Our Director Stephan Werhahn on a panel discussion about business ethics in family companies
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Our Director Stephan Werhahn on a panel discussion about business ethics in family companies
Today I read an interesting article in the Handelsblatt: “Super election year on supervisory boards – but there is a lack of suitable experts”. That aroused my interest: A comment.
According to the Handelsblatt, 190 Supervisory Board positions will be filled by DAX and M-DAX companies alone in 2018. Tenor: There is a lack of experts. Is that really the case? There is a lack of supervisory boards according to the classic definition. But is the classic definition of the supervisory board what should be sought?
There are skills that are as important in the past as they are today: A supervisory board must be able to understand a balance sheet and approve the actions of the management board. Otherwise, however, the portfolio of skills that a supervisory board has to bring with it today has changed dramatically. Within the scope of digitisation, a supervisory board must have the classic skills (the selection and monitoring of the management board must be given priority), but must also be open to new ideas and approaches. This currently means: to admit errors, to experiment, to forgive a failure:
This hurts: errors include losses and possibly short-term (up to medium-term) loss of income among stakeholders. But: We are in a state of upheaval: AirBnB is the best example to illustrate this in a striking way: AirBnB has not invented anything new (rentals are one of the oldest business models at all), but with a comparatively simple idea into an existing business model heroingegrätscht and by generation of additional customer use valuable margin picked up.
Is there a shortage of candidates? No, but you have to abandon the classical patterns of thought and look for test persons who bring along a modern composition of abilities. The focus is on skills that are related to empathy: Bringing the organisation forward, in the long term.
Shareholders also need to learn and sometimes turn a blind eye to a quarterly profit to ensure that the organisation has a long-term presence in the market. We (the German IoD) have learned this in recent years: Suddenly supervisory boards are being sought that no longer correspond to the classical networker as Achleitner or Cromme, but have different skills.
The Digitisation or Digital Disruption (What exactly does that mean now?) requires a rethinking of management structures. New ideas need creativity. And in order to do this, employees must be given more of them. But that also means letting go and turning away from micromanagement. For many executives, this means a change, and some of them will fail.
On Twitter I once asked: How should you deal with toxic executives: The micromanaging choleric man who spreads fear and terror among his co-workers. The answer I received from different quarters was clear: Disposal. But could this the right solution?
With the same implicitness as NewWork and trust is propagated, I was made clear to me: Out with such people. However, most of these executives have not earned their position because they have a bad management style, but nevertheless. This means that these people have qualifications. In addition, there is the empathy paradox: the focus is on skills that have been conditioned away in the hierarchies for years. Even if the management style is to be criticized, a new way of thinking also requires new solutions.
If I want to build a new culture of trust, a bad start is to catapult out people, who have been doing a job for years: Then don’t I lead the claim ad absurdum? Trust cannot be earned by a brutal start.
First, I need to identify these toxic executives. There are various possibilities for this (employee surveys, fluctuation measurements, etc.), but often it is enough to stay in the coffee or smoking area.
The following is the interview with the toxic leader: How can I use the human being, meaningfully and without snubbing him/her: There are solutions, often in the staff area. This is something to remember: Just because there is a lack of leadership, these people almost always have excellent skills that should be used. “Disposal” is only one last option….. which should have taken place even before the organisation had been converted and transistioned.
A credible reorganization of an organizational structure is only possible if you take all, really all, employees with you. And no one should be left behind.
It is our great pleasure to draw your attention to the upcoming 5th annual Global Female Leaders summit, the premier economic forum for female executives on 3rd – 5th June 2018 at the very exquisite landmark Hotel Adlon Kempinski in Berlin, Germany. At the same time, as cooperation partner of Global Female Leaders we are delighted to cordially invite you to join us and be part of this invaluable network and cutting-edge platform impacting the future.
