Interview with Charlotte Trinler, Zurich Insurance, Executive Development


Charlotte P. Trinler, at the time of the interview Head of Group Executive Development, Zurich Financial Services, has broad global HR experience as an HR Business Partner as well as in the area of Leadership Development, International Assignments and Organizational Development. She has become an independent consultant focused on organizational design and transformation as well as organizational change.

What differentiates ChallengeX from other programs?

The program is not generated by its trainers. Every participant brings in his or her own relevant topic and therefore works on something that is focused on the individual and his/her environment. Moreover, people work in a very structured way but at the same time with a great deal of freedom to develop, create and innovate ideas. Following this concept the participants are never steered in a given direction.


What do you consider sustainable results?

The main value that ChallengeX creates for companies is that people learn how to approach challenges without a set of ground rules. If you look at traditional seminars they usually have defined themes and targets. In a ChallengeX workshop the theme is not defined and the outcome is not predicted. Therefore people are able to work on real and relevant challenges that are truly important to them and enable enhancement within an organization. E.g. in a company like ours intercultural collaboration can be very challenging. Historically we are a traditional Swiss company and people working in Switzerland have a difficult time accepting that this company now has a very Anglo-Saxon foundation. In a ChallengeX workshop such conflicts can be disarmed and people can find the courage to face such animosities when working intensively with colleagues from other cultures. Also barricades are brought down and people get a whole new understanding for different cultures by reflecting their respective challenges.


What was your own experience?

It was very exciting to share my challenge with so many different people. Getting input from them was a very positive experience as well as learning about their views and their impressions on my topic. This structure forced me to tackle a problem in an in-depth manner and taught me to deal with problems in a different way. I now try to strip a challenge of its ordinary aspects and seek different solutions. This has a very practical and pragmatic aspect. Somehow ChallengeX changed my way of thinking on a very long-term basis. I strongly believe a regular participation in ChallengeX workshops has an individual and organizational impact.


What differentiates the ChallengeX method?

Other workshops accomplish a lot but in an extremely structured setting where the actual result is predetermined from the beginning on. The trainers approach these workshops in such a way that they can control the outcome. ChallengeX is very different from this. I believe this is a great chance for organizations. Its structure allows that its content develops during the workshop. Furthermore, the philosophy behind ChallengeX differentiates from other programs. Workshops with predetermined results discourage people from trusting themselves to develop and generate innovations. ChallengeX believes in people's abilities to create good results without giving them a predetermined goal. This can also be a very valuable experience for top managers.