Transvalor is an ambitious French technology company based in Sophia Antipolis, offering an extensive suite of high-performance manufacturing simulation software. Employing over 100 people with customers in more than 1,000 companies worldwide, Transvalor is in high-growth mode and focused on developing its leaders to help take the company to the next level.
We spoke to CEO Stéphane Heitz about his personal experience of our exclusive General Management Programme (GMP), the impact on his career and the influence this had on Transvalor’s decision to become a CEDEP member.
Why did you decide to participate in the GMP and what were your first impressions?
I first heard about the GMP from Robert Brunck, another GMP alumnus, CEDEP board member and former chairman, and someone I’ve known and respected for many decades. At the time, I was secretary general of Armines, a research company based in Paris. Although I questioned whether I was ready, Robert was convinced the GMP would benefit my career. CEDEP teaches very differently to regular business schools, and he knew the GMP would have a huge positive impact on my leadership path.
On the very first day of the GMP, my conventional thinking was immediately challenged. One of the many impressive faculty and speakers led an inspiring session which turned traditional management theory on its head by shifting our focus from being good managers to exceptional leaders. At this moment, I started to think very differently, and after only another day or two, I knew that what I was learning would significantly impact how I would interact with my teams, my employees and colleagues. And how I would lead with a vision and trust and empower those around me.
Did you take any specific challenges to the programme that you could resolve?
Like all participants, I had to bring a strategic challenge to the GMP. And after a few days, like all participants, I discovered that my original strategic challenge had evolved and was more complex and less technical than I had anticipated. Mine was about how to empower people with a new company vision, and rather than an immediate resolution, what I learnt during the GMP has continued to help me as a leader ever since.
What impact has the GMP had on your career so far?
After I completed the GMP in 2019, I knew I would soon be ready for a new leadership role. Robert Brunck went on to join Transvalor as CEO and Chairman of the Board and welcomed me onto the team as Chief Operating Officer in March 2021. A year later, he decided to separate his two functions, and I stepped into the CEO role.
I firmly believe the GMP helped me gain the trust of the board members and shareholders of Transvalor. And they now trust my company vision and ability to lead the company towards this vision. What I learned about leadership during the GMP enabled me to empower and inspire people, and I will always be grateful. For me, the impact of the GMP hasn’t been immediate; it’s been ongoing. The knowledge and experience you gain boost your career over many years.
One of your first decisions as CEO was to join CEDEP as a member. What was your motivation?
For Transvalor, there were two motivations: First, becoming a member means we are part of CEDEP today and into the future, and we are excited to be at the heart of redesigning, renewing and creating new programmes.
And second, I am convinced that the rich variety of CEDEP programmes will be highly beneficial for the growth of Transvalor. We are a small but ambitious tech company with around €11 million in revenues, which we would like to double within the next four to five years. And to do this, we need the very best leaders who share our vision, lead the way we do, and understand CEDEP’s holistic approach to leadership. It’s not just about business, for business’ sake. It’s more than that. It’s about being part of a global leadership community and being at the forefront of leadership education, so our managers and leaders will participate in various programmes.
Two of our leadership team members are currently attending the GMP programme, and I can’t wait to catch up with them to share experiences. CEDEP is an incredible school of life, not just a business school, for every manager and every leader.
What do you think makes CEDEP so different from a traditional business school?
CEDEP is unique because of its DNA. It was first created by some great companies that couldn’t find the programmes they were looking for in a regular business school. And graduates from regular business schools were not at the level they needed for the growth of their companies. So that’s the first reason.
The other key reason is that you get to explore new thinking around the future of work. Today, due to the pandemic, everybody is talking about leadership and how to empower people during times of uncertainty, and so on. When I first attended CEDEP in 2018-2019, these concepts had already been part of the GMP programme for almost five years. VUCA, 4.0 leadership, how to coach your teams, top floor learnings, and so on were already being explored. I believe CEDEP programmes are four to five years ahead of regular business school programmes. And if you want your company to be at the top, you need your leaders and managers to be at the top.
What are you looking forward to personally about Transvalor being a CEDEP member?
Being part of a collaborative learning community and connecting with more people like me and people not like me to share experiences and ideas for the future. In particular, I’m keen to explore new thinking around the best ways to build resilient and sustainable companies with happy employees who want to deliver and are proud of their company and their work.
So finally, would you recommend the GMP to other leaders?
The GMP is such a transformative programme that your mind needs to be ready. But when you’re ready, then yes, without a doubt. I learned and grew so much during the programme. The GMP content was so inspiring. I still use my GMP toolbox daily and continue to revisit my notes from the programme. The whole learning experience continues to help me lead Transvalor today.
Not only that, the connections I created with peers across multiple industries have been so valuable from a personal and business perspective, opening my mind to new ways of thinking on how to develop business and acquire new opportunities.
Whenever I return to Fontainebleau, it’s like a breath of fresh air. I’ve only had great moments at CEDEP.
The CEDEP GMP is a fully immersive executive agility and acceleration programme dedicated to top senior managers and leaders.
Participants learn to lead and operate effectively in an ever-changing and uncertain world and are equipped with proven comprehensive collaboration tools and frameworks.
The red-thread of the programme is the participants’ strategic challenges. Participants bring real-life work challenges to the programme, and continuously apply their learnings directly to these challenges to develop solutions
This transformational hands-on programme awakens management performance by helping to deconstruct fixed practices and reconstruct new ones to use immediately in the workplace. It creates a safe space and provides the time out, insights and focus needed for participants to strengthen organisations and make them more competitive in the future.
The GMP also combines personal development techniques enabling participants to learn new ways to inspire, collaborate and innovate, so they become dynamic leaders who make better decisions.
For more information about CEDEP General Management Programme click here
To find out more about the GMP and Alumni successes, contact Muriel Pailleux, Sales, Marketing and Communication Director at firstname.lastname@example.org