CLIMATE CHALLENGES, ENERGY SOLUTIONS & THE FUTURE OF MOBILITY
Under the motto “The Values of Leadership in Times of Transformation, Disruption and Artificial Intelligence” they will once again gather a host of over 250 forward-thinking women across all industries and continents. This summit provides a global platform carefully designed to challenge the status quo and address the most important topics and challenges today’s business and societies are facing.
Here an example of the 2017 summit: “The Crisis of Globalisation | Executive Panel Discussion | Global Female Leaders 2017”
On Sunday 3rd June 2018 in the afternoon, start your unique summit experience by joining the pre-event programme featuring ice-breaking sessions, followed by our traditional pre-event cocktail reception at the exclusive China Club Berlin – this time with a keynote by the internationally highly acclaimed Afghan entrepreneur and business woman, Roya Mahboob. Other Speaker are from BMW, Jones Lang LaSalle, Unilever or Booking.com. The whole program is still published. Some of them:
A whole list is available at the homepage of the global leaders.
Social media is everywhere and on everyone’s lips. However, top management executives in Germany are restrained: only a few can be found, and if so, the profiles are orphaned.
Often the argument is:”I don’t have time for that“. However, top management is the flagship of the employer and the brand that results from it.
When top executives are on the move in social networks, however, neither orphaned nor agency-managed profiles should be used. Interaction with other users increases on the one hand the credibility of the person behind the big name and thus gives a sympathetic aura. As a pleasant side effect, it also helps to perceive not only the pre-fabricated opinion of the management level below, but also the moods from the base. This basis is decisive for the well-being of the company. Anyone who has experienced the panic of a divisional manager when he has to face the board knows how many rounds the PowerPoints fly through until they are finally presented.
The easiest way to position oneself as a real person you can ask questions about is to interact with yourself. Many ways are possible, in the b2b context a start with LinkedIn could be a way. For companies, which are strong in consumer products, a start with Facebook or Instagram is although a great idea.
I do not want to give any negative examples: Unfortunately, these can be found too quickly. But authenticity can be achieved with relatively little effort (and without any agency at all): Just be there, try yourself out. One positive example for me is Janina Kugel from Siemens. This shows activities and interacts, also personally, with employees or interested parties. This will make you immediately seem likeable. But also Dieter Zetsche from Daimler, who recently pointed out the use of LinkedIn:
He is a so-called “influencer” on LinkedIn and regularly publishes articles there. In the interactions one can see that he is quite open to the opinions of his readers. With his carpool recruiting, he also shows that he is prepared to question the tried and tested and to commit himself to new ideas:
We are proud to be Partner of the next year Global Female Leaders in June 2018. Especially in Germany, the gender pay gap is Reality and so, Networking of Global Female Leaders is a must have for the future. It is this year in Germany.
Global Female Leaders Summit 2018 – an international economic summit for women – will take place for the 5th time from the 3rd till 5th of June, 2018 in Berlin, Germany.
The intention for this international economic summit for women was to establish a global network of high-ranked female executives and thus to provide a platform for women to share a variety of thoughts, perspectives and solutions – we establish the “Davos for women“.
And we are on the right path; more than 250 high-profile women from the business world, and more than 60 internationally renowned speakers were present this year and had an inspiring dialogue. The dynamic developments of globalisation, the effects of digitalisation, the incredible possibilities of artificial intelligence, the working worlds and our values in leadership are topics which be our central challenge over the next few years. At our summit, we learn not only from each other as people working in the economy, but also about geopolitical risks. The motto of the 5th summit is: “The Values of Leadership in Times of Transformation, Disruption and Artificial Intelligence”.
To learn more about our summit and to get some impressions from previous events please visit our webpage: http://www.globalfemaleleaders.com
Some of our high-class speakers in the past were: Cherie Blair, CBE, QC, Founder of the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, Martina Hund-Mejean, CFO, MasterCard, USA, Baroness Catherine Ashton of Upholland, former First Vice President of the European, Labor Politician and Member of Parliament, Anne Berner, Minister of Transport and Communications, Government of Finland, Janet Henry, Global Chief Economist, HSBC UK, Kristalina Georgieva, Vice-President of the European Commission, European Commissioner for Budget, Human Resources and Security.;
Do we see us, there? Registration is opened and can be reached here.
Recently I read a remarkable article: The drugstore chain DM, one of the biggest player in Germany, procures 25,000 smartphones for its employees:
For a long time, the drugstore chain DM was regarded as a digital despiser. But now the company has ordered 25,000 smartphones for all store employees and is obviously serious about digitizing.
Digitisation is a decisive breakthrough in the processes: AirBnB and Uber have made it clear that they are looking to penetrate established markets and enter the process with well thought-out solutions for the end customer. This is how parts of the margins, which are nowadays usually tight, are being used up.
How to establish completely new processes? This requires creativity. These can be generated by employees. Employees continue to be the most valuable potential to leverage creative ideas.
This includes a departure from micromanagement: new ideas do not thrive by atomizing existing processes and tracking them down to the smallest possible level. Just as a proverb says that electric light was not created by the consistent further development of the candle.
One of the most important bases for this is courage for new, different decisions that do not necessarily correspond to the previous mainstream of the company. This must be exemplified by top management. This is the only way to gain the necessary trust of the employees, to try out new ones or to question business processes that have been practiced for a long time. To depict the future in the dark and to assume that courageous competitors lack social competence is of little help here.
To return to DM: The fact that the procurement of a modern tool is worth a headline shows that there is still a lot of potential. A smartphone is not a gift for an employee, it is a tool. But not every employee can deal with it immediately, but “experts” should give recommendations for action: How and when can I use it how and above all, in the interest of the customer? An easy access to central databases and / or Google is a minimum requirement here, what you might expect in the project.
Speaking of trust: Most of the 25,000 devices, that DM delivers will probably not have a SIM card. Trust in employees in 2017 should look different
Upcoming Conference on Family Business
The purpose of the Conference is to present examples of good practices for the transfer of management and ownership. There will be two representatives of German corporations Underberg AG and Werhahn KG (Stephan Werhahn, our GIoD Board Member) coming to Slovenia, who will present their path – the growth and development of the family business. From their experience, they will present their domestic practice of transferring management and ownership, the importance of values for successful management and business, and the challenges of growth and expansion to foreign markets. They will also present the principle of sustainable entrepreneurship and how they see family entrepreneurship in the future.
At the moment we have a fast changing world in business context. New player come and displace old companies. How fast the world in economics has changed can seen by the big five in the last 20 years.
You see, the biggest five companies are all in technology settled. Only five years ago it was only one. To expand in this economic environment means, finding new products or services.
In many companies has established a new kind of manager: The Micromanager. That is a person, who hasn’t`t any priorities and try to control all activities of their colleagues. If this person has disciplinary responsibility, he is starting to restrict all project activities on his horizon. He wants to understand all items of work und is wanting to be reportable in all concerns.
So the colleagues aren`t able, trying new things. They always work on old modes, alway be reportable and avoid responsibilities.
Who think, this is always a problem of big companies should take a look at the German Post, DHL: They started searching a producer for an electric van for delivery. No one of the German Car Producers seem to be able, to produce such a van. So they started a StartUp with an University, the RWTH in Aachen, and now you can see their own build Vans in german streets:
For a big Company it is not so easy, being creative. But it is possible. The most important asset are the employees: They have new ideas and are creative… if the management let them. With Micromanagement and a closely corset of reportings, they will do exactly, what is expected.
In my example of the German dhl, the problem (finding an eScooter for transport of parcels) was in the point of view: No limits, a solution must be created.
You see, such creative solutions are for big companies possible, too. But you invest in your employees and has to trust them. Controlling every step of their doing will killing all creativity. This behavior has to be lived by the Top Management. If the senior management expect all times reportings about every step in the processes, the middle management will carry on.
Trust your employees, the most of them will thank such a behavior!