Keith Rutman recently joined Saggezza’s Senior Leadership, and will focus on growing the company’s business development efforts. We recently sat down with Keith to learn more about his professional background and how his path led him to Saggezza.
“I am someone who believes every role in any company is open to an entrepreneurial or innovative interpretation. It doesn’t matter if the role has ‘Innovation’ in the title. It doesn’t matter if it’s a start-up or a well-established company. Innovation does not have to be a major disruptive change. It can be about meeting an objective better, faster or more cost effectively.” Rutman believes that in order to surpass business objectives you need to actively question conventional norms. This philosophy has followed Rutman throughout his career; from his start in establishing new consulting products and services, to building his own business advisory company, and finally to his role here at Saggezza.
One of Keith’s earliest roles involved creating a new consulting service intended to help Fortune 500 businesses align their “people strategies” with their overall business strategies. With more demand for the new service than there was supply of trained consultants to deliver it, Rutman moved from product development to working directly with the clients. The first decade of his career was spent delivering innovative strategy, organization, and process-design solutions to corporations in the U.S. and Southeast Asia.
Afterwards, Rutman went on to work at a Fortune 100 insurance company that had been established for more than seventy years. The company had a long history of success, and Rutman was challenged with creating a culture that embraced new ways of thinking and operating in an environment that valued traditional methods. In leading transformation and driving growth in under-resourced business units, he noted, “It was similar to challenges faced and leadership required in a startup-type environment.” His mindset became that of an entrepreneur, taking a scrappy, unconventional approach to driving profitable growth in those areas of the business. Rutman’s expertise in analyzing situations, developing alternate solutions, and driving performance was pivotal to his ability to quickly transform underperforming teams.
Rutman’s days became filled with back-to-back, administrative-oriented meetings, and he realized that he was looking for an environment that was more nimble and strategic. Rutman made the decision to launch his own business advisory company, where he could help companies make strategic and scalable business decisions. One of his most notable accomplishments was the work he completed for an insurance-industry client. The marketplace problem was that personal insurance policies would not cover gig workers’ vehicles for commercial use, yet traditional commercial policies were cost-prohibitive to these consumers. The solution? Building a business that was entirely digital, mobile, and provided a short-term, on-demand, commercial auto insurance coverage for its users. Rutman led the minimalist team that did it all: customer and market research, UI design, process design, requirements development, testing and implementation, and negotiation of regulatory approval. A pilot version was launched, and after a year, ongoing product management was transferred to the client.
When asked what drew him to a company like Saggezza, he noted he was looking for an opportunity to work with a growing business that valued an entrepreneurial environment. He met with Arvind and Socka and found them to be strong leaders whom he could learn from, as well as collaborate with, to drive the future growth of the business. Rutman appreciated the diverse skills and expertise of our leadership team, supported by his belief that the highest performing teams have complementary skills. His broad business acumen and experiences, combined with Arvind and Socka’s IT and entrepreneurial expertise, help to create a well-rounded leadership team. Today, he continues to challenge conventional norms in the business while leading by example to build a culture of collaboration across practice areas and client-consultant teams. “When we really listen to our clients, get dialed into their challenges and objectives, and support each other in developing and delivering solutions across our practice areas, our clients’ success will lead to our success. As leaders, we are successful when our teams are successful; and our teams are successful when clients that they serve are successful.”
Saggezza is a proven technology and consulting partner that delivers personalized, high-value solutions to accelerate business growth.