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Transformation at Work – Part III, Leadership

This is the third of three posts citing real-life examples of transformation at work. This one features leadership as a key ingredient in driving transformation. The first one was about courage. The second was about conviction.
Leadership. We defined leadership as “being the poster child of change by visibly and emotionally motivating, enticing and enrolling others in the quest.” Leadership is getting out there with people, being physically present and active in support of the new agenda.
The transition at PTC to a value-based selling model was a complete departure for a company with a history of talking about product features, playing the demo, and taking orders. The new Value Roadmap – which delineated the way to create and capture value in product development – provided the content sales needed in order to have a more intelligent, strategic conversation with customers. While it was a more relevant way to engage with the marketplace, it was an approach that was initially met with skepticism by a proud and strong sales force.
At the Americas sales kickoff when the Value Roadmap was formally introduced, the toughest of the tough were clearly resistant in their non-verbal support of the new way. Until a respected leader in the Americas sales team stepped up to the stage and shared his team’s success in using the Value Roadmap with customers. He said, “This is our way forward. Without it we fail. I’ve used it. My team uses it. It works. Get on board or forever be irrelevant. Any questions?”
At the end of that fateful day in November, 2002, every one of the 500 sales people in the room committed to the new program by literally signing their names onto an oversized poster of the Value Roadmap. For PTC, that kind of leadership helped break down the powerful force of inertia, and gave the company the chance to win again. Today, PTC is arguably the largest independent software company in the world.
What transformative powers of leadership have you experienced?


  1. Tom Butta says:

    By the way, that sales leader who jumped on the stage to shake up the troops just happened to be standing by. Hey, leadership takes all forms. :)

  2. Will Burns says:

    Such a great point, Tom. As you know, I'm a big believer that we're heading into the Ideation Age (, and your post reminds me that without leadership, ideas are impotent. PTC's Value Roadmap without the leadership behind it is a valueless roadmap. Ideas without leadership, then, are just words on a page.

    Keep the great posts coming!

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