is simple” to experience and that our systems are reliable tools in their daily practice.

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