Denise Ramos, CEO & President, ITT Corporation

Denise beams with a fierce curiosity. Sit down with her and you sense that she’s not only interested in what you have to say, but how you think. She wants not only to understand your perspective, but to better understand herself. Denise has come to know herself and define her leadership by challenging assumptions, asking tough questions and not being afraid to reframe her own thinking. This openness has served her well as the CEO of a “100-year-old start up.”

June 2015

When ITT Corporation spun off its business into three separate companies in 2011, Denise took the helm of a “new” company with a century-old legacy of capabilities, brands and management systems. Not wanting to base the go-forward strategy on assumptions, Denise embarked on a global listening tour to understand the company’s DNA—the values and motivations that bound people together despite function or geography. The tour revealed a clear and shared commitment to have an enduring impact on the world. Denise’s experience in developing the ITT Way provides practical advice on how you can infuse your company’s strategy with a greater sense of purpose and drive systemic accountability to bring it to life your operations.

On Connecting Strategy to Purpose (2:47)
It was through that and thinking about our DNA as a company that we then as a team aligned around -- what is truly going to differentiate us and create value for this company out in to the future?
On Corporate Accountability (2:15)
At the end of the day the buck does stop here and I know that. But that doesn't mean you have to control everything. In fact, you will be, you will be less impactful if you try to control everything that you can because you just can't, you just can't be all things to all people.
On Corporate Strategy (1:53)
It's fine for my leadership team and myself to sit up here and say that this is who we are, what we want to do. But if it sits at the leadership team, it's not going anywhere.
On Creating Brand Ambassadors (3:27)
We nominated 150 delegates from around the world, ITT employees to come to this summit and it was over maybe a three day period to be the spokespeople for the ITT Way.
On Employee Engagement (2:01)
I'm a student of people. And I watch people a lot. I read about people a lot. Not only from a behavioral standpoint, but also about how they make decisions. How do they process information? How do they think through things? What goes in to their filters that they have?
On Love in Business (1:58)
We translate that in a different way here, but I think it has the same meaning. Where we say that we strive for -- we have a passionate pursuit of excellence, but with the human touch. That's our word for love.
On Purpose (1:54)
I think the, the issue here is many times companies, they'll have a set communication, but people don't feel it, right? It's not something that they, it doesn't connect with them.
On The Need to Control (1:34)
I want everything to be perfect all the time. And I know that if I did it I had total control over it and I could make sure something happens. So, I'm no different than any other leader with it, that's hard for me too, to, to just let go and, and let other people, other people do it.
On the Power of Stories (2:35)
A couple months ago I went and visited a facility that we have that makes valves. And in that valves facility they walked me through the past two, two and a half years when they went on a lean transformation of that facility. And I sat back there and I said, so why can't everybody do that, right?
On Understanding People's Thought Processes (3:30)
I always try to delve into why. So, why did you make that -- what was it that told you, you -- well, what was it in your mind that convinced you needed to make that decision? Or, you needed to go down that path? And when you thought about XY and Z how did that factor in to your decision making process